Sunday, 20 July 2014

Thai Cooking with David Thompson

"Thai cooking is at odds with the modern world where speed and simplicity are paramount"
David Thompson.
Thai food can be a cruel mistress indeed but cooking Thai cuisine with David Thompson could be compared to being bound and gagged by a 6 foot bitch in black leather and whipped into submission.
David is a purist, this is traditional Thai cooking at it’s best and he is the master of balancing the sweet, spice and saltiness of Thai cooking.

His first major book “Thai Food” is an intimidating tome. Less of the food porn photography we have come to know in in modern cookbooks and more hardcore lessons in authentic Thai cooking . It is not for the beginner but with a little knowledge and determination and an epic hunt for ingredients you will be able to create some tantalising Thai dishes.

The techniques this book presents are cumbersome, David guilts you into making your own coconut milk from scratch and toasting and grinding whole spices individually. No store bought canned goods here just good old fashioned elbow grease.

The spice factor will kick your little western arse, only years of burning the nerve endings in your mouth will prepare you for some of these dishes. Although David would likely tell you to not be a pussy I would recommend adjusting the amount of chilli’s in some of these recipes to make them more palatable depending on your heat tolerance. I like chilli but 30 little green chilli’s in one green curry is out of my league, we halved that amount and it was still damn hot.

His follow up book “Thai Street Food” is more to my taste. Again a behemoth of a book that will require a reinforced bookshelf not to collapse under it’s weight it is filled with fast exciting photography of everyday happenings in Thailand. It is a cultural journey as well as a cooking journey. The recipes whilst still authentic are more recognisable and achievable by home cooks and the layout and photography is a pleasure to read.

I have been to Thailand a number of times but I must admit at the time I was too afraid to eat the street food. Meat and fish left out in the open festering in a Bangkok summer leaves me with visions of stomach parasites and eventual death. Rick Stein recently informed me on his far Eastern Odyssey that that food hygiene in Bangkok has improved immensely over the last decade and if that is the case I look forward to heading back and getting my hands on some of the street food David talks about in his book.

Yes some of the ingredients are still tricky to find. You may have to hunt through the aisles of a number of Asian Grocery Stores or the internet to find what you need and in some cases you may need to substitute and this is where a little general knowledge can come in handy. Despite this and the time and difficulty factor of some of these recipes once you get this food in your mouth you will forget all about it. The smells and tastes are uniquely Thai, your mouth may burn and the aftermath is worse but you know you are experiencing a culture whose food is bold and punchy and unlike anywhere else on earth and just like when your hour is up with the dominatrix you will be left feeling all warm inside and just a little sore.

So if you are looking for a true food adventure then suck it up, put on your gimp gear and get ready for the spanking of a lifetime with David Thompson.

Thai Food by David Thompson
Thai Street Food by David Thompson
Originally posted on Sunday, 20 July 2014 by


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