True Thai is one of those rare and important cookbooks where cuisine and culture meet. Food lovers will come away with layers of understanding, discovering the soul of a country where cuisine is a sacred art.
True Thai takes us from the jostling Bangkok streets and canals to countryside rice paddles and mango groves, from distant mountain villages to Thailand's stately Royal Palace, delivering True Thai taste in every sense of the word.
Victor Sodsook, a native Thai, chef/owner of Los Angeles's celebrated Siamese Princess restaurant, has written the authoritative Thai cookbook that American cooks have been waiting for. True Thai satisfies an increasing public interest in the seductive flavors of Thai cuisine, and a decreasing emphasis on high-fat, high-calorie red meats, eggs, and oils. The lively, easy-to-follow recipes are tailor-made for today's adventurous, aware cook.
Most of the tools and ingredients used in True Thai are probably already in your kitchen. And its wide-ranging glossary of ingredients will help you select the most flavorful spices and freshest produce, as well as the best brands of key Thai ingredients like coconut milk and fish sauce. Among True Thai's 250 recipes, you'll find the many Thai dishes that have already won over Americans, such as Crispy Sweet Rice Noodles (mee krob) and soothing, aromatic Chicken-Coconut Soup with Siamese Ginger and Lemon Grass (tom kha kai). Everything is here, from the deliciously spiced barbecued chickens found in Thai provinces to the elaborate and time honored cuisines served to Thailand's royal family, such as King Rama V's Fried Rice. Since Thailand teems with both fresh- and saltwater fish and shellfish, you'll find an abundance of healthful, provocative seafood dishes, such as Ayuthaya Haw Mok Talay, a scrumptious mousse of curried fish, shrimp, and crab, redolent with chili and coconut milk, grilled and served in fragrant banana leaves.
Surprisingly light preparations for meat include Fiery Grilled Beef Salad, a classic of Bangkok cafe cuisine, and mu kratiem phrik Thai, a simple stir-fry of pork medallions sizzling with garlic and black pepper. The Thai Vegetarian Cooking chapter is really a whole book unto itself, encompassing its own blend of curry pastes, soups, appetizers, entrees, and one-dish meals-all completely free of animal or fish products. The Thai Salads chapter showcases such recipes as Coconut, Lemon, and Ginger Salad or Grilled Lobster Salad with Green Mango that demonstrate the great variety and sensuousness of this branch of Thai cooking. Drinks and desserts include such ethereal treats as Rose-Petal Sorbet and the refreshingly herbaceous Lemon Grass Tea, wonderful either hot or cold. There's also a chapter that shows how to marry these newfound Thai tastes with classic American cooking, through such improvisations as Bangkok Burgers with Marinated, Grilled Onions and Spicy Thai Ketchup.
True Thai is more than a cookbook; it is a collection of grace notes exemplifying Thai cuisine's dedication to pleasing the senses. There's even a chapter on preparing Thai-style table decorations, many of them as edible as they are lovely.
True Thai's 250 recipes, each with helpful and fascinating notes, present Thai cuisine with simplicity and elegance. True That is the most authentic, authoritative, and accessible Thai cookbook ever printed in English.