I’m trying not to be depressed. It’s been really cold here this week, and yet this time last year I’d managed a couple of nights in Bangkok and was en route to Hong Kong. And was eating pretty darn well. So it may be a way of summoning up those sunny days and fabulous eating, but here’s a selection of writing and recipes around the variety of Thai cooking, not all of which we get to see here.
* Thai Food by David Thompson – very comprehensive, covering the breadth of Thai cooking from north to south of the country. Yes, it does the things you might know already like Pad Thai, but also things like crispy fish cakes with pork and salted eggs. I also like that it covers a bit about the culture of each area, and also a bit about ingredients as well.
* Thai Street Food by David Thompson – same writer, different approach to same cuisine. I remember being stuck in a traffic jam and looking longingly at all the food being cooked on the street next to the car. It was torture really, so maybe this book would make up for it.
*Stylish Thai in Minutes by Vatcharin Bhumichitr – a good standby or intro text, given that it’s all about quick dinners, with Thai flavours. The cooking style lends itself to speedy dinners, if you have the right ingredients in the right combination. Good for someone looking to explore but necessarily go completely native or expert.
* The Blue Elephant Cookbook by John Hellon – it’s years since I ate at The Blue Elephant, but it was probably one of the first places I had Thai food. Slightly nostalgic for me, but a great book covering a bit of everything, from starters to desserts. Nice chapter on wine matching too.
* Buddha’s Table: Thai Feasting Vegetarian Style – so not forgetting the non meat-eaters, this book seems to get some good reviews even from those who are not massively experienced or keen cooks. I always think Asian vegetarian food is so good that you hardly miss the meat, so could even give this to a non veggie, just for a bit of healthy variety.
So, bring some sunshine to the kitchen this winter, and enjoy some variety, some heat and some great flavours.