Cookbook Club: “Quick & Easy” Indian & Thai

Next week, we’ll be holding the December Parties That Cook Cookbook Club Luncheon, where we’ll dive into the recipes of Jean Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman’s Simple to Spectacular book.

We’ve been so busy with holiday cooking parties that we almost forgot to blog about last month’s “Quick & Easy” Indian & Thai Cookbook Club lunch! Since not everyone in the office is a fan of Indian food, we selected two books to cook with:

Quick & Easy Indian Cooking

by Madhur Jaffrey

Quick & Easy Thai: 70 Everyday Recipes

by Nancie McDermott

On the lunch menu were a whopping 11 dishes, plus Thai Iced Tea with Boba! Not only did we have our usual office crew participating, but also our Lead Chef Jill Klein joined us.

From the Indian book –

Cauliflower with Ginger, Garlic and Green Chiles – Rosie whipped up this vegetable side. It was an easy recipe to follow, but bland in flavor.
A Light, Cold Yogurt Soup – LeRoid concocted this creamy yogurt-based soup with cucumbers in it. We liked the lighness of the American-style yogurt he used that kept the soup a first course.
Lamb Vindaloo – Crissy found her recipe called for too much coconut milk and not enough reducing time. She halfed the milk and removed her lamb as the sauce reduced, so the meat would not be overcooked. It was a delicious hearty main course.
Tumeric Rice – Erin steamed up a tumeric spiced rice with whole cinnamon sticks. The rice came out bright yellow, but had a very light flavor perfect for eating with our curries.
Apples, Caramelized Cardamom with Pistachio Cream – Jill sauteed apples for this very spiced cardamom dessert topped with chopped pistachios instead of the cream. It was a “love it” or “hate it” dish, depending on how much you enjoy the flavor of cardamom.

From the Thai book –
Roasted Eggplant with Cilantro and Lime – Lauren roasted asian egglplants for this super simple garlicy, gingery, fish saucy, limey room temperature eggplant salad. We agreed it had all of the classic flavors of Thailand.
Paht Thai Noodles – Tanya stir-fried two versions of this classic noodle dish: one with chicken, one with just shrimp. We loved her version with shrimp only, which she says she made exactly to the recipe. She was overall very happy with the flavor that came out of this simple recipe.
Easy Salmon Cakes – Christina made these salmon fried patties. She found that the recipe needed a bit more egg to bind the cakes and came out a little bit salty. Overall a very easy recipe for a simple appetizer.
Yellow Curry Chicken with Potatoes – Bibby tackled a coconut milk-based thai curry with chicken and potatoes. She was happy with the flavors of the simple recipe, but was skeptical of the very watery texture, which drank more like a soup than a curry.
Panaeng Beef in Red Curry Peanut Sauce – Shanti served a show-stopping delicious platter of this peanut butter-based curry with steak and basil fresh from her garden. It was everyone’s favorite of the day. Then again, Shanti has vast experience cooking Thai food, so no one was surprised at this.
Sticky Rice with Mangoes – Michelene also lived in Southeast Asia for awhile and made this very traditional dessert. We noted that finding the right kind of sticky rice is key, since all Michelene could find at the Whole Foods was sushi rice, which didn’t have the same chewy texture and mouth-feel. The coconut milk sauce did come out splendidly and meshed perfectly with the ripe mango.


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