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any updated suggestions for cookbooks? abby, what did you think of the ones you were trying out 5-6 years ago? i made a thai fish curry yesterday from a book that has "curry" recipes from all over asia plus africa and the caribbean, and it came out so well (everything from scratch) that i am now very enthusiastic about learning more about thai cooking.

If you don't have Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, I highly recommend it. It does encompass the foods of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, but the recipes are very very good, although they aren't necessarily recipes...more like guidelines. I have several books on Thai food and I always go back to this one.

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If you don't have Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, I highly recommend it. It does encompass the foods of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, but the recipes are very very good, although they aren't necessarily recipes...more like guidelines. I have several books on Thai food and I always go back to this one.

 

I've been wanting to get a Southeast Asian cookbook and quite a few people keep recommending this one to me. Which recipes do you cook the most often?

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any updated suggestions for cookbooks? abby, what did you think of the ones you were trying out 5-6 years ago? i made a thai fish curry yesterday from a book that has "curry" recipes from all over asia plus africa and the caribbean, and it came out so well (everything from scratch) that i am now very enthusiastic about learning more about thai cooking.

If you don't have Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, I highly recommend it. It does encompass the foods of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, but the recipes are very very good, although they aren't necessarily recipes...more like guidelines. I have several books on Thai food and I always go back to this one.

 

is there a large overlap among the ingredients? i ask because if thai is only a third of the book and i need vastly separate sets of ingredients for the rest i'm not going to get much use from this (living as i do in a town of 18,000 people in southern minnesota).

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If you don't have Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, I highly recommend it. It does encompass the foods of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, but the recipes are very very good, although they aren't necessarily recipes...more like guidelines. I have several books on Thai food and I always go back to this one.

 

I've been wanting to get a Southeast Asian cookbook and quite a few people keep recommending this one to me. Which recipes do you cook the most often?

I honestly don't really use it for the recipes. I use the recipes for the curry pastes, nam prik, other sauces as guidelines and change a few things to my taste and I've made a few of the salads, but mostly I use it for inspiration. This is probably the book I turn to most often when I am looking to be inspired.

 

Mongo...the flavour profiles and the ingredients are pretty much similar for all regions. The ratios change or the focus is more on one specific element. Your basics...fish sauce, palm sugar, fresh chilis, dried chilis, garlic, ginger, shallot, galangal (which I rarely use), lemongrass, shrimp paste, tamarind, lime and lime leaves. I just skimmed through the book again, and these are pretty much the basic ingredients for most recipes.

 

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hmmm that's an alford/duguid book. i've heard that the style/substance ratio in their books can often be problematic. even some of the positive reviews on amazon give me pause. maybe i'll see if anyone around here has a copy or try to look at some of it in a bookstore.

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hmmm that's an alford/duguid book. i've heard that the style/substance ratio in their books can often be problematic. even some of the positive reviews on amazon give me pause. maybe i'll see if anyone around here has a copy or try to look at some of it in a bookstore.

It is a book with beautiful photographs that looks like it shouldn't work (and they do have an unusual process for creating their books), but I've been very happy cooking from it. I don' t have it in front of me, so I don't remember everything I've made from it, but here are some recipes that I've been pleased with:

-eggplant oop (fantastic)

-miang kham

-coconut-pumpkin soup (with a lot of sriracha added - one of my favorite soups)

-Vietnamese papaya salad

-Yunanese potatoes

-a cucumber salad

-fried bananas

 

I've oddly not yet made a curry from Hot Sour Salty Sweet.

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I find Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet to be pretty to look at, and interesting to read, but I haven't felt led to cook out of it. But then I already own about 5 Vietnamese cookbooks and a couple of Thai ones. I do think the recipes in it are a bit simpler and less involved than the ones in the cuisine-specific books I have, but that may be also what puts me off them. I would say there is definitely some overlap in the ingredients for Vietnamese and Thai, although I find Thai food to be more specific condiment heavy than Vietnamese.

 

I like the book, "True Thai" by Victor Sodsook and have used it as a reference as well as making some of the curry pastes and sauces and the Tom Yum soup. I also have found Kasma Loha-unchit's website, that was referred by Anita earlier in this thread, invaluable as a reference tool and for her recipes, although they are not quick and easy. I've made her larb, hot and sour prawn soup, green papaya salad and the duck and pumpkin curry.

 

Now you've inspired me to get to it and make some more Thai food.

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that sodsook book has good reviews on amazon--maybe i'll give it a crack. i found my way to loha-unchit's website as well, and from there to the address of a thai grocery about 30 minutes from me. hopefully this will be a less scary establishment than the thai/vietnamese grocery in boulder.

 

edit: i shouldn't critique a book i haven't looked at, but even the positive reviews on amazon praise "hot, sour, salty, sweet" often as a coffee table book, interesting as much for its amateur food-anthropology and photos; some even say it's light on recipes despite its size. all i really want in a cookbook is lots of recipes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

tonight i made the dtom-young gkoong from loha-unchit's recipe, and a shrimp curry from the "curry" book i mentioned upthread (it turns out the thai section is by david thompson). the curry came out very well--though not very hot despite my adding more thai chillies to the paste than called for (i think i might have a batch that isn't very hot). the soup was tasty but a little too sweet. i suspect the commercial roasted chilli paste is partly to blame; i also wonder if the cooking method in that recipe is not slanted toward chilli-cautious palates. next time i'll cut the chillies up and simmer them longer, and i'll add more lime juice.

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all i really want in a cookbook is lots of recipes.

 

words of wisdom...

 

i have loha-unchit and a bunch of other thai books but if i cook any thai these days it's from the Thompson's book. Like how gives you the flavor profile of a dish.... And i make the paste from scratch...

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  • 1 year later...

My father did not like a lot of recipes in the Sodsok book. He thought the title was a misnomer. It does get good reviews, but mostly from people who aren't Thai and who don't know much about Thai food.

 

He liked reading through The Elegant Taste of Thailand: Cha Am Cuisine, and the Loha-Unchit books. He never used any of the recipes, but he would sometimes use them as inspiration (like when he tried to make me yum pla dook foo). I think he died before Thai Food was published, but he would probably have approved of it.

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