Customer Review

104 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Thai cookbook you want, June 26, 1999
This review is from: True Thai: The Modern Art of Thai Cooking (Hardcover)
This is it - the real thing. If you are choosing among Thai cookbooks, why not buy one written by a man who is both Thai and an excellent chef in his own U.S. restaurant? The author provides details that an outsider to Thai culture might never be privy to - the specific way a Thai cook fluffs his or her rice before serving; intricacies of street vendors' cooking - which in Thailand, far from our hotdogs and pretzels, is an art unto itself; the specific condiments favored for each dish. On the other hand, unlike cookbooks I bought in Thailand, this book has been written with the equipment and availability of Thai ingredients of the Western cook in mind. The author understands both cultures and provides a wonderful education in his heritage in a manner you can easily reproduce at home (provided you have a wok, and access to fairly common ingredients such as fish sauce, coconut milk, cilantro, etc). When the authentic ingredient may be hard to come by, he provides substitutions, i.e. lime peel slices for Kaffir lime leaves. Having travelled and eaten all over Thailand, I was disappointed, after my return, whenever I tried Thai recipes from my other cookbooks. TRUE THAI has enabled me to replicate those amazing dishes with the layers of flavor unique to that beautiful land. Making homemade curry pastes as he describes - red, green, Jungle, Massaman - is labor-intensive, but very worth it. The chapter on vegetarian cuisine is a cookbook in itself. Recipes we have loved so far include: Phat Thai, Tom Kha Kai, shrimp-fried rice, pork-fried rice, beef with broccoflower, Massaman curry with potatoes and pineapple, and banana fritters with coconut and sesame. There also are chapters on garnishes, menu-planning, and "cooking with a Thai accent" - things like Panang Pizza. There is a useful appendix listing mail-order sources, and I plan to hunt down some tamarind concentrate and Thai coffee powder. If you want to cook real Thai, get this book. It's also just fascinating reading.
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