Complimenting on the cookbook Pok Pok at this point is like stating that cats are fluffy. People have acknowledged it, and already moved on. However, I just cannot get over how every dish I made from the book has turned out amazing. Sure, the dozens of homemade condiments listed in the ingredients are time consuming to make, and I did end up subbing a lot of ingredients (although it is explicitly stated not to do this) due to the large number of hard-to-find or hard-to-use-up ingredients. But even with my constant bastardizing of the dishes with Japanese/Korean ingredients, every dish provided a wholly novel flavor that took me out of the monotony of my home cooking.
I love this cookbook as dearly as I love the Thai recipes from the blog She Simmers. Besides the obvious commonality that they both feature Thai cuisines is that they both take a critical stance against the notion of authenticity.
So here are some of the highlights:
Khao Phat Muu: stir-fried rice. I thought I was bored, tired of any iterations of fried rice dishes. I was wrong.
Khao Tom: Rice soup. Wonderful for warming your body, getting over colds, and hangovers.
Yam Makheua Yao: eggplant salad
Phat Fak Thawng: stir-fried squash. My partner’s new favorite way of eating squash. Actually, her only favorite way of eating squash.
Tam Taeng Kwaa: Cucumber salad
Holy basil chicken without the holy basil. I feel remorse.
Yam Khai Dao: Fried egg salad. I am not sure if I would qualify this as a salad. But it’s delicious.
Kung Op Wun Sen: glass noodles and shrimp baked in a pot. This one’s one of the more Chinese influenced dishes in the cookbook. It’s one of the few noodle dishes that actually pairs wonderfully with rice.
Khao Soi Kai: Northern Thai curry noodle soup with chicken. It’s hell making this dish without a mortar and pestle (I used a cylindrical baking pin with pint glasses.) But it’s worth it. If this dish involved less work, I would seriously consider replacing this with my curry udon recipe as my hangover morning food.