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Cookbook review: 'Thai Food Made Easy' lives up to its name
"Thai Food Made Easy" is by June Williamson. - photo by Margot Hovley
"THAI FOOD MADE EASY," by June Williamson, Front Table Books, $16.99, 127 pages

This delightful cookbook is highly recommended for lovers of Thai cuisine.

Some home chefs feel intimidated to try exotic recipes originating from faraway lands because they fear they can't find the necessary ingredients in their local grocery store. This cookbook addresses that fear right up front, with a handy list of commonly used items that can be purchased at an Asian grocery store or sometimes right at the neighborhood market. Once a home chef has stocked up on these items, they are set.

Each recipe, selected from the "greatest hits" of Thai cooking, is accompanied by its own full color and mouth-watering photo of the finished dish, along with a shopping list for easy reference. The photos are especially helpful in knowing how the food should look when it's ready to serve.

Cooking directions are clear and easy to understand helping readers to realize there's nothing overly complicated about Thai cooking compared to other more common cuisines. The same skills are used.

The cookbook includes sections on all sorts of dishes, including appetizers, salads, soups, curries, stir fries, rice, noodles and desserts. Sprinkled throughout are charming remembrances of the author's childhood in Thailand and later America, where she learned Thai cooking at her mother's knee.



1 (14-oz.) package rice sticks (medium, dried rice noodles)

cup chicken broth

4 tablespoons fish sauce

6 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons white sugar

6 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)

teaspoon Accent (MSG) (optional)

4 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoons garlic (minced)

4 eggs

1 pound chicken (12 boneless, skinless breasts, sliced; can also use beef or pork.)

1 small carrot (thinly sliced, or 1 cup prepackaged matchsticks)

1 small onion (sliced)

2 tablespoons peanuts (chopped)

1 bunch of green onions (chopped)

1 large lime (sliced into 46 pieces)

1 cup bean sprouts

1 teaspoon ground red peppers (optional garnish

1. Soak noodles in large bowl of hot water for at least 15 minutes, until soft. Drain in colander and set aside.

2. While the noodles are soaking, prep other ingredients.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together chicken broth, fish sauce, brown sugar, white sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice and Accent to create your sauce.

4. Heat oil on high in large pan or wok.

5. Lightly brown garlic.

6. Stir in eggs; let them fry; then coarsely chop with a spatula.

7. Add chicken and cook until done.

8. Add carrots and onions, and cook for approximately 1 minute.

9. Add drained noodles. Stir.

10. Add the premixed sauce. Toss all together.

11. Cover with a large lid and turn heat down to medium high.

12. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir.

13. Stir in chopped peanuts.

14. Garnish with green onions, sliced limes, and bean sprouts.

15. Add ground chopped Thai red peppers to taste.

"Thai Food Made Easy," by June Williamson