cover image Real Thai Cooking: Recipes and Stories from a Thai Food Expert

Real Thai Cooking: Recipes and Stories from a Thai Food Expert

Chawadee Nualkhair and Lauren Lulu Taylor. Tuttle, $24.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8048-5558-7

Bangkok-based food blogger Nualkhair (Thailand’s Best Street Food) and Secret Kiwi Kitchen founder Taylor (Feasting on Flowers) explore classic dishes and ongoing culinary innovation in this illuminating tour of Thailand’s vibrant cuisine. The authors work region by region through the country’s “patchwork quilt” of culinary styles, retracing the historical and foreign influences that shape the flavors of each. Recipes from central Thailand’s rice region, including sweet and spicy shrimp paste fried rice and fried lacy eggs with Thai dressing, rely on building blocks of fish sauce, lemongrass, galangal, and coconut milk. Milder, northern-style meat dishes include nam prik ong, a minced pork ragu eaten with pork rinds, sticky rice, and cabbage. In Isaan, to the northeast, influences from neighboring Laos and Vietnam come through in mashed eggplant salad and spring rolls filled with minced chicken. Known for seafood and “ear-ringingly, eye-wateringly spicy” plates, southern-style favorites include steamed fish balls and glass noodle salad with deep-fried shallots. Additional chapters dedicated to dips, sauces, desserts, and tropical cocktails round things out, and a list of essential equipment, tips for preparing steamed rice, and 10 menus help make these recipes accessible. Home cooks are sure to be inspired. (May)