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Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home: A Cookbook Paperback – Illustrated, March 8, 2016
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The definitive Thai cookbook from a YouTube star!
Growing up in Thailand, Pailin Chongchitnant spent her childhood with the kitchen as her playground. From a young age, she would linger by the stove, taking in the sight of snowy white coconut being shredded, the smell of lemongrass-infused soups, and the sound of the pestle pounding against the granite mortar.
Years later, as a Cordon Bleu–educated chef in San Francisco, Pailin vividly remembered the culinary experiences of her youth. And so, on YouTube, Hot Thai Kitchen was born. Combining her love of teaching with her devotion to Thai food, Pailin immediately connected with thousands of fans who wanted a friend and educator.
In this much-anticipated cookbook, Pailin brings her signature warmth and impressive technique to Thai food lovers everywhere. She begins by taking readers on a beautifully photographed trip to Thailand to explore the culinary culture and building blocks central to Thai food. With foolproof and easy-to-follow instructions, Pailin breaks down the key ingredients, flavours, equipment, and techniques necessary to master authentic Thai cooking. Then, she shares her must-make recipes for curries, soups, salads, and stir-fries, including entire chapters on vegetarian and vegan dishes, dips and dipping sauces, and sumptuous Thai desserts. With QR codes to video tutorials placed throughout the book, you’ll be able to connect with Pailin online, too.
Both a definitive resource and an extraordinary exploration of Thai cuisine, Hot Thai Kitchen will delight and inspire you in your Thai cooking journey.
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About the Author
- Publisher : Appetite by Random House; Illustrated edition (March 8, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0449017052
- ISBN-13 : 978-0449017050
- Item Weight : 2.86 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.6 x 0.68 x 11 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #50,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2017
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Top reviews from the United States
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What I was really pleased with to see immediately is that Pai did an excellent job at putting a substantial amount of information in the first few chapters of the book that go really far in explaining a lot of the foundation of Thai cooking. As you may know from her videos, she is an excellent teacher in that she communicates really clearly what she is doing, how to do it correctly, and most importantly, WHY she is doing it. (and all with a dose of charm!) Cooking isn't just assembling a bunch of ingredients in a bowl. Knowing how and when to add an ingredient and what that ingredient is contributing to the recipe in terms of flavor and texture is very important. I think that is why Pai can help you make good recipes great when you are actually preparing them.
There is a lot of info on the various ingredients, from herbs to sweeteners to all the unique sauces that are used. And yes, we all wish we had a friendly Thai grocer down the street, but for most of us in N. America, that isn't common, so she gives some good tips on finding ingredients or when she believes "Educated substitutions" (good word choice) or even omissions are ok for the sake of the recipe. You should never let a lack of finding a key ingredient keep you from trying to learn these recipes, so she will help you overcome!
There is also a section specifically on vegetarian and vegan dishes which is really great as that diet is quite common and Thai food lends itself really well to being easily offered in a veg variation.
I see a lot of the great recipes I have already tried from her videos featured in this book, but was also pleased to see even more new ones as well as foundation recipes like curry pastes and stocks. You will see some nice mention of the region of dishes which is good, because I think that's one of the main missing pieces of information that many new to Thai food don't get at first. They don't often get to learn, that the cuisines in the North and South are dramatically different in style from each other and that curries don't just come in green or red. (see JUNGLE curry!)
I am sure anyone new or familiar to Thai cooking will really love this book. One other cool feature of the book is that there are QR codes throughout it that allow you to quickly view a video on said topic right on your phone from the Hot Thai Kitchen site as you are reading! Ingenious!
Something else that I have not seen before in a cooking book is a small table on each recipe page that shows a "breakdown" on the ingredients in terms of what their role is. (sauce, aromatic, flavor) This is a cool feature and, as Pai says, she wants to help you understand how the recipes are assembled so that you can mix and match your own components to start to make your own dishes! This table really helps to do that in my opinion.
Enjoy the recipes, technique and beautiful images that fill this great book!
As to this book...a large portion of the book is about helping you understand the culture and resulting flavor profiles of thai food. Only about half of this cookbook has actual recipes. The recipes seem mostly to be for the purpose of providing an illustration for the lessons from the first half of the book instead of being in any way comprehensive of each genre of flavors and types of dishes. Don’t let this deter you. By understanding the concepts behind thai cooking you will soon be able to go without the cookbook. Think about it as the kind of tutorial you would get cooking with your grandmother who rarely uses a recipe.
But until that level of intuitive cooking kicks in...you can always go to the website to print out specific recipes if they aren’t already in the cookbook. I, for one, will be printing out some of my favorite recipes from the website to tuck between the pages of this beautifully written and illustrated book.
I have been cooking Thai food from Pailin's YouTube recipes for about 8 months and this book really rounds out the whole experience. And I might add, I make some pretty awesome Thai food now!!
Top reviews from other countries
I'm also disappointed with the recipes - I don't know what I was expecting, probably robust, street style food recipes that are quick to make. There are six recipes for curries (and six recipes for the curry pastes), eight stir-fry recipes, and the remaining recipes are for soups, salads, vegetarian cooking, dipping sauces and puddings. This was obviously written for the USA market and also assumes everyone has an Asian food shop near to where they live, or are able to source the ingredients on the internet (banana leaves for 'how to make banana leaf cups? ; coconut water from fresh, young coconuts?). I believe that, if you're a purist, have the time and have access to the ingredients, then you will love this book ; to be fair she does suggest substitutes for the many unusual ingredients used in the recipes. I'll try maybe five or six of the recipes, but I think this is a book that will spend most of its time in the cupboard.
Highly recommended if you really want to understand what you are doing when trying to cook a Thai dish!
On to the book itself. For the new to Thai cuisine reader I like the idea of having the first part of the book 'Understanding Thai Cuisine'. It is good for me too even though I am familiar with Thai food. Understanding the culture of eating is vital and Pai is very clear with her information. Many cookbooks go straight into the recipes but Pai is different. The first recipe doesn't appear until page 93. She has tried to make the understanding of the eating culture, ingredients and equipment as important as the recipes (which they all are). There are some 'typical Thai' recipes along with many others but for me Pai has produced a very good Thai food 'manual' that beginners and enthusiasts alike will enjoy and benefit from. As for the recipes themselves Pai has included a good selection of dishes, fish, meat, vegetable, sweet, soups and Curries (obviously). I had a couple of questions for Pai and she very graciously replied-quickly too. One was about a piece of equipment she uses in her videos and the other was about Chicken or Prawn 'Thai Curry' which every single tourist will have tried and noticed that none of them taste the same from restaurant to restaurant to Street vendor. Her advice was that although Thai food has a basic structure per dish, recipes are just a guide. Great advice because I have asked my Thai friends for recipes and keep being told "It is only Thai Curry it is easy". Use Pai's introduction section as much as the recipe pages...
Her enthusiasm for not only teaching you how to cook thai food, but to learn and understand the ingredients and flavours is 1st class. Sometimes it reads like she could have written an essay for each recipe, but has shortened it down to only include the key facts. A handy section for each recipe is the breakdown where she explains the dish and how it should taste.
Comparing this book to my previous Ken Hom thai cook book, I know which one will get more use (this one). Hot thai kitchen tastes more authentic, but I would probably say Ken Hom's is easier on the eye where it's more simplified and has more pictures for each stage of the cooking process on the page.