Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen

Leela Punyaratabandhu started her blog,, in 2008 to honor her mother's memory through her best Thai recipes. Now Punyaratabandhu, who lives in Bangkok and Chicago, has written Simple Thai Food to "show readers how easy it is to re-create traditional flavors--at home."

Punyaratabandhu chose recipes that were not only familiar to her from childhood--and will be familiar to readers who frequent Thai restaurants in the U.S.--but were feasible for kitchens not necessarily outfitted to make traditional Thai dishes. She breaks down what equipment is helpful (like why a granite mortar and pestle is best), offers information on locating such hard-to-find ingredients as kaffir lime rind or galangal, and covers how to prepare and store essential ingredients like long-grain white and Thai glutinous rices; coconut milk; chile jams; ready-made curry pastes; and fish, soy and oyster sauces.

The recipes are organized according to the Thai way of cooking: Noshes and Nibbles/khong wang (between-meal snacks and appetizers, like sweet potato fritters with peanut-sweet chile sauce); Rice Accompaniments/kap khao, also known as samrap (like Son-in-Law Eggs and Shrimp Curry Stir-Fry), which are eaten with rice as part of a meal; One-Plate Meals/ahan jan diao (complete dishes containing rice or noodles, like Pad Thai with Shrimp; and Sweets (often eaten between meals as snacks in Thailand), like Chewy Banana-Coconut Griddle Cakes. What began as a personal culinary journey to honor her mother's memory has evolved into an accessible embrace of her country's cuisine. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

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