BookBites: Simple Thai Food


I recently tried two recipes from Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen by Leela Punyaratabandhu. Both dishes were so flavorful that I’m eager to try as many recipes as I can and in the meantime share the cookbook with you. I cooked Red Curry Salmon (It’s on the cover) and Basil Chicken over rice. Very different flavors, both easy to make yet taste of complex sweet and spicy flavors. Sorry, no images. Next time, I’ll document the process. I really don’t mind making the dishes again. Here are the three reasons I love this book.

3. I like pictures. Especially when I don’t know how a dish is supposed to look. This book is a beautiful read. After all, I made the salmon because it looked good. The finished dish looked very much like the image. There is a sense of accomplishment in this weird matching game.

2. The personal narrative gives the recipes authenticity and personality. It also offers cultural background that helps us appreciate the cuisine outside standard restaurant items.

1. The author generously gives us both “from scratch” or from prepared curry paste options.  There is no judgment in the tone. She makes the book’s exotic recipes approachable and easy. I used a curry paste the first time but the book inspires me to invest in trying the long version. She also explains the process and techniques, for example, like frying the coconut cream and spice mixture until the oil separates. These visual process clues like the finished dish images help me a lot.

Try the cookbook. See if you like it and write back.

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