This title contains over 300 delicious and genuine Thai recipes of both classical and regional dishes along with 50 menus that provide ideas for combining them. There are also notes on availability and substitutions of ingredients and explanations of the essential techniques of Thai cookery.
David Thompson is one of Australia's leading chefs, restaurateurs and cookery writers. He is also an eloquent ambassador for Thai food and culture. His Sydney restaurants have increased the awareness and appreciation of authentic Thai cooking. In July 2001 he opened Nahm, in London's Halkin Hotel. Seven months later Nahm gained a Michelin star, making it the first Thai restaurant to attain such an award. Earl Carter is an internationally know photographer specialising in food, interiors and travel.
This collection of Thai cooking lore, history and recipes can be as daunting as it is comprehensive. A description of the country, its various socioeconomic groups (called muang) and its culinary history is lengthy and perhaps a little too in-depth. While Thompson's enthusiasm for his subject is palpable, readers may be anxious to get to the actual recipes, but the first one does not appear for nearly 200 pages, after an essay on Thai superstitions and a glossary of ingredients such as bai yor, a tobacco-like plant, and dried lily stalks. The recipes are thorough and authentic, and while they call for many items that may be hard to find, Thompson good-naturedly provides alternatives to most of them. Thailand's signature strong flavors are in evidence in dishes such as Bream Simmered with Pickled Garlic Syrup and a Salad of Pork, Young Ginger and Squid. Recipes are divided sensibly into soups, curries, salads and the like, but one chapter simply titled "Menus" contains various dishes that work together to form a traditional Thai meal (menus such as one that includes Prawn and Lemongrass Relish; Egg Mousse with Pineapple, Corn and Salted Duck Eggs; and Deep-Fried Bean Curd with Crab, Pork and Spring Onions are intriguing). A chapter on snacks and street foods offers additional tasty choices such as Rice Cakes with Chili, Prawn and Pork Sauce and Egg Nets, lacy crpe-like wrappers created by drizzling beaten egg into a hot wok that are stuffed with a pork and shrimp mixture. The dessert chapter also provides instructions for creating Smoked Water, flavored using a special candle with a wick on both ends. (Sept.) Forecast: This encyclopedic cookbook should sell well to those intent on re-creating authentic Thai recipes, such as Su-Mei Yu's Cracking the Coconut (Morrow) or Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Hot Sour Salty Sweet (Artisan). Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Thompson, an Australian chef with two Thai restaurants in Sydney, opened Nahm in London last year; shortly thereafter, it became the first Thai restaurant ever to receive a Michelin star. Somehow, he also found the time to write this huge, exhaustively researched book, focusing especially on Thai cuisine of the late 19th century, when, he believes, Thai cooking "reached an apex." Although he explores regional and peasant cooking as well, the only recorded recipes of the time are from the upper classes and those associated with the Siamese court, and Thompson has translated and adapted many of those recipes. The first section of the book provides detailed cultural and social history and a guide to the regions and regional cuisines of Thailand. Then a detailed glossary of ingredients and a guide to techniques introduce the hundreds of recipes. These are grouped into chapters on relishes, soups, curries, salads, and sides, followed by one of menus with recipes. Chapters like "Food Outside the Meal"-snacks or street foods and desserts-complete the book. Su-Mei Yu's Cracking the Coconut is an excellent introduction to Thai home cooking, but Thompson's culinary history/cookbook is unique and will be an important purchase for any Asian cookery collection. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.