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Mar 31, 2014 06:53 PM

April 2014 Cookbook of the Month - Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker, JJ Goode, and David Thompson

Welcome all to the Cookbook of the Month thread for April 2014! This month we will all be cooking from Pok Pok. Get those mortars and pestles out people and lets get to it!!!

To view the history of COTM please click here:

To view the nomination thread please click here

To view the voting thread please click here

To view the announcement thread along with all the online recipes found by our fellow COTM participants please click here

Also, several people have been contributing to a "Cooking from Pok Pok" thread that might interest us

This thread may be used for all general discussions with regards to Pok Pok and the COTM process this month. I look forward to the lively discussion as per usual.

In terms of posting your thoughts on individual recipes please use the links below. Please remember when posting to verify if the recipe you are commenting on has already been reviewed, if so please reply to the original poster so that all comments on a specific recipe are together.

Rice pg. 29-33
Papaya Salad and Family pg. 34-47
Thai "Salads" pg. 48-71

Fish pg. 72-87
Stir Fries pg. 88-103
Thai Minced Meat Salads pg. 104-121

Grilled Foods pg. 122-145
Curries and Soups pg. 146-171

The One Plate Meal pg. 182-239
Foreign Foods pg. 240-251

Chile Dips pg. 172-181
Sweets pg. 252-266
Sundry Items (Stock, Condiments, and Pantry Staples) Pg. 267-287

Happy cooking all!

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  1. Foolish question (on April Fool's)....

    So, I bought the dragonfly branch Thai thin soy sauce and I can't figure out how to open it! Looks like a screw top but can't unscrew it. It has this little nipple looking thing that sticks up on the top-- am I supposed to cut that off?

    I feel very foolish, but if anyone knows....

    2 Replies
    1. re: greeneggsnham

      The Thai soy sauce I bought had the same annoying plastic cap. I think you can cut the little nipple off and end up with a small hole, but I ended up cutting the whole top off and sticking a cork in to seal it back up.

      1. re: greeneggsnham

        I use an ice pick to poke a hole in the cap. Two holes, actually. One in the center which I make larger, and a smaller one off to the side (to allow replacement air to get in).

      2. I have a question for Mel and anyone who has made the papaya salad with coconut rice and sweet pork. How important is the Thai sweet soy sauce? I am thinking about subbing a combination of soy sauce and brown sugar (or palm sugar, which I also have) -- would this work? Also, can I use black instead of white pepper?

        6 Replies
        1. re: Westminstress

          I'd say you could concoct your own soy sauce without much issue--probably with palm sugar. The soy sauce has a hint of molassesy smokiness to it and palm sugar should be able to replicate that flavour a bit--if you have the indonesian gula jawa, I bet that would come the closest--it tastes very similar to that delicious sugar.
          For white pepper, I find it has a distinct musky, wild taste that black pepper does not possess....though there is a background bite that is unmistakably peppercorn. I would leave it out or cut the amount in half if anything.

          1. re: Allegra_K

            Thank you. Luckily, I have easy access to ingredients. But I have limited storage space and hate having to store things that I will never use ... especially if I can only buy them in large quantities. Sounds like I should get the white pepper. Do you buy it preground or as whole peppercorns?

          2. re: Westminstress

            The sweet soy sauce question came up on the "cooking from" thread. Below is my answer, pasted from that thread:

            The sweet soy sauce is very important to this dish. Ricker does not offer a substitute. However, the author of the Asian Grandmother's Cookbook suggests, by volume, one part water, one part soy sauce, and three parts brown sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir to mix. She says the consistency will be thinner than the commercial product. You could also simmer it on the stove to reduce it and thicken it a bit.

            Personally, I would reduce it, since the product you buy is very thick and molasses-like.

            1. re: MelMM

              Ooops, I saw this on the asian grandmother's cookbook:

              Dark sweet soy sauce gives the noodles color while fish sauce and oyster sauce season the dish. If you can’t find sweet soy sauce, substitute with a mixture of 3 parts soy sauce plus one part brown sugar.

              And this site recommends a more or less one-to-one ratio, with just slightly more sugar than soy:

              Any thoughts as to which ratio is correct? Or should I just buckle down and buy the sweet soy sauce?

              1. re: Westminstress

                I would go with the higher ratio, and cook it until syrupy.

          3. So thus far I've made a few things, and while "fine" there's only one that I plan on photocopying the recipe for (the grilled Eggplant "salad"). I am now in possession of the homemade shrimp paste (a 6 oz or so jar) and the yellow bean paste (about the same amount), neither of which are used in the salad of course. I hate to waste food, so are there things I can do with these that don't involve buying a whole lot of *other* exotic items? :)

            1. I'm a little late to the party because I just got my hands on the library copy. FYI The clerk at the library suggested the wings. I plan on reading through the book and the posts before trying to tackle any recipes this month.