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Hot Sour Salty Sweet: Recipe Discussion, Links, & Previous Picks and Pans

February 2007 Cookbook of the Month. Use this thread to discuss which recipes you are planning to try from Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Get tips from other hounds or list other online resources here such as recipe links. Maybe even search out other like-minded hounds and have a cook-off on the same recipe.

Feel free to post short reviews of recipes you may have already tried in this thread (picks and pans), but full length recipes should be posted in the appropriate section thread.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Really fabulous book, that one.

    1. Whoo hoo! Any ideas about whether one must have a wok to cook from this book (for things like Phad Thai?)

      1 Reply
      1. re: gridder

        I've made a lot of things from this book without a wok--it doesn't seem critical to me.

      2. I don't have a wok, and while I haven't cooked everything in the book I ve always managed to work the recipe into a different pan if a wok is called for.

        My lack of wok is only due to not having found exactly what I wanted, until this week that is - I have a new wok winging its way to me as we speak. But to answer the question if a recipe calls for a wok I try and think of how to make it work with another pan, if I don't think a dutch oven type vessel will work on the stove top I tend to use a frying pan and while I'm sure it aint perfect seems to get the job done for me.

        Edit...oops I'm actually talking about the wrong book - I have only cooked two or three recipes out of this book.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rob133

          I also don't have a wok, and for their other book - Mangoes and Curry Leaves - have found that my large Sitram saute pan does the trick. I make sure to let it get very hot.

        2. I'm excited that a cookbook I already own was chosen! This is one of the most lovely cookbooks I've seen -- the photos and the cultural information are just wonderful. I had actually made a resolution to cook more from this book this winter.

          A few favorites so far are Lao Hot and Sour Soup with Fish (pg. 57), Spicy Cucumber Salad (pg. 79), Laab Gai (pg. 196), and Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce (pg. 199).

          I'm looking forward to everyone's input.

          1. I've been pouring (sp?) over the book for the past couple of weeks planning my attack. My only disappointment? There aren't a lot of vegetarian recipes (and I'm even a fish-eating veggie, so hardly a vegetarian!). Even the 'mostly vegetable' section has a bunch of recipes that include 2-4 oz. of pork. While the recipes often state that it's optional, I feel as though meat adds a flavor that really can't be simply 'left out' of a lot of dishes.

            Ah, well. </rant>

            3 Replies
            1. re: Smokey

              I was just perusing mine to come up w/ a game plan/shopping list and noticed that they have a recipe for a vegetarian substitute for fish sauce - I know that doesn't affect you, but thought it was interesting.

              1. re: MMRuth

                MMRuth, Thank you for pointing that out. (page 29)
                Most things do call for Fish Sauce and my Step-Daughter will *not* eat any fish or seafood. This will be a great work-around for me on that.

              2. re: Smokey

                Smokey, I don't think your post qualifies as a rant. It sounds like a perfectly reasonable gripe. I haven't gotten the book yet, as the only copy in my library system is at a library a few miles from my home and I've been just too lazy. Btw, it's "poring" for looking closely at something.

                Looking forward to any experiments you have turning the semi-veggie dishes into veggie dishes.

              3. So far I've made the rice noodles, the Morning Market Noodles, the Khmer pork with green beans, and the noodles with gravy (can't remember the exact recipe name). All have been very good--but the MM Noodles I'm in love with. The first time I made them, I made the noodles too, but I have a nearby source of fresh rice noodles, so usually that's what I use.

                Here are the MM Noodles: http://areyouhungryyet.blogspot.com/s...

                1. Quick question - I've not participated for a while - I made a meal from HSSS last night (using 9 recipes) should I post by dish on the different threads? Or can I post about the whole meal some where? TIA.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Wow! Nine recipes?!? Can't wait to read the report.

                    We usually post by dish to different threads with a reference to the other threads within each post. But no one's done nine recipes at a time before. If the separate threads is too cumbersome, I'm sure you'd be excused this one time if you posted a single review on this thread with a simple "See my review of XXX over on 'Picks and Pans'" on the appropriate thread just so people wouldn't miss it.

                  2. Yesterday I cooked from HSSS for the first time. I'll post to specific threads as well, but liked the idea of having the menu in one place.

                    Menu for Three:

                    First Course:

                    Vietnamese Must-have Table Sauce (nuoc cham – Vietnam), p. 28

                    Vietnamese Peanut Sauce (nuac leo – Vietnam), p. 28 – I used Planter’s dry roasted peanuts instead of roasting my own, and used tomato paste even though I had tamarind pulp on hand – was getting pretty busy by that point.

                    Vietnamese Herb and Salad Plate, p. 68

                    Rice Paper Roll-ups with Shrimp and Herbs (goi cuan – Vietnam – Cambodia), p. 177 – what I think of as “summer rolls” – I’d made these before, so it wasn’t as fiddly as I remember it being the first time. I used the grated carrot tossed w/ sugar/rice vinegar, and regular chives. (made 1/2 recipe)

                    Vietnamese Grilled Pork Balls (nem nuong – Vietnam), p. 252 – I bought ground pork, marinated for about 2 hours, did the freezing thing etc. – don’t know how different it would have turned out if I had used pork slices to start. I made and used Roasted Rice Powder (p. 308) and for the pork fat I trimmed off the fat from some slices of black forest bacon that I had. Did them in the broiler – I think they were done in about 17 minutes – I really had to monitor them because I have a “bottom broiler” and I think they were a bit nearer to the flame than I’d have liked. Served room temperature – thing they would have been even better hot though.

                    Minced chicken with Fresh Herbs (lab gai – Northern and Northeast Thailand, Laos), p. 196 – I used ground chicken, a combination of mint and coriander leavers, and Roasted Rice Powder. Instead of serving it as suggested, I served it with small butter lettuce leaves – we put the chicken in the lettuce, rolled up a bit and dipped in the sauces.

                    Second Course:

                    Spicy Fish Curry with Coconut Milk (pa sousi naeng – Laos, Northeast Thailand) p.182 – I used tilapia and peanut oil, canned coconut milk – didn’t bother with the thicker thinner business, and ended up using a bit more than called for but not much more, since the recipe says that this is a curry with relatively little sauce. I think this was my favorite dish of all.

                    Aromatic Jasmine Rice, p. 90 – followed the instructions exactly (which matched the instructions on the Kalyustan bag – let sit for 10 minutes – next time might do 5 – seemed a little sticky to me. I did wonder if it is supposed to be somewhat sticky – I was surprised at the low water to rice ratio (I cooked 2 cups and so used 2.5 cups of water).

                    The Best Eggplant Dish Ever (makeua oop – Shan State, Northern Thailand), p. 159 – delicious – I included the optional ground pork. I forgot to blend in the tomatoes with the other paste ingredients – so when I remembered, I just pureed them quickly and added to the dish. (made 1/2 recipe).

                    Wine - served meal with a Trimbach Riesling.

                    Dessert: Discovered Ginger Gelato at Ciao Bella down the street - perfect end to the meal.

                    Really – everything was delicious and looked beautiful - I wish I’d thought to take pictures before I started clearing the table! It was quite a bit of work, but not unmanageable. Trying to make up for previous lack of participation in recent months. And it’s only February 4th! I live in New York, so all it took was a trip to Kalyustan’s to get all of the ingredients – I perused the glossary first, so that I had more of an idea of what I was looking for.

                    Today for lunch we had leftovers, but I also made Thai Fried Rice (p. 110) and rice wraps with the leftover minced chicken. I didn’t have any boneless pork, so I just used a couple of slices of bacon I had. The recipe calls for 2 cups of rice and says it is one serving, but I think it was plenty for two along with the other leftovers.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Wow, so impressive! Thanks for the report. The grilled pork balls are on my list to try this week - thanks for such an inspiring start for the month.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I'm #5 on a list of 5 waiting for the only copy in the NYC library system, but after your report I may reconsider and just buy it. It all sounds so wonderful. I found quite a few recipes on line, though unfortunately none of yours. And I'm not sure I can wait to try that fish curry. Also really good to know it can be one-stop shopping at Kalyustan's. Hearty thanks for that tip.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Wow, I can't believe you made all that! Sounds great. I just went through the book and noted the recipes I want to try which include the eggplant and some of the curries. I will have to make a special trip to the Asian markets in San Jose before I make most dishes though. Are lime leaves usually in the produce section?

                          1. re: Carb Lover

                            The ones I bought were in the refrigerator - came in a small cellophane package.

                          2. re: MMRuth

                            MMRuth. Thanks for all the input. I'm impressed! When I cooked a whole dinner from the Zuni book, I posted an overview on the main thread and then the individual recipe comments on the specific threads. That makes it easier for folks to look in those threads and find appropriate recipes.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              Thanks - I did cut and paste (with some additional commentary that occurred to me when doing so) my comments on the specific recipes to the appropriate threads!

                            2. re: MMRuth

                              You inspired me -- I made the Must -Have Table Sauce, Rice Paper Roll Ups, Jasmine Rice, and the Spicy Fish Curry. It was all awfully good, but I agree that the Fish Curry is top-rate.

                            3. I was hoping to try this group and picked up the book. I have never cooked this cuisine and am baffled, so many chilis.

                              I would like to cook a beef, chicken or fish but neither DW nor I like spicey.

                              Any suggestions?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jfood

                                None of the things I made were particularly spicey - but I don't think I was using bird chiles. A lot of the dishes called for dried Thai Chiles and I used those. In terms of fresh chiles, I used up some green cayenne ones in the dishes. My husband and our friend ate raw v. hot short peppers along w/ the dish. One thing you can also do to control the heat is use tamer peppers, and take out the seeds and ribs - jalapeno or serrano.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Thanks MM, it's a beautiful book and would love to try one or 2. will keep in post.

                              2. Here are some online links!

                                The Book's Website offers a recipe of the week!


                                Various recipes on the Food TV site:


                                Yunnanese Potatoes


                                COCONUT MILK STICKY RICE WITH MANGOES


                                Silky Coconut-Pumpkin Soup


                                Jungle Curry.


                                Spicy Cucumber Salad:


                                Asian Style Grilled Chicken:


                                Vegetarian Fish Sauce:


                                Quick Khmer pork with green beans recipe


                                Pomelo Salad


                                Thai Style Bean Salad


                                Cambodian Pork and Beans



                                1. Dommy, even though I got the book out of the library, I wanted to thank you for these links. They have been a great help in this Cookbook of the Month extravaganza!

                                  1. Well - as with last time - I'll post on the individual threads - and this was a much less ambitious spread, though given my miserable cold, I don't know quite what inspired me in the first place! Maybe I thought some curry would clear out my sinuses (it helped!).

                                    So, a nice Monday night dinner:

                                    Chiang Mai Curry Noodles (khao soi - Northern Thailand)
                                    Simple Cucumber Salad (huanggua liangban - China)
                                    Pomelo Salad (nyoam kroit t'long - Cambodia)

                                    All delicious - and I thought that the two salads were nice counter points to the curry.

                                    Curry - I would have used 1 lb of beef, rather than 1/2 - even for just two of us - loads of noodles (and I used 8oz rather than the called for lb) and v. little beef, lots of sauce. The perfect degree of spice for me - hot, w/o being unbearable.
                                    Cucumber Salad - I didn't have black rice vinegar, so used a combination of white wine vinegar and rice vinegar. The minced ginger added a nice sharp taste.

                                    Pomelo Salad - no Pomelo, so went with the ruby red grapefruit - I really enjoyed this dish - the flavors melded together very well - I think I used a little less mint that called for, and I think there was a *little* too much fish sauce, but over all, a winner. I didn't get around to serving it on Bibb lettuce, but I think that would be a nice touch.


                                    1. Hi everyone

                                      (This is my first post so be kind.) I checked this out of the library today on everyones recommendations and was really excited when I started flipping through it. I love the descriptions and the recipes are pretty easy to follow.

                                      Today I made the Aromatic Minced Pork, Shan Style p.250. I really liked it. I had to substitute ginger for the galangal because I couldn't find it on short notice but I will definitely make it again. I think it might be quite nice fried with rice noodles or with some eggplant or other veggies in it again. The minced lemongrasss was a nice touch.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: daily_unadventures

                                        Thanks for the post. I really liked that minced pork also. I loved eating it with rice and mushing it all together. I also think that the pork would be excellent with some hot peppers in it.

                                        FYI, here is the "mother" thread for this month's book. From this thread, you can read and post about other dishes and meals.


                                        1. re: daily_unadventures

                                          Looks delicious! I was going through the book last night to see how many more recipes I'll have time to do next week. I might have to add that one to the list.

                                        2. Below is my Chinese New Year menu. This served 4 people and I had a fair amount of leftovers. I did some creative math in counting the sauces as dishes but not counting the white rice. I wanted nine (which is lucky) and not ten (which is very, very bad) dishes total. I repeated two dishes (meaning I had made them in the past, but all others were new.

                                          I posted complete descriptions in the appropriate categories. So, in page order:

                                          Thai Fish Sauce with Hot Chiles (pg. 33)
                                          Rich Lao Salsa (pg. 39)
                                          Noodles with Greens and Gravy (pg. 117)
                                          Yunnan Greens (pg. 151)
                                          Stir fried Cabbage with Dried Chiles and Ginger (pg. 157)
                                          Hui Beef Stew with Chick Peas and Anise (pg. 231) (can you see why this doesn't fit with the others?)
                                          Minced Pork, Shan style (pg. 250)
                                          Lemongrass Patties (pg. 251)

                                          Fish Braised in Chile Bean Sauce - from Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty (separate post)