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Pad Thai, Kaho Pad, Gaeng Daeng, Tom Yum, Som Tum – the mention of any of these wonderful Thai dishes should be enough to get your mouth watering and your mind racing with all sorts of aromas and images of one of the most complex and delicious cuisines of all time.
Behind every Thai meal is a complex blend of spices and culinary techniques that span the course of history. Accordingly, it goes without saying that cooking up a delicious Thai recipe can be quite a challenging task requiring both time and skill on part of the cook.
With all that being said, you could be forgiven for thinking that since Thai food is so tricky to make, why bother at all? Why not pop down to a local Thai restaurant or order something online? With Thai food covering the entire spectrum of flavor from sweet to spicy, it’s easy to feel intimidated.
But wait! Before you leave your home or reach for that phone, stay and read on. There’s one neat way to ensure that any Thai dish you make comes out as good as possible: cookbooks. These tomes are a godsend to the budding home cook.
Written by pro chefs in simple language that’s easily understandable, just follow the detailed recipes and you’ll have a delicious Thai meal in no time. Read on to check out our take on the most popular Thai cookbooks in the market right now!
- Best Thai Cookbook of 2020
- Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen
- The Better Than Takeout Thai Cookbook: Favorite Thai Food Recipes Made at Home
- Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine
- Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand
- Everyday Thai Cooking: Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes
- The Thai Soup Secret
- Thailand: The Cookbook
- Thai Slow Cooker Cookbook
- Night + Market
- A Buyer’s Guide to Thai Cookbooks
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Thai Cookbook of 2020
Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen
Living up to its title on every page, this classic cookbook by Leela Punyaratabandhu – a well-known Thai chef and blogger – promises to provide the budding home chef with the best of Thai cuisine and includes recipes for iconic dishes like Shrimp Pad Thais to Golden Spring Rolls.
But what really sets this cookbook apart is its focus on simplicity. With every recipe containing the simplest of steps after being subjected to rigorous testing, even the most hesitant and amateur of cooks will be able to whip up a great Thai meal.
So, whether you have a penchant for family recipes or street food, a cookbook like this should be high on your list and in your kitchen ASAP.
The Better Than Takeout Thai Cookbook: Favorite Thai Food Recipes Made at Home
Jammed packed with countless exciting Thai recipes that’ll ensure you never order a cheeky delivery ever again, Onge’s take on Thai Food introduces a fantastic menu that’ll dazzle both you and your guests.
Coming in either Paperback or as a Kindle e-book, through its many pages you’ll be receiving instructions from one of the foremost food and travel writers who has had an illustrious career in the culinary world. If that wasn’t enough to sell you, this book has gained positive reviews from the likes of Kathy Gunst to even authors like Monica Bhide and Shanti Christensen!
Though one thing we should mention is that though its recipes are simple and easy-to-follow, they don’t come with reference photos, so you’ll have to trust your intuition (or make an extra Google search) if in doubt.
Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine
Written by a chef who has lived in the kitchen, playing around and experimenting with Thai recipes from a young age all the way to during her successful career as a chef and YouTuber, Pailin Chongchitnant’s love and devotion for Thai cuisine is best displayed in her Hot Thai Kitchen cookbook.
Bringing signature dishes that’ll comfort any distressed soul to engaging every taste bud, you’ll find recipes for just about anything Thai-related here. From dripping curries to steamy soups to even iconic stir-fries and even entire sections dedicated to vegetarians and vegans, there really is something here for any eater!
So, whether you’re a pro-chef or a humble home-cook, this cookbook will serve as the perfect companion during your adventures in the kitchen.
Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand
The product of a collaboration between writers, chefs, photographers and countless stories told by the people of Thailand, a cookbook like this represents far more than a collection of recipes: it represents an entire culture.
The fact that decades have been spent into perfecting and collecting the best of Thai cuisine means that in this cookbook you’ll not only find easy to follow recipes from Kai Kaphrao Khai Dao to Tam Taeng Kwaa, but you’ll also notice that they’re all as respectful to their traditional roots as much as possible.
Really, it’s no stretch to say that everything you might need that’s Thai-food related will be in here. From recipes suitable for the finest restaurants to the humblest of street stalls, within its 300+ pages, an entire world of flavor awaits.
Everyday Thai Cooking: Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes
If you’re not too concerned about a recipe being totally authentic and traditional and just want to have something ready in the shortest frame of time possible, that’s totally fine.
Katie Chin’s Everyday Thai Cooking has you covered on that end. Providing you with a range of techniques, tips, and recipes that’ll provide you the path of least resistance when it comes to putting a good meal onto your table, you’ll find that even the most complex and challenging of recipes simplified to as simple a recipe as possible in this book.
From Crunchy Siam Spring Rolls to Shaking Beef and even Mee Krob, each recipe here is designed to be made with easy-to-obtain ingredients and with the home cook in mind.
You’ll also find beautiful and detailed photos for each recipe to serve as your reference. With over 100 delectable recipes packed into this unassuming book, your Thai cravings should be satisfied for years on end if done right.
The Thai Soup Secret
Thai soups are probably one of the most iconic things you’ll ever come across in their cuisine. The product of generations spending their lives dedicated to bringing out the most delicious and the most nutritious elements in their traditional soups, Thai soups are known not just for being tasty but healthy.
This is where Craig Fear’s book comes in – through his countless research trips to Thailand, he has collected the best soups Thailand has to offer that’ll not just kindle your love for a good broth but will improve your general health.
Food is the best medicine after all and if you’re looking add a little Thai to that equation, this cookbook should be high up on your personal list.
Thailand: The Cookbook
Probably sitting as the holy grail, the bible, the Codex Alimentarius when it comes to delivering a good Thai Dish, Jean-Pierre Gabriel’s definitive take on Thailand through his cookbook will provide you with an array of dishes that have roots from the humblest of street-side stalls to the most posh of fine-dining establishments.
Dishes like Massaman Curry to Glutinous Rice will be made easy thanks to not just its detailed instructions but its clear, full-color photographs that’ll give you an idea of what things should look like. With over 500 unique recipes to follow, this book is not just informative but is a work of art in its own right.
Bringing you the best of the best from the heart of Thailand, this cookbook will dazzle and entrance any eater. There are many good reasons as to why millions of tourists flock to Bangkok every year and food is one of them. With a remarkable set of recipes here to pick from its over 300 pages, you’ll find that each recipe is both unique and near-perfect.
This is made possible thanks to the expertise of the writer, Leela Punyaratabandhu, who has appeared on CNN and countless other outlets. You’ll also find rave reviews over this cookbook by the likes of Bon Appetit to even James Oseland himself, which only serves to demonstrate the true quality of this book.
Thai Slow Cooker Cookbook
Slow cooking is becoming an increasingly popular technique used in all sorts of kitchens. It not only ensures that even the most untender of meat becomes soft to the teeth, but it infuses dishes with deep flavors otherwise unheard of.
Thai food is one such type of cuisine that truly benefits from this. With all its curries and soups, it’s easy to see why. Rockridge Press’s Thai Slow Cooker Cookbook takes advantage of this trend and compiles mouthwatering recipes that’ll work in any slow cooker from Red Curries to Sticky Winds.
So, if you’re a lover of slow cooking and are craving some Thai food, getting a cookbook like this is a no brainer move.
Night + Market
Ideal for any party occasion, chef Kris Yenbamroong’s cookbook will provide you with all the recipes you need to whip up some awesome Thai party food. By deconstructing and simplifying the most traditional of Thai recipes into something easy to follow without any hassle, any recipe you pull out from this cookbook is bound to impress your party guests. From Cashew Chicken to Pad Thais, you’ll find that each recipe not only simple to follow but that the ingredients it requires are easy to obtain as well. No need to head to a specialist grocery store here.
A Buyer’s Guide to Thai Cookbooks
A good cookbook is often one that is written by a good cook. While each and every cookbook on our list is written by a pro in the field, should you choose to look elsewhere, try to verify the authenticity of the author as best as possible.
The author doesn’t have to be born and bred in Thailand but should at least be a cook or a known name in the field (think of a journalist, travel blogger, etc.). Of course, this isn’t to say that fame is the best indicator of quality. We’re sure that there’re great Thai cookbooks out there written by unknown, budding writers! Just make sure to practice your due diligence though if you give them a try.
Thai cuisine can be as easy or as challenging as you make it. Thai cuisine after all is not just known as street vendor fare. No, it has filled the halls of three Michelin star restaurants across the world! With that said, when it comes to the best cookbook for you, make an honest assessment of your abilities as a cook.
If you’re confident with your knife and stove and cook several times a week already, take your pick. If you’ve never cooked more than instant noodles and a boiled egg, perhaps set your sights lower for now to avoid disappointment.
Access to ingredients these days is often an easy thing thanks to the advent of modern supermarket chains and online shopping. Regardless, while getting hold of any ingredient is technically possible, cost may be an issue.
This isn’t usually a problem unless you live in a rural part of the country and are adamant on producing as authentic a dish as possible. This depends entirely on you and your budget. How much are you willing to fork out in terms of cost? If the answer is not very much, then consider opting for a book that balances authenticity with practicality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cookbooks with references photos better?
It depends directly on how confident you are at following a recipe without any visual references. We don’t think photos are essential when it comes to a good cookbook – so long as the instructions are clearly written and easy-to-follow, that’s all any chef may need.
And don’t forget, you can always hop onto Google if you’re still unsure as to how your dish is meant to look!
What if I don’t have all the right ingredients that my recipe asks for?
Substitute it! Many ingredients will be remarkably similar to another. For instance, if a recipe calls for Kaffir lime, you can use lime zest instead. Mooli? Try turnip. How about Thai basil? Just mix together some mint leaves and Italian basil. The combinations are endless here.