My favourite kind of books are cook books. I love flicking through the beautifully illustrated pages to see what inspires me to recreate something. The only things that turn me off is if the ingredients are difficult to source and will rarely be used in other recipes, and if the entire process is too labourius and time consuming, in which case it’s easier to go straight to a Thai restaurant.
Lately I have noticed some straight-forward, no nonsense Thai cook books, which has piqued my interest because I love Thai food and would love to create something as authentic as possible at home. One is Sallie Morris’ Easy Thai Cookbook – a step-by-step guide to cooking Thai food quickly and easily – which I was kindly sent to review. Sallie has written a number of books on Southeast Asian cooking and has lived in Malaysia for three years, travelling widely throughout the region so she is in a pretty good position to know what’s authentic.
The paperback contains over 70 simple recipes and ‘simple’ is the key word here because each one only uses a handful of staple ingredients, which are easy to source and this also means each recipe is quick to make too. The book is a perfect introduction for beginners and also for Thai food enthusiasts.
The book is split into three parts: the first is an introduction into the typical Thai ingredients, equipment, cooking methods and how to make the basics like stocks, sauces, pastes (red curry for example), rice and noodles; the second part is the actual recipes featuring snacks, appetisers, soups, salds, curries, stir-fries, desserts and more; and the final section is a helpful guide on meal planning for a variety of lunches and dinners.
Interestingly, the method for each recipe comprises of no more than 8 steps – short, precise and easy to follow. The recipes I am keen to try (thanks to the superb images making me drool) are Prawn Satay (alternatively can be made with chicken, beef or pork), Red Chicken Curry, Prawn and Pineapple Curry, Stir-fry Duck Breasts with Ginger and Black Bean Sauce, Stir-fry Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Stir-fry Squid with Garlic and Barbecue Chicken.
After much deliberation, I decided to make Sweet and Sour Chicken, which consists of four simple steps and prepping and cooking takes less than half an hour. The next day I took the leftovers to work for lunch and my boss immediately commented on the fragrance of my food. Win!
If Thai tickles your fancy, this is an excellent book that ticks several boxes. Beautifully illustrated, easy to follow and practical for every day cooking. It’s a recipe book I will certainly use time and time again.
Easy Thai Cookbook by Sallie Morris is priced at £14.99.
On a side note: I am presently living through a kitchen extension project and as the builders take over the ground floor, I have limited access to space – in fact I no longer have a fully functional kitchen but I know it will be worth the trouble when it’s finally finished.