Cook New York: Pok Pok

New York has so many iconic restaurants, chefs, and dishes.  But budgeting for New York rent or New York hotels sometimes can't accomodate eating out all the time. Enter our new series Cook New York, a new way to eat delicious New York City restauraunt meals without picking up the tab.  

Plenty of local and celebrity chefs are publishing cookbooks of their recipes and stories, easily accesible in your home.

Andy Ricker, owner and chef of Pok Pok Ny in Red Hook and Pok Pok Phat Thai on the Lower East Side, authored a cookbook with acclaimed food writer JJ Goode, with more than70 recipes that detail how to receate the Thai dishes he serves at his New York City and Portland restaurants. His food is unpretentious, a replication of food you'd find in someone's backyard in Thailand.

Without any Thai heritage, Ricker was free to develop recipes that he believed best represented the Thai cuisine he enjoys during his travels: he wasn't biased by a Thai grandmother's favorite recipe or version of a classic. He presents his food and recipes in a way that makes sense to those with a palate not necessarily accustomed to shrimp paste. 

The recipes are not complicated, there's no Daniel Boulud-style herb arrangement with tweezers, "but don't apply what you know about other cooking to Thai food," Ricker warned a group at a book talk in Brooklyn last week. "I didn't create the Pok Pok recipes, I learned them. Follow my instructions and details so you can create the unfamiliar in your home, especially if you're new to the cuisine." Ricker suggests starting his book with Yam Khai Dao, a fried egg salad, and progressing from there.  

Pre-assembled kits to make Ricker's recipes are avaiable at Temple of Thai, or ingredients can easily be found in many Asian or Hispanic markets.