Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Katie Chin’s “Everyday Thai Cooking” is a labor of love

by Phyllis Louise Harris
September 2013

Katie Chin grew up in a household of seven where mom’s home cooking was provided by one of Minnesota’s best known names in Chinese cooking, Leeann Chin. It was also her late mother who introduced Katie to the cooking of Thailand. One taste of this complex south Asian cuisine and Katie became a lifelong fan.  Now she has turned that interest into her newest cookbook, “Everyday Thai Cooking: Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes.”

While there are influences in the cuisine from Thailand’s neighbors, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma, India and China, the country’s cooking evolved within its borders.  Thailand was never occupied or governed by an outside force so its cuisine is strictly homegrown. Fish sauce, lemon grass, curry pastes, rice and the food of the tropics are the base of everything from street food to gourmet restaurants.

Katie removes some of the mystique of Thai cooking so home cooks can master the complexity of flavor-building that makes this cuisine so delicious. While satays, curries, pad Thai and peanut sauce are familiar to diners in the U.S., Thai favorites include so much more. To get a better understanding of Thai cooking Katie and her husband spent their honeymoon traveling throughout Thailand tasting everything along the way from street food to small cafés to elegant restaurants.

She came back to the states with an even broader understanding of and love for the cuisine that shows throughout her book. Then she added her own touch to dishes such as Thai Crab Cakes, Sizzling Rice Seafood Soup, Crispy Mango Coconut Chicken, and Sweet Ripe Mango with Sticky Rice.

Katie dedicates the book to her late mother, “…an amazing chef and teacher who continues to inspire me every day.” Even the book’s title “Everyday Thai Cooking” is a reminder of the first cookbook she wrote in 2000 with Leeann, “Everyday Chinese Cooking.” Katie also wrote “300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes in 2011, has appeared on numerous television shows, and was recently a judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef. In 2003, Katie and Leeann hosted a PBS television cooking series, Double Happiness. Katie currently lives in California with her husband and their children.

“Everyday Thai Cooking” was published by Tuttle Publishing, has a hardcover price of $24.95 and is now available in bookstores and at

Katie will be in Minneapolis at book signings October 24 and 25, 11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Leeann Chin City Center location, 40 South 7th Street. Books will be available to purchase at the events.


Read more about Asian food in Minnesota and try more than 160 recipes in Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875, in bookstores and on 

Buy online:  Asian Flavors: Changing the Tastes of Minnesota since 1875 

Watch the Emmy nominated  “Asian Flavors” television show based on the book on tptMN. Check local TV listings for broadcast times or view the show streaming online at:

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