Building a Better Fried Calamari (Reader Question)

In keeping with my pledge to answer all of your questions stemming from the Ask Me Anything I posted several days ago, I’ve decided to take a crack at this one: You posted a really delicious looking picture of fried calamari on the email page for this Ask Me Anything you’re doing. I searched your blog…

A Quick Guide to Herbs (Reader Question)

I asked you guys for questions and you delivered some great ones. Thank you so much for that! Unfortunately, to adequately answer your questions will take a lot of time and attention, so I’m going to take them one at a time and clear through them over the next couple weeks. That said, I’d like to start off with this one:

I love herbs and want to use them more in my cooking, but I just can’t figure out when to use them and how. Can you speak about some common herbs and their use?

Ask Me Anything!

Many of you have sent me your questions about everything from substitutions in my recipes, where and how to procure ingredients to alternative, time saving cooking techniques. I’ve been flattered by your interest, but I also have come to the conclusion that I should probably start a regular forum to address your questions. I’ve also made…

The Quintessential Thai Street Dish

In soliciting feedback from some of my readers, one thing that has come up fairly often is that my recipes are a bit complicated. Although that’s a fair point, this website is not entirely geared towards novices. It’s true, there are some complicated recipes that I’ve developed and published. That said, there are plenty of easy ones…

Thai Food, Explained

I’m no musician, but I do love music. Perhaps that’s because I happen to think music has a lot of parallels with cooking, as I’ve previously explained. But one of the biggest parallels between music and cooking is structural. Take classical music as illustrative. We have the great composers of history who write awe inspiring…

An Abridged List of Aromatics

Below is the figure depicting the four types of cooking aromatic categories (where an aromatic is any spice, herb or aromatic vegetable) and their maximum suggested ratio of use. The ratio expresses the dominant aromatic category compared to supporting categories. For example, if savory aromatics are dominant, the ratio of use is generally four parts savory aromatics to a maximum of one part of each of the other categories by weight. Note that this is merely a rule of thumb and not a hard rule, applying to dry ingredients only and not to fresh ingredients which contain a varying degree of water.

The Cheap Tricks of Delicious Cooking

Although cooking great food is really about science, art and intuition, cooking really good food often isn’t much more than collecting a handful of what I call cheap tricks. A cheap trick is generally some sort of exceptionally useful cooking technique or rule of thumb that I’ve uncovered during my culinary journey. It’s cheap because…

A Dichotomy of Seasonality: Two Taco Recipes

I like to think of tacos in two camps that follow seasonality: Fresh and rich. Fresh is synonymous with summer and involves the best produce and lighter flavors. Rich comes with winter and is deeply flavored and hearty. Below are two examples of such seasonal tacos.

A Brief Introduction to Tacos

Tacos are a complicated game and what separates the bad from the good from the truly exceptional is going to basically turn on three things, by my view: The tortilla itself, the overall balance of tastes and what I call “mindful contrasts” within the taco filling and between the filling and the tortilla. What I…

Three Soup Recipes: A Practical Education on Balance

Soups from across East Asia are universally delightful treats and what I miss the most from my travels there. Although they often differ in the specifics of how they’re prepared, they generally start with animal bone broth; share the same base aromatics of onion, garlic and ginger; include a bit of picante and some form of umami. Really, this breaks down to making a bone broth (below, I use chicken but virtually any livestock bones will do), infusing the base aromatics and then finishing the broth for nuance.

Getting to Know Your Gut Or: How to Eat Better So You Don’t Die Early

To some extent, you could be forgiven for not knowing more about your microbiota, which has been best defined by researchers writing for the journal, Scientist, as “the ecological community of… microorganisms that literally share our body space.” In total, an adult human has roughly 100 trillion microorganism cells making up his or her microbiota. That…

The Modest Potato: Our Forgotten Friend

The appeal of potatoes has seemingly eroded over the last few decades. Once considered a savior of the working class, today the potato is credited with their undoing. With obesity and diabetes rates soaring, especially among working class people, the potato in all its processed forms is seen as a villain. To some extent, this…