Simply Thai Cooking, Third Edition
Wandee Young & Byron Ayanoglu
Robert Rose Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (10/11)
One of my favorite ethnic foods is Thai but I’ve only eaten it in restaurants. When “Simply Thai Cooking” arrived for review, I took the opportunity to make dishes myself to see if they would be on par with those made in authentic Thai restaurants.
For the purpose of a review we are asked to test three recipes. The first one I tested was “Curry Noodles with Vegetables.” Veggies consisted of snow peas, mushrooms, cauliflower and bean sprouts. The sauce consisted of garlic, curry powder, water, soy sauce and sugar. The flavor of the sauce was mild and didn’t overtake the vegetables; however, I didn’t like the runniness of it. It ended up more like a soup than a stir-fry dish.
The second recipe I tested was “Shrimps with Chili and Basil.” For me, adding basil to any dish would be a hit, so this recipe drew me in. The recipe calls for 4 fresh hot chilies but I felt it was too much for our palates so I cut it down to two; even at two the dish was spicy. The recipe calls for 20 whole leaves of fresh basil which was just right. The aroma and flavor of this dish was exquisite. Served over steamed brown rice, this dish was a total hit.
The third recipe I tested was “Curry Salad.” This was the most interesting combination of ingredients that I’ve ever experienced. The salad contained tofu, bean sprouts, carrot, onion, tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, and boiled eggs. Place this combination on torn lettuce leaves, pour the “Peanut Sauce” over the top and you’ve got a salad that not only looks good but is wonderful in flavor. The peanut sauce is a combination of processed peanuts, unsweetened coconut milk, red curry paste, sugar, lemon juice, and fish sauce. Oh my! Delicious!
I’m going to make other recipes from “Simply Thai Cooking” in the future. As I perused the recipes, I saw some that look easy to make and have simple ingredients, yet have the Thai flair. Two sections of the book hold beautiful colored pictures of dishes found in the book.
If you want to venture into Thai cooking, I certainly do recommend “Simply Thai Cooking.” I believe most of the ingredients can be found in any local grocery store, especially those that have ethnic sections. Thumbs up on this one!