Cookbook Review: Quick & Easy Thai

Move over spaghetti and meatballs, tonight we’re having paht thai noodles loaded with organic chicken breast pieces and delicious shrimp.

For the past year, I have been obsessed with Nancie McDermott’s Quick & Easy Thai cookbook. In fact, it’s probably one of my top five can’t-live-without-it cookbooks. The recipes are simple because most of them call for easy-to-find ingredients.

Grilled Chicken & Thai Fried Rice
Grilled Chicken & Thai Fried Rice

There is a glossary of Thai food items and cooking techniques for ease of reference. And, best of all, each recipe is preceded by background information about the dish and suggestions on how create your delicious meal.

McDermott’s suggestions are confidence boosters for the novice chef. They remind the cook that recipes are guides, not gospel. Cooks can feel comfortable using items from the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer or making changes for the sake of meal variety.

For example, her Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini recipe says that you can use “zucchini or yellow squash, or some of both. Long purple Asian eggplant makes a fabulous alternative. The lime leaves and basil are lovely, but not essential to a great green curry”.

Honestly, the recipes are quick and easy. Nonetheless, Thai cuisine doesn’t have to be a Monday to Friday affair. Recently, I dressed up our Thai menu for a small dinner party.

We started the evening with Thai Crab Cakes, served with red curry mayo, and a glass of sparkling wine mixed with mango juice. Our main course included Grilled Garlic Chicken, Issahn Style, served with Sweet-Hot-Garlic Sauce and Thai Fried Rice (minus the shrimp).

Thai Crab Cakes
Thai Crab Cakes

It was the perfect meal to enjoy with friends. Preparing the chicken is a matter of throwing some ingredients in the food processor and letting it marinate on the chicken pieces for up to 24 hours.

The key to preparing Thai Fried Rice, as well as many other dishes, is to have all of the ingredients diced/sliced/measured and waiting by the wok.

Quick & Easy Thai is a must-have cookbook. In no time, you will be eating anything from Red Curry Beef with Butternut Squash; to Spicy Tuna Salad with Chilies and Lime; to Crying Tiger Steak with Roasted Tomato-Chili Sauce. As the title suggests, it is truly that simple.

Jordana’s tips:

  • Lower the sodium and sugar content of your meals by using less fish sauce and sugar than recommended
  • Use low-fat coconut milk, which you can find at Zehrs
  • Discover ingredients such as wild lime leaves, good quality fish sauce and Sri Rachaa sauce at the Oriental Food Market at Windsor’s Market Square

Jordana confesses to being a cookbook junkie who spends the weekend pouring over recipes, planning meals and shopping at Market Square on Ottawa St. When she’s dining out, she enjoys everything from fancy-schmancy tasting menus to hot buffalo wings and a beer. Jordana has a well fed husband and a dog.

You might also like