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Aug 24, 2011 05:13 AM

Second Thai Cookbook


I've recently started cooking from David Thompson's "Thai Food" and I'm enjoying everything about it. I've only made 7 recipes from the book so far so there is no danger of me running out of new things to cook, however I wondered if it is worth buying another Thai cookbook and if so which one people would recommend?

One caveat, at the moment, I generally always have galangal, fresh tumeric, etc in the fridge so I wouldn't use a cookbook that used Westernised ingredients.


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  1. It's a little bit long, and a little bit old, but you might want to take a look at this thread:

    FWIW, my preferences are the Thompson books (Thai Food, Thai Street Food & Classic Thai Cooking), Nanci McDermott's "Real Thai" (for when I'm feelin a wee bit lazy), and Su Mei Yu's "Cracking the Coconut" (an alternate take on great curry pastes). Also worth considering are Jennifer Brennan's book "the Original Thai Cookbook". A lot of people also like Kasma Loha-unchit's books, "It Rains Fishes" & I can't remember the other ones name...

    My take on the above:

    Thompson's are the most comprehensive books out there in English, and the recipes are consistently excellent.

    McDermott's book is much more limited, and she uses more generic paste (home made) recipes, but there are some real winners.

    Su Mei Yu's approach is more similar to Thompson's, lots of excellent paste and curry recipes, but more limited soup, salad, snack & etc recipes, so its a bit harder to cook a complete meal from her book.

    Brennan falls somewhere in between, it is a more complete book but it was written at a time when a lot of Thai ingredients weren't available in north america, so there's less depth in terms of ingredients & etc.

    Kasma Loha-unchit's books are more geared towards the folks who are going to use pre-fabricated curry pastes. They are also out print and expensive. Her web site, however, is quite a good resource.

    2 Replies
    1. re: qianning

      Thanks. Amazon UK don't have the Thompson 'Classic Thai Cooking' so will probably go for one of 'Thai Food' or 'Cracking the Coconut' next but aim to buy both and also Real Thai. I guess I will quickly become tired of spending two hours making something to eat when I get home from work.

      I also had a look at Kasma Loha-unchit's website a couple of days ago and was impressed. Some good stuff in there.

      I noticed from the Tried and True Recipes thread that you hadn't yet cooked the Massaman curry. If you still haven't got around to it I would make it a priority. It does take an hour or two longer to make than one of the standard curries but is well worth it.

      1. re: PLFgifts

        Thanks...good luck with the book hunt....Massamam Curry seems to be on EVERYONES favorite list, I'm sure to get to it ....soon!

    2. For Kasma Loha-unchit's books, you can probably contact her directly. I know that she has a few books on hand. She also runs cooking classes, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have tasted her students' food and can tell you that they are really good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nattythecook

        Excellent. Not in the SF area but I think I'll email her about her books.

      2. I have all of the above books as well. If I can suggest a go to cookbook that is great for basics: It is Keo's Thai Cuisine cook book. Keo owns several Thai restaurants here in Hawaii. It's great for the basics.