Everyday Thai Cooking | Cookbook Review by Recipe RenovatorWe. Love. Thai. Food. So much so that our neighborhood joint knows our order when we call it in nearly every weekend. So I was excited to receive this gorgeous full-color cookbook by Katie Chin, who demystifies the incredible flavors and textures of Thai cooking. This one is a winner! We’ll be giving away one copy of Everyday Thai Cooking: Quick & Easy Family Style Recipes at the end of the month.

The full-color book is beautifully designed in an oversized format, with intricate Thai patterning on each page. Photos of Thailand and the food are interspersed, giving you a strong feeling for this vibrant country. I’ve had the good fortune to visit Thailand three times, and would go back in a heartbeat.

Chin begins with instructional chapters on the Joys of Thai Cooking, Basic Cooking Techniques and Tips, Basic Tools and Utensils, and Thai Ingredients. Don’t skip these, as they’re an excellent primer on ingredients likely to be unfamiliar to Western cooks. She also includes a section called The Basics, featuring tons of sauces you’ll use later on. I appreciated this especially, as the sauces are either loaded with white sugar or soy sauce with gluten. Being able to make my own with palm sugar and gluten-free tamari allows me to fully enjoy more Thai cooking. The rest of the book includes: Appetizers and Snacks, Soups, Salads, Poultry, Beef Pork and Lamb, Seafood, Noodles and Rice, Vegetables and Tofu, and ends with Desserts.

For some reason, I started with a dessert, probably because we were still in holiday mode. I love Thai sticky rice, and was intrigued to see if I could make it myself. Her recipe was naturally vegan. I happened to have black sticky rice (an option she noted) and used coconut palm sugar instead of white sugar. While it did not get as thick as the restaurant style, it was quite tasty and perfect with the ripe mango. (No photo, it was too dark.)Tangy pumpkin soup from Everyday Thai Cooking | Cookbook Review by Recipe RenovatorNext up was tangy pumpkin soup, which I made with butternut squash (a recommended substitute). I should have read her lemongrass prep instructions more thoroughly, as my finished soup was a bit more fibrous than I would have liked, but we both loved it. I made mine without any hot peppers and lime juice, and The Husband’s without the lime juice and adding Sriracha sauce. Both were excellent. (I am having trouble tolerating peppers these days, and he cannot abide citrus.)Peanut noodles and vegan tofu salad from Everyday Thai Cooking | Cookbook Review by Recipe RenovatorFinally I made two dishes, involving three recipes: sweet Thai chili sauce, vegan tofu salad, and spicy peanut noodles. The sauce was super easy, I simply substituted coconut palm sugar, and I used only the tofu portion of the salad recipe, serving it along with the peanut noodles for a lettuce wrap dinner. Everything tasted super fresh. The peanut noodles were a little heavy; I would thin the sauce quite a bit more than she suggests, and they definitely benefited from the lime juice.

What I liked about this book:
Gorgeous, really made me feel like I was visiting Thailand again, plus it’s extremely user-friedly and gives you confidence to try a cuisine with so many unfamiliar ingredients. Loved all the instructional information in the front.

I wasn’t so keen on:
The recipes are not labeled gluten-free (or soy-free, or vegetarian/vegan) and that would be helpful, especially as some of the base ingredients, like hoisin sauce, are usually not gluten-free. But if you’re knowledgeable about your ingredients, you should be fine. If you are a staunch vegan and would be upset at seeing chapters devoted to dishes made with meat, this book is not for you.

Recommended for:
Anyone who wants to learn to make Thai food at home, except for staunch vegans. Plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. People who are gluten-free should double-check ingredient lists.

Take a look inside:

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