Colourful cuisine

Celebrity chef Ian Kittichai invites into his restaurant and shows you how to cook like him

Chef Ian Kittichai is a name that sells, and a cookbook that brings together the creativity of chef Ian, the charm of his restaurant, Issaya Siamese Club, and the best of innovative Thai food has got to be pretty impressive.

ISSAYA SIAMESE CLUB COOKBOOK Innovative Thai Cuisine by Chef Ian Kittichai Text by Joe Cummings 217pp, 1,500 baht ISBN978-616-91629-0-2 Available at Asia Books

To be absolutely frank, the cookbook is probably going to look better on your coffee table than on your kitchen counter because of its size. The colourful cover reflects the multi-hued, Victorian-inspired decor of the restaurant's interior, as well as the colourful fruits and vegetables that make up a Thai kitchen garden plot.

The contents are broken down into two parts: The first seven chapters give the background of chef Ian, his restaurant, and a short background of Thai cuisine. There is even a pictorial breakdown of a day at Issaya.

The second half goes straight into the recipes, starting with sauces and curry pastes, followed by starters, salads, homegrown vegetables, soups, main courses and desserts.

Each is a selection of all-time favourites like som tam, staples like pad khana (stir-fried Chinese broccoli with bird's eye chilli peppers and garlic), or some of chef Ian's more innovative dishes such as sok lek tuna (Thai-style tuna tartare) and kaeng karee seekhrong kae (lamb rack yellow curry).

Directions are easy to follow, indicated by step 1, step 2 and so on. The more complicated recipes even have a pictorial rundown of these steps so you know what you're doing.

Each recipe is accompanied by mouthwatering images, all close-ups that show the texture of the food rather than the overall presentation.

The downside of such a cookbook is that you may want to head straight to the restaurant to savour its food and ambience rather than cook for yourself.

The whimsical and colourful interior furnished by Hans Bogetoft Christensen.

Chef Ian at the market.

Khruang kham muang (Chiang Mai sausage with Northern Thai chilli dip).

Yam hoy shell (seared scallops with lemongrass salad).

Seekhrong kae pad prik sod (wok-fried lamb rack with chilli).

The chef’s garden with herbs and vegetables.

Phla salmon (Thai ceviche-style salmon).

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