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Asian Flavors    by Wendy Sweetser order for
Asian Flavors
by Wendy Sweetser
Order:  USA  Can
Kodansha International, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The complete title of Asian Flavors includes the words: 'Unlock Culinary Secrets with Spices, Sauces and Other Exotic Ingredients.' The flyleaf tells us: 'A melting pot of cultures and eating habits, Asia's cuisines are a reflection of the broad diversity of the peoples who inhabit the continent and their cooking and eating traditions'. Asia is home to half the world's population, whose cuisine combines their own culinary heritage with cooking from around the world. This produces wonderful dishes, including ingredients that might not be familiar to the occidental palate but which make Asian cuisines unique, unusual, and worth every bite.

Ten major flavors that define Asian cooking at its best ginger, chilis, lemon grass, rice wine and rice vinegar, coconut, sesame, fish sauces, fresh lime, soy, and Asian herbs come from ten different countries in the area. The recipes pictured in this cookbook make good use of these ingredients and can introduce you to a new way of cooking. Don't skip the Introduction, which serves to slide you gently into understanding Asian cooking and will make you want to give it a try. After explaining Ginger what it is and how to use it a recipe and lifelike picture follows for Fragrant Ginger Chicken with Noodles. Seared Cod with Galangal (a type of ginger) Sauce looks divine. There are Thai Crab Cakes, Chilled Melon in Ginger Syrup, and Pork in Gingered Hoi Sin Sauce. The list goes on. Incidentally, each dish is identified with the country of origin. The history of Chili is next, followed by tempting recipes. Who could resist Green Curry with Basil? Not me. Or Stir-Fried Pork with Chili & Peanuts?

This wonderful new cookbook continues introducing the American palate to the glories of Asian flavors, incorporating all the ingredients mentioned above. It includes 120 recipes with clear how-to instructions.

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