‘Thai food’ by David Thompson, a difficult read. See the reviews in amazon to understand the challenges imposed by this opus. Most recipes are difficult to follow outside Thailand because it’s impossible to source the ingredients – but the ones that are doable speak for the refinement of thai cuisine. You can try this salad – provided you marinated and dried your shrimps some days in advance.
The first recipe starts page 191. What precedes the ‘shrimp paste relish’ is history and food fundamentals that put thai cuisine in the middle of the historic and social web. Read about the extravaganzas of the cuisines of the palaces’ : unorthodox interpretations of western cuisine, perfumes designed for cooking, combinations of seemingly heterogeneous ingredients – refined, enhanced and balanced to a ‘posed conclusion’. There is an abyss between the thai kitchen described here and to whatever passes as thai in the west.
Thompson also runs a restaurant in Bangkok (Nahm), “vaut le voyage” to Thailand given you have booked your table- but he is no snob either. In the Thailand edition of Lonelyplanet he contributed a guided tour of the street food pleasures of Bangkok. It’s as fun and tasty as it gets.
PS:Thompson’s other book is “Thai street food’. The recipes are equally challenging, but you can buy it just for the photos.