On the cookery book shelf...

Thai

The exotic cooking of Thailand and Asia made easy with a guide to ingredients and over 300 step-by-step recipes

Deh-Ta Hsiung, Becky Johnson and Sallie Morris

Southwater

£11.99

As a publisher, Southwater has cornered the market for producing well-priced, glossy, colourful, multi-pictured, enticing recipe books that are easy to follow with a minimum of fuss. This excellent production fits snugly into that profile, this time turning its attention to the cuisine of Thailand. Thai, to the uninitiated, is a great melting pot of southeast Asian traditions with an imaginative ability to balance aromatics and spice in dishes that are neither heavy or burdensome, while also very comfortable in its appreciation of the four great masters of taste: bitterness, saltiness, sourness, and sweetness. The book begins with a pocket history of such influences as China, Burma, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and, of course, Thailand itself, tapping into the diversity that make culinary adventures in these countries so exciting. At this same extensive introductory stage there are also sections on the regional rices, flours, noodles, pancakes, wraps, dumplings, seaweed, nuts, tofu, fish, meat, spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit, among others. The recipes follow the whole gamut from snacks, party food and appetiser suggestions through to poultry, meat, fish and rice dishes with room for salads and desserts too. Highlights include: crispy Shanghai spring rolls; Filipino prawn fritters; soft-shell crabs with chilli and salt; bang bang chicken; Peking duck with Mandarin pancakes; sliced seared beef; steamed fish with five willow sauce; and cold mango soufflés topped with toasted coconut. If you’re looking to kick-start an interest in a cuisine you might know little about, this is definitely a recipe book for you.

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