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tabascomutt

Thai cookbooks

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Does anyone out there have any good suggestions for Thai food? I just moved to Seattle and am surrounded by fantastic Thai restaurants and am wanting to try it at home.

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I'd think the best option is to go through the "Elsewhere in Asia/Pacific" forum in general,

And the Thai cooking at home thread has a disturbing number of 666 posts right now, loaded with good info (and a place for help).

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There's David Thompson's highly praised "Thai Food". There's another that is probably better to start out on; I'll see if I can dig it out.

You may also be interested in "Traditional Recipes of Laos" by Phia Sing - authentic and traditional recipes from the Royal Palce at Luang Prabang. Phia Sing was chef at the palalce.

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I'd go for David Thompson's "Thai Food".

Thompson is an Australian born, French trained chef, who accidentally ended up in Thailand. He fell in love with the country and its food. I believe that he has received awards in Thailand for his work in documenting that country's food history and culture.

His book is almost 700 pages long. The first section covers the history, culture, and regions of Thailand. The second part is about the fundamentals of Thai cooking with information on techniques and tools. Part three covers ingredients. After that, it's all recipies with chapters on relishes, soups, curries, salads, and side dishes. There are further sections with suggested menus, snacks/street food, and desserts.

This is probaby the most comprehensive Thai cookbook that you could buy.

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There's David Thompson's highly praised "Thai Food". There's another that is probably better to start out on; I'll see if I can dig it out.

You may also be interested in "Traditional Recipes of Laos" by Phia Sing - authentic and traditional recipes from the Royal Palce at Luang Prabang. Phia Sing was chef at the palalce.

I'd second Phia Singh's book. I've worked with it, and it forms the "text" for a number of the cooking schools in Laos (at least in Luang Prabang).

Another good one, if you can find it (I know Prasantrin has a copy, too), is Thai Cuisine in Rattanakosin Era, by Wandee Na Songkhla. Beyond the recipes, which work well, the "General Knowledge" section in the back is a wealth of info on the handlling and prep of the ingredients (which is where all the work lies). ISBN 974-86722-7-1

Plus, I like how the corrections have all been done on tape and put into the books by hand. :smile:

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There's David Thompson's highly praised "Thai Food". There's another that is probably better to start out on; I'll see if I can dig it out.

You may also be interested in "Traditional Recipes of Laos" by Phia Sing - authentic and traditional recipes from the Royal Palce at Luang Prabang. Phia Sing was chef at the palalce.

I'd second Phia Singh's book. I've worked with it, and it forms the "text" for a number of the cooking schools in Laos (at least in Luang Prabang).

Another good one, if you can find it (I know Prasantrin has a copy, too), is Thai Cuisine in Rattanakosin Era, by Wandee Na Songkhla. Beyond the recipes, which work well, the "General Knowledge" section in the back is a wealth of info on the handlling and prep of the ingredients (which is where all the work lies). ISBN 974-86722-7-1

Plus, I like how the corrections have all been done on tape and put into the books by hand. :smile:

I'll third 'Traditional Recipes of Laos' :smile:

Does the 'Thai Cuisine' book have a list of ingredients also written in Thai script Peter?....I can't find mine? but if it is the one, I used to copy out ingredients I needed and hubby would take list to the market when he was in Bangkok for the night and get me what I wanted...very handy...

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Does the 'Thai Cuisine' book have a list of ingredients also written in Thai script Peter?....I can't find mine? but if it is the one, I used to copy out ingredients I needed and hubby would take list to the market when he was in Bangkok for the night and get me what I wanted...very handy...

That's the one. Great for Bangkok shopping trips, indeed (and Chiang Mai, when we were there).

My only complaint about the book is the binding, as it falls apart a bit more with every use.

Mind you, so do I.

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heidih   

Agree with the suggestions so far. I also like Cracking the Coconut by Su-Mei Yu and Thai Home Cooking by William Crawford and Kamolmal Pootaraksa.

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MoGa   

I only have two books on Thai Food - both are well loved and the recipes I've made from them have been delectable.

Thai Food by David Thompson and Cracking the Coconut.

(It's very gratifying to see them both already recommended).

The main problem I still have is identifying the intriguing vegetables at Thai and Vietnamese stores. These books don't really help with this at all.

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The main problem I still have is identifying the intriguing vegetables at Thai and Vietnamese stores.  These books don't really help with this at all.

One helpful book is "The Asian Grocery Store" by Linda Bladholm. Unfortunately no photos, but useful line drawings nonetheless.

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The main problem I still have is identifying the intriguing vegetables at Thai and Vietnamese stores.  These books don't really help with this at all.

You could try the book, "Asian Kitchen" which was released by Murdoch Books in Australia in 2004. The ISBN is 1740452747, and from what I can remember, it had pictures and information on many Asian ingredients.

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mizducky   
The main problem I still have is identifying the intriguing vegetables at Thai and Vietnamese stores.  These books don't really help with this at all.

I have gotten a lot of help from the Cook's Thesaurus website. Not complete, but the number of photos of Asian vegetables they do have is pretty darn good--plus they list a lot of alternate names in different languages. Most of the produce is scattered across categories, so you have to browse around, but they do have a separate page just for Asian herbs.

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MoGa   

Thank you for the suggestions!

The main point of my reply was to indicate that for someone newly "surrounded by fantastic Thai restaurants" and one would presume "Thai grocery stores" neither of these books make the task of identifying herbs and vegetables much simpler.

As as has been kindly pointed out here, different books and resources are required.

My current tactic is to ask for as much information as possible from the store itself, certainly some guidance as to how to cook it. If I can get a name, all the better. Once at home I can look through websites to see if I can identify it.

I'm much more successful identifying things retroactively, I'm not always successful in trying to source ingredients from a book's description, even when I've armed myself with the name of the herb/plant in different languages.

(An example of a plant that is easier to identify retrospectively is Vietnamese 'tia to' - which can be easily confused with Japanese shiso/perilla - which comes in green and red - or sesame leaves. FWIW shiso may be a suitable for tia to, unfortunately it doesn't work the other way around. I'd suggest a combination of chopped mint and Italian basil as an alternative to shiso instead)


Edited by MoGa (log)

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