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The Big Book of Thai Curries

Stylish Thai in Minutes

Vatch’s Thai Street Food


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Cookbook Collection:
Vatcharin Bhumichitr

On this page:

The Big Book of Thai Curries

Stylish Thai in Minutes

Vatch’s Thai Street Food


The Big Book of Thai Curries

big book of Thai Curries Vatcharin Bhumichitr has penned some fabulous books and I must say that The Big Book of Thai Curries is equal in every way to those others. He is the golden boy (well, OK, man) of Thai cooking.

Vatch has stuck to the winning formula of easy dishes with flavour and style. He has wisely marshalled the talents of photographers Martin Brigdale and Somchai Phongphaisarnkit once again. It’s a partnership that works well and produces the most sumptuous and colourful of books. There is the tried and tested mix of recipes and insight into Thailand and its people.

The Big Book of Thai Curries not only offers us recipes but gives us a wealth of information about Thai cooking and the place of curry in that cuisine. This is authentic Thai food and Vatch steers us through everything from regional culinary differences to making curry pastes. It’s fascinating and far easier than one would have imagined.

So how does a Thai curry differ from the ever-popular Indian varieties? Thai curry nearly always uses fresh herbs and spices rather than the dried preparations favoured in kitchens of the subcontinent. Indian curries are most often cooked in a base of ghee (clarified butter) rather than coconut milk. Thai curries often combine vegetables with meat or fish while Indian curries tend to be either of vegetables or of meats or fish.

The recipes are grouped by main ingredient: poultry, meat, fish, and vegetables and fruit. There is also a section of Snacks and One-Dish Meals which has a selection of dishes that most travellers will find familiar. Pork Satay with Peanut Curry Sauce (Moo Satay) is popular street food but these succulent little skewers make a tasty starter. Seafood Toast (Kanom Pang Talay) is an elegant morsel of bread with a delicate taste and crunchy texture.

The recipe chapters have some lovely surprises, the main one being the ease of preparation of all these dishes. Spicy Stuffed Roast Chicken is one of my favourite recipes. The whole chicken makes for a different presentation from the more usual array of small dishes of curries, rice or noodles. The stuffing in question is of onions, pork, peanuts and herbs, flavourful and lighter than the bread-based stuffing more common in the UK. The curry paste in this case is used as a rub before roasting, and coconut milk is used to baste.

Mackerel in Red Curry is another noteworthy dish. No fish is exactly cheap these days but we know we should eat more of it. Mackerel is a reasonable price and a healthy oily fish. The whole dish takes less than ten minutes to prepare so it’s got to be a great mid-week meal.

The Big Book of Thai Curries is just as stunning as I had expected, the recipes just as delicious and they are accessible to even novice cooks, who will be producing exotic and attractive meals in no time at all. Vatcharin Bhumichitr has done it again!

The Big Book of Thai Curries
Author: Vatcharin Bhumichitr
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Price: £14.99
ISBN 978-1-85626-808-0


food and travel reviews Vatcharin Bhumichitr

Vatch’s Thai Street Food

Thai Street Food This is a lovely large-format volume with brilliant food and travelogue photography by Martin Brigdale and Somachi Phongphaisarnkit. Vatch is in fact Vatcharin Bhumichitr who is probably the most celebrated Thai chef in the UK. He has been cooking and running restaurants in Britain since 1976.

Thailand has a vibrant and active street food culture with most Thais eating from stalls at least once a day. The dishes have a reputation for being both attractive and delicious and are so popular with tourists that some consider eating street food as the highlight of a trip.

Cooking Thai food at home might be a new challenge for many of us. Perhaps “challenge” is the wrong word: these dishes aren’t complicated but you’ll be introduced to a few new ingredients, although these will be found in larger high street supermarkets. The cooking techniques will hold no terrors.

Vatch starts us off with the preparation of the basic red and green curry pastes. There are many good quality ready-made pastes available these days so don’t be put off. There is a comprehensive store cupboard and fresh ingredient list. There isn’t much special equipment although a large mortar and pestle would be handy.

The recipes are divided by location. Bangkok is the obvious choice for the first chapter and this is followed by The Sea, The North and The Northeast. The dishes reflect the ingredients popular in each area but they all look scrumptious.

I am so pleased to find a recipe for White Radish Cake with Beansprouts. This might sound a strange concoction but trust me, it’s delicious. It’s easy to make and works well as either part of a meal or as a dim sum if served with chilli sauce.

Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chilli Sauce couldn’t be simpler to make. It’s lip-smacking scrumptious and is sure to become a favourite. Deep-fried Spare Ribs will be another recipe I’ll use often. The ribs are tasty and versatile as they remain a delightful snack even when cold and are ideal as exotic picnic fare.

Fish Cakes with Fresh Pickle (Tod Man Pla) will be a dish familiar to most tourists. The flavour and texture will be sure to revive memories of markets and saffron-robed monks in Bangkok. These little morsels make such a delightful presentation with the pickle served in a separate little bowl of, preferably, blue and white Thai design.

Vatch has penned a lovely book that introduces us to an easily accessible part of everyday Thai life. Reading Vatch’s Thai Street Food might just encourage you to think more seriously about that long-planned holiday!

Vatch’s Thai Street Food
Author: Vatcharin Bhumichitr
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Price: £14.99
ISBN 1-85626-402-5


food and travel reviews Vatcharin Bhumichitr

Stylish Thai in Minutes

Stylish Thai in Minutes You gotta love it - any cookbook that is called, “No Stress”, “2 Ingredients”, “A Meal in a Moment” or “No Cooking Cookbook”. This book truly is Stylish Thai in Minutes and it had my vote before I even opened the cover. I love cooking but I don’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen. A bit of time in the dining room is my goal!

Vatcharin Bhumichitr is probably one of the UK’s most celebrated Thai restaurateurs and authors. His career started in the 70s and he has gone from strength to strength with various food-related projects. He is well respected within the industry and his books are always well received.

Stylish Thai in Minutes is a large-format and sumptuous book with Martin Brigdale and Somachi Phongphaisarnkit supplying the photographs. This collaboration has also produced stunning results for others of Vatch’s cookbooks. There are over 120 recipes that will encourage you to try this marvellously attractive and flavourful cuisine.

Thai food is becoming more popular in the UK. There are many more restaurants and ingredients are more readily available than ever. Thailand has become a popular tourist destination. Those same tourists want to make authentic Thai food at home and Vatcharin Bhumichitr is an authentic Thai cookbook author.

The dishes are divided by type. The chapters start with Appetisers and Snacks and continue through Salads and Soups, Curries and Main Dishes, Noodles and Rice, to Fruit, Desserts and Drinks. The recipes are clear and easy to follow with both cooking and preparation times indicated. Apart from the recipes there are stunning pictures and articles about Thai culture and arts. Vatch’s pride in his homeland is evident.

But it’s the food you are most interested in. The thought of meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare will have already caught your attention. There is nothing here that is either difficult or time-consuming but the food is uncompromising in its deliciousness.

Heavenly Beef (Nua Sawan) only has five ingredients and takes five minutes to cook. OK, so the meat needs to marinade for an hour but you don’t need to keep it company. Vatch says that in Thailand after marinating the meat is left in the sun for a day to dry. That might be difficult to do in the UK!

Pork with Garlic and Peppercorns is spicy and hot from the pepper rather than the usual chillies. You will love this one, dear reader! Only 3 minutes preparation time and 5 minutes cooking time and it does look stylish.

Stylish Thai in Minutes is a gentle introduction to Thai cooking and I’ll be delving into its lovely pages often.

Stylish Thai in Minutes
Author: Vatcharin Bhumichitr
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Price: £14.99
ISBN 978-1-85626-537-9


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