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The Better Than Takeout Thai Cookbook: Favorite Thai Food Recipes Made at Home Paperback – August 1, 2017
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Mango with Sweet Coconut Sticky Rice
Khao Niew Mamuang
Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan
Serves 4 / Prep Time: 10 minutes plus, 2 hours to soak / Cook Time: 30 minutes / Total time: 3 hours, 10 minutes.
This is the probably the best-known Thai dessert, and with good reason: Something about the interplay of cool, sweet mango, creamy coconut milk, and warm, chewy sticky rice is infinitely satisfying. A friend served this at her wedding in lieu of wedding cake, and I was delighted! A perfectly ripe, good-quality mango is essential for this dish; look for long, thin, yellow-skinned Ataúlfo (also called Champagne or honey) mangoes, which are smooth, velvety, and flavorful. Traditionally the sticky rice is cooked in a special urn-shaped pot and cone-shaped bamboo steamer, but you can use any of the methods described below.
1. In a medium bowl, soak the rice in enough warm water to cover for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
2. When ready to proceed, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the coconut milk, sugar, and salt, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Rinse the soaked rice gently several times until the water runs clear. You can do this by adding cold water to the rice, swishing it around with your fingers, and then gently pouring off the water into a sink, being careful not to lose any grains down the drain in the process.
4. In a steamer or large pot over high heat, bring 2 inches of water to a boil.
5. To steam the rice, use either a fine-mesh strainer (with a lip or hook that supports it on the edge of a pot), a mesh splatter guard, or a stacking bamboo or metal steamer. If using a strainer, place the drained, soaked rice in the strainer over the boiling water and cover. If using a splatter guard, place the guard on top of the pot and arrange the drained, soaked rice in an even mound in the center of the guard; cover with a domed pot lid or inverted stainless-steel bowl. If using a steamer, line the steamer with a piece of cheesecloth or muslin and place the rice in the center in a small, even mound, about 1 to 2 inches thick. Fold the edges of the cloth up around the mound to wrap it, and cover the steamer with a lid.
6. Adjust the heat so that the water is at a steady but gentle boil, and steam until the rice is softened, translucent, and sticks together in lumps when pressed, 20 to 30 minutes.
7. Transfer the rice to the saucepan containing the sweetened coconut milk, stir a few times so that it’s evenly submerged in the milk, cover, and let sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the coconut milk.
8. Meanwhile, prepare the mangoes: Peel them using a sharp paring knife, and then carefully extract each half of the mango, sliding the blade of the knife right next to the flat side of the seed on each side. Cut each half crosswise into 1-inch slices, and arrange on a plate with a mound of sticky rice.
9. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using) and serve.
- 1 cup Thai sticky (glutinous) rice (see page 55)
- ⅔ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ripe Ataúlfo mangoes
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
"Craving your favorite Thai dishes? No need for takeout. Try cooking from Danette St. Onge's new The Better-than-Takeout Thai Cookbook. Pad Thai, curries, and sticky rice are all explained in simple, easy terms that any cook can master." ―Kathy Gunst, James Beard Award-winning food writer and Resident Chef of NPR's Here & Now.
"This book has great recipes but, in addition, it has a personality and style that I just fell in love with. My favorite dish, Drunken Noodles, is described as a dish that allegedly stems from the fact "that some lushes love to eat spicy food during (or after) a late-night bender." Just delightful! (PS - The Pomelo salad with toasted coconut and mint is our new family favorite! " –Monica Bhide, author of several Indian cookbooks and food memoirs, including Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen-Simon & Schuster, 2009
"Cooking dishes that have been treasured by families is something close to my heart. Danette St. Onge’s beautiful cookbook is filled with easy yet authentic dishes that carry a story of her family’s heritage into her roots. Having these Thai recipes at my fingertips when I want to cook up dishes full of flavor is a treat for both my family and myself. They take me back to my own travels in Thailand. Experienced home cooks and beginners will enjoy making these colorful dishes at home and turning them into family favorites for generations to come.”―Shanti Christensen, author of Family Style Chinese Cookbook
About the Author
DANETTE ST. ONGE is a food and travel writer specializing in international cuisines. She has worked as an editor at Cook's Illustrated magazine (America's Test Kitchen), writing and editing articles and recipes and devising kitchen experiments, tips, and taste tests. As a freelancer, she has written about food, dining, and travel and developed, tested, and edited recipes for various clients in print and online media, including Saveur, Zagat, Google, and the Food Network.
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I prepared the spicy drunken noodles for lunch today. It was really tasty--I'm thankful that there's an Asian market nearby that carries the holy basil. It opted for substitutes; you will also find those little helpful tips and more if you go through the book. Holy basil is peppery and this make the dish. This book is a bargain, considering the recipes available. I was excited to find a jungle curry recipe. It's not your typical Thai curry served at restaurants around the U.S.
So this book is broken up in sections. You have:
1-The Thai Kitchen. Explains ingredient used in Thai cooking and suggests what to stock for a Thai pantry. There's also a basic tools section, optional tools and Thai cooking techniques.
2-Snacks and Starters
3-Rice and Noodles
4-Soups and Salads
5-Curries (I love this chapter---it has curry paste recipes AND curry dishes)
6-Vegtables and Tofu
8-Chicken and Eggs
9-Beef and Pork
10-Drinks and Desserts
11-Sauces and Condiments
Overall, for the price, it's an awesome buy. I say that because of the amount of recipes you get for such a low price. We cook a lot at my home, in particular, Asian foods. This has a little something for everyone. I plan on making the Panang Peanut Curry for dinner. The recipes aren't overwhelming. I made the sweet chili sauce this afternoon too. My child loves the Thai sweet chili sauces you get at Thai restaurants. It's a good dipping sauce for tons of things. Like chicken nuggets (amongst others!). There are a couple of drink recipes too. The Thai Iced Tea was and still is delicious. I normally never ever review things, this is my first. I felt like I had to review because I feel that a cookbook review should reflect the contents of the book that actually have been made. It's a keeper!
After reading the entire introduction, ingredient and tool explanations, and over half of the recipes, I was more than sold and jumped on Amazon to buy a print copy also (mostly because I can't seem to print from my tablet, and I prefer to read and mark off printed copies when I'm cooking. I think my Kindle Fire is just too old or I'm too old-school.)
I absolutely adore this cookbook already. While I have some excellent Thai cookbooks with good ingredient, kitchen tools, and recipe tip sections, this one is probably the very best. Each seasoning is discussed: what it is, how to store it, how to substitute for it (or when not to substitute, but leave out altogether), etc. I've learned a few new things already, such as not to substitute ginger for galangal/kha. While I normally use galangal and usually keep some frozen, I don't always have it and didn’t consider that ginger would change a dish too much. The tips are repeated on recipes where they're needed, so no worries on missing important information.
The ingredient and tool info feels as if every hint from every Thai cookbook that I have plus that from chats with restaurant owners is all put together in one easy reference. There's such useful info as changing the ratio of ingredients (as some restaurants allow) changes the balance of textures and flavors away from the Thai origin dish. That seems common sense, and yet it isn't (or wasn't for me, anyway; I had to be pointed down the straight and narrow by a restaurant owner). There's info on various ways to rinse rice, what to substitute for coriander root, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, etc. This info is incredibly useful for us cooks who can't consistently get all the ingredients.
The recipes themselves seem very complete, the ingredients are along the lines of those I know from our local Thai restaurants and recipes I have already and use on a regular basis. I am always drawn to recipes that are similar to what restaurants make because that is what we are used to and expect from Thai food. Rather unoriginally, I guess, I am always trying to get recipes to match our favorite dishes from our favorite restaurants. I sometimes have to modify more authentic recipes, such as that from Thai regional cookbooks , so they'll taste more like that from Thai restaurants, yet I don’t want them more Americanized than from my local Thai eateries.
I'm looking forward to using this cookbook and its hard-copy version to recreate our favorite Thai dishes. I expect to add nuances to our current repertoire, add new dishes, and add some of our favorite dishes that we didn't have recipes for yet. If my judgement from reading this cookbook is accurate, we're going to be some very happy cooks. I will update this review if this doesn't hold true, and I might update it if it does. But don't hold your breath if this cookbook is as good as I believe it is, because I’ll be in the kitchen cooking.
Note: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.