I honestly wasn't planning a cookbook review again so soon. With Thanksgiving thrown in the mix, I didn't actually think I'd have time to adequately test a good enough number of recipes to feel satisfied offering up a review. BOY WAS I WRONG!
Friday night - yes, the night after Thanksgiving - Luck Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes arrived on my doorstep while I was trying desperately to figure out what to have for supper. And no, Thanksgiving leftovers were not appealing at that moment. I realized, though, that I had everything on hand to make all three versions of Onigiri that appear in the book. I settled for two, the umeboshi and the tuna, and made four total, two of which I tried as Yaki Onigiri. And I ate them with the Spicy Cold Celery. Readers, we were off to the races!
Asian food has always intimidated me and I'm really not sure why. Sure, the ingredients can be odd and/or hard to find but I actually live in an area that has two great international grocery stores. Even as a teen I knew where our Asian market was, admittedly spending most of my money there on Botan Rice Candy and melon flavored gum. I think that my biggest issue has been the fear that it just won't taste as good as what I can get at my favorite Asian restaurants. Even after successfully trying my hand at a few Thai dishes, I never really delved into the depths of Asian cooking.
Until now. I should note that the recipes in this book are EASY. Super easy. There are undoubtedly more complex and complicated dishes out there that aren't featured in the book but I think Peter Meehan and the folks at Lucky Peach have gone a long way in offering the average home cook a chance to experiment with Asian cooking in their own home. And yes, some of the dishes are Americanized Asian food - Mall Chicken, for example.
What I realized, too, was that after just one trip to the Asian market, list in hand to make a few specific dishes, I actually had the ingredients on hand to make way more recipes than I'd planned. And since hubs was out snowboarding all weekend, I kept myself occupied making ALL THE THINGS!
Ground pork, tofu, lemongrass, dumpling wrappers, hondashi (think dashi flavored bouillon, which I didn't know they made!), Chinkiang vinegar, a new bottle of fish sauce, and a few kind of noodles along with my already amply supplied pantry got me - Com Tam Breakfast (Thai-style homemade sausage patties with rice, fried egg, and homemade Nuoc Cham); Economy Noodles (which I ate with leftover Spicy Cold Celery and flank steak); Soy 'n' Sugar Cucumber Pickles (maybe my only meh, recipe so far - very soy saucy, which is a little odd with the sweet); Chineasy Cucumber Salad; Silken Tofu Snack (quite good! I loved the lime and the soy sauce in this.); Soy Sauce Eggs (perfect with just about anything); Miso Soup; and two recipes I've yet to make - Lion's Head Meatballs and Dollar Dumplings (I did a deconstructed version of because I was lazy).
I'm dying to try their version of Chicken Adobo, one of my absolute favorite meals, and the Hainan Chicken Rice (though they sadly don't provide a chili sauce recipe for this one). I also have all the stuff on hand to make the Jap Chae (a Korean noodle dish made with sweet potato noodles - my store had them!) and Ms. Vo Thi Huong's Garlic Shrimp, which sound amazing and WILL be supper tonight. (Psst, those links take you to the recipes online!)
See, I told you I want to cook ALL THE THINGS! This is my favorite new cookbook. And I'm not the only one. Check out this piece from Booktrib for another great review and a recipe.
Per Blogging for Books requirements: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.