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Real Vegetarian Thai Paperback – March 1, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson
"Near & Far" by Heidi Swanson
A deeply personal collection of over 120 vegetarian recipes with from all around the globe from a bestselling author who loves to cook and travel. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher specializing in the cuisine of Thailand, where she spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her food articles have appeared in numerous magazines, and she is the author of the perennially popular cookbook, Real Thai.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811811514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811811514
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Vegetarians have long bewailed the difficulty of making Thai food: almost every ready-made Thai curry paste available contains shrimp or worse. Now it is possible to concoct your own! McDermott has created an Eastern cookbook with a Western eye, taking the mystery out of this delicious cuisine. Recipes are categorised along familiar lines, exotic ingredients are explained in a glossary and sources listed, unusual techniques (from opening a coconut to roasting chillis) are fully explained. This cookbook is very helpful indeed: there's even a bibliography and a list of menu suggestions, you can alter the amount of heat in a dish to taste (I'm a wimp about chillis and am doing fine), and she is not too snobbish to suggest replacements, such as ginger if galanga is unavailable. The lay-out is clear and easy to follow, and there are several interesting anecdotes about McDermott's travels in Thailand and the traditional Thai way of life.
The recipes are imaginative, healthy, straightforward to make, and they work beautifully. Many of them are vegan, and adaptations are usually suggested for those which are not. A "Basic Recipes" section gives recipes for essentials such as the different curry pastes, roasted chilli paste, vegetable stock, and "mushroom mince" (which she has invented to replace minced meat in traditional recipes).
Some examples of recipes included are:
Crispy spring rolls with sweet and hot garlic sauce
Green papaya salad
Jasmine rice soup with mushrooms, green onions and crispy garlic
Red curry with eggplant and sweet peppers
Butternut squash in fresh green curry
Firecracker broccoli
Coconut ice cream
Thai iced tea
To my surprise, Thai cookery turned out not just to be possible for vegetarians and vegans (an astonishing number of recipes are here, and meat-eaters will certainly not feel deprived), but the ingredients are easy to find, the recipes easy to make, and the results are dazzling.
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Format: Paperback
This book has so many great recepies for just about any palate. Sometimes the recepies can look a little daunting and complicated, but it assumes you're using all fresh ingredients, which you don't always have to. After all, cumin powder is in my opinion just as good as fresh cumin seeds. Or more available anyway. Basically, once you take the time to create a few of the "staple" ingredients in this book (red and green curry paste are essential), you can make just about anything in here quickly and cheaply. And it's GOOD! I'm never going to forget the look on my friends' faces when I came out with an eggplant curry that I'd made from this book. Everyone was amazed. So if you want to do something different, and you're a bit creative, this book is for you.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great cookbook -- I love eating Thai food in restaurants, but it's hard to feel comfortable as a vegetarian, since I know there's often still fish sauce in foods marked 'vegetarian'. Everything I've tried from this cookbook tastes wonderful and authentic. As others have said, it's not for quick meals, especially since many recipes require home-made curry paste.
In response to the reviewer who wondered if this cookbook was on the short side because of its vegetarianism -- removing fish paste/fish sauce from Thai food is non-trivial, since it's in almost everything. In some dishes, it mainly adds salt, and soy sauce can (and is) a usual substitute. Others, I'd imagine, just don't taste right without it. That said, I'd love it if this cookbook were longer, since what it includes is wonderful.
If you're not vegetarian, the same author has a non-veggie thai cookbook as well. (According to the specs, it's a few pages shorter, but I haven't looked at it.)
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Format: Paperback
I own several Thai cookbooks, but this one is my favorite hands down. Like any Thai cookbook, the recipes require some advance preparation to make the sauces and curry pastes, but once you set aside a few hours to prepare the basic recipes the meals are quick, easy, and delicious. The author's love of Thai food really comes through. I whole heartedly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is a GREAT cookbook. I've just recently turned vegetarian and was worried that in doing so I wouldn't be able to enjoy thai food anymore but his cookbook makes it easy! The recipes are VERY authentic and oh so tasty! I made the satay with grilled vegetables (marinated) with a sweet/sour cucumber salad last night and let me just say YUM! I'm very pleased and glad I have this cookbook in my collection
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Format: Paperback
This is a nice cookbook. All the recipes that I have tried have turned out exactly as I expected (not common for all cookbooks offered for sale). It is very handy that the author gives recipes for 4 different types of curry paste. I also appreciate the glossary of Thai terms.

The Fried Cashews with Chilies and Green Onions is a particularly good recipe.

If you like Thai food this is a nice cookbook to have in your library. Also, if you like spicy food or Chinese food, I suggest that you give this book a try.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To date, all of the reviews here grant four or five stars to this book - and I am no exception. This little red book contains the most delicious selection of vegetarian Thai recipes that I have encountered in my 15 years of cooking vegetarian meals. Not only are the recipes quite easy in preparation, but they also are based on easily available ingredients and are very quick to make. The outcome is almost always exceptional - both in taste and presentation. I can wholeheartedly recommend this book as a valuable addition to anyone's collection of cookbooks. As you can see from the other reviews, I am not alone. So, what are you waiting for? It's rare to find such a unanimously positive opinion about anything.
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