Vegetarian Thai: More Fabulous
Recipes From the Author of Real Thai
This book flew off the shelves as soon as it appeared in 1997, and
readers tell me that they cook from it often. Vegetarians tend to
be dedicated, adventurous cooks, and I figured the dazzling
flavors of Thai food would be most welcome in their kitchens.
I love it as a way to increase my family’s vegetable intake beyond
salad, baked sweet potatoes and frozen peas. While my mission was
to translate Thailand’s authentic cuisine into vegetarian form, I
ended up with more than I planned to create: An abundance of
simple ways to make the greens, squash, snow peas, asparagus, baby
carrots, broccoli and other good-for-you vegetables that we all
need to eat lots of, taste fantastic.
Modeled on my first cookbook, Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s
Regional Cooking, this book contains my vegetarian versions of the
traditional cuisine of Thailand. Though a small and growing
vegetarian community thrives in modern Thailand, the authentic
cuisine of the Thai kingdom includes meat. The quintessential
rural Thai meal is rice with fresh fish, dried chilies, and
preserved fish and seafood-based seasonings, but meat of all
descriptions is central to Thailand’s traditional cooking. This
fact took me off the “authentic” trail and onto a creative path.
Leaving out meat was the easy part. My big challenge was capturing
Thailand’s vibrant, boisterous flavors, without using fish sauce.
Thai cooks seem to season everything save sweets and Thai iced tea
with this ubiquitous salty dark-brown seasoning known as nahm
plah in Thai.
I found that vegetable broth and salt filled the gap nicely. I was
able to capture Thai food’s signature flavors in classic dishes
from mussamun curry and paht Thai to crispy corn fritters
and satay with spicy peanut sauce. While Real Thai is
organized by region, this book presents my Thai recipes in a menu
format, from snacks and soups to curries, stir-fries and sweets.