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Can you recommend a Thai cookbook, given these proclivities?


Home Cooking 75

Can you recommend a Thai cookbook, given these proclivities?

Cinnamon | Apr 8, 2009 08:29 PM

Hi. I'd like to pick up a good Thai cookbook. Here's where I'm coming from, in case it affects what you'd like to recommend (sorry, this post got long!):

I love fresh, distinct, carefully-put-together ingredients that together make a great blend of flavors.

By that I mean I really appreciate some restaurants nearby, here in L.A., where you can detect each of several ingredients in a curry paste that was just made, and there's a sliver of kaffir lime leaf on top, and very little comes from a package or can. I don't like very Americanized versions, and there's also a bunch of presumably authentic but middling Thai food out there that I don't need - a lot of takeout falls into this category. I never want to taste canned bamboo shoots again.

I'm OK with a cookbook that could include selected things from nearby Thailand too, but mainly Thai. (Great fusion, I'd entertain. I'd call that different from just Americanized. And I'm still learning the basics of authentic Thai.)

Some of my favorite things Thai and not are:

panang curries
crying tiger beef salad (with basil, mint, chilies, etc.)
green papaya salad
tom yum koong
summer rolls (shrimp, rice paper, etc.)
tom ka gai of course
really good jasmine rice, sometimes enhanced with black sticky rice
things with lime
things with cilantro
things with tamarind or pomegranate molasses
things with star anise or cinnamon
stir-fries on the dry side - a little oil but not much liquid
what I believe was called Singapore noodles - a citrus and udon dish with shrimp
...and I love beef - especially short rib, duck and shrimp

I've made my own panang paste. Some of the ingredients I have on hand are:
dried shrimp
palm sugar
tamarind paste
fresh and dried Thai chilis
fresh basil, galangal, lemongrass, shallots, mint, cilantro and kaffir leaf
frozen coconut shreds
rice paper for summer rolls
fish sauce
sweet chili sauce
rice vinegar
black sesame seeds

... so where can I go from here with a good cookbook? I also like pictures, both for identifying interesting herbs/fruits and noodles, and seeing how a dish is supposed to look finished. (Prep pics are great too but not strictly necessary.)

Thank you!

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