Month: March 2021

Oyster Mushroom Thai Fried Rice

I know I’ve been on an oyster mushroom kick as of late, but they’re just so good and versatile and affordable.

Thai fried rice for the win

I grew up on fried rice. Indonesian nasi goreng (literally ‘rice fried’) to be exact. I don’t know about you but I get tired of stuff I’ve been eating for a while. So I stopped making nasi goreng maybe a decade ago.

Enter Night+Market by Kris Yenbamroong (order in the US or UK), a cookbook whose praises I’ve sung a few times over now and the chicken fried rice from page 207. And I am back in the fried rice game. I use a slightly different technique from Kris because it’s my grandmother’s technique and I’m always going to pick grandma’s technique over anyone else’s. So here we are.

Veggify it

I’m trying to cut back on meat in a big way, so I switched out the chicken for oyster mushrooms here, which works a treat.

Veganizing prik nam pla is a little harder, but I asked my Hot&Bothered friends for a tip and their mom recommends using light soy sauce instead of fish sauce. Obviously this doesn’t give you the same funk as fish sauce but it is vegan and it will make you happy. This rice really isn’t complete without the prik nam pla.

Thai seasoning sauce

Yes, you will need to head out and find Thai seasoning sauce. Ideally of the Healthy Boy Brand. This is quite easily found online and the dish just isn’t the same without it. If you really can’t be bothered Maggi is very similar and more widely available in Europe (no word on the US from me).

You can read a super interesting article about the history of Thai seasoning sauce and Maggi here.

An overhead shot on a soft pink background. At the top of the image is a small blue 'cloudy' enamel wok filled with Thai fried rice showing bits of oyster mushrooms and spring onions, there is a wooden rice ladle stuck in the pot. The wok is set on a dish towel with a leopard print. To left bottom of the wok there is a small enamel white bowl with a white trim filled with more Thai fried rice. Scattered around it are the tips of birds eye chilies as well as a squeezed half of lime. Finally at the middle bottom of the image there is a yellow bowl filled with nam pla prik, a Thai dipping sauce which has garlic and thin slivers of birds eye chilies floating in it.

Oyster Mushroom Thai Fried Rice

Dorothy Porker
A vegan fried Thai fried rice inspired by the chicken fried rice from Kris Yenbamroong's stellar Night+Market cookbook.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Precooked rice 8 hrs
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Thai

Equipment

  • Bottle or jar x2 (for keeping the remainder of the stir-fry sauce and prik nam pla)
  • Small bowl
  • Wok (a frying pan isn't ideal but if that's what you've got, roll with it)

Ingredients
  

To make the stir-fry sauce

  • 1 1/2 c - 375 ml Thai seasoning sauce or Maggi, see blogpost above
  • 1 c - 250 ml oyster sauce try and find a vegan brand if you can
  • 1 1/2 T - 20 g sugar

To make the prik nam pla

  • 1 c - 250 ml light soy sauce fish sauce if you're not vegan or vegetarian
  • 1/4 c - 60 ml lime juice you'll need around 6 limes for this
  • 6-8 bird's eye chilies thinly sliced
  • 3 T - 45 g garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 T - 20 g sugar

For the oyster mushroom Thai fried rice

  • 3 T - 45 ml sunflower oil
  • 1/4 onion yellow preferred, thinly sliced
  • 1 c - 150 g oyster mushrooms roughly torn
  • 1 egg sternly whisked and set aside in a bowl
  • 3 c - 500 g rice cooked or steamed, day old preferred - fresh tends to be too wet
  • 2 t - 10 g sugar
  • 2 1/2 T - 40 ml stir-fry sauce see above
  • 2 spring onions cut into 2" pieces
  • pinch ground white pepper

Instructions
 

Make the stir-fry sauce

  • Mix 1 1/2 c - 375 ml Thai seasoning sauce with 1 c - 250 ml oyster sauce and 1 1/2 T - 20 g sugar. You'll have plenty left-over but this stuff literally keeps forever.

Make the prik nam pla

  • Mix 1 c - 250 ml light soy sauce (or fish sauce) with 1/4 c - 60 ml lime juice, 6-8 thinly sliced bird's eye chilies, 3T - 45 g finely chopped garlic and 1 1/2 T - 20 g of sugar. Prik nam pla keeps well in the fridge for about a month and is great with pretty much anything.

Make the oyster mushroom Thai fried rice

  • Because we're stir-frying it's essential that you prep all your ingredients as mentioned in the ingredient list and set them by the stove before you start.
  • Now heat the wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke before swirling in 3 T - 45 ml of sunflower oil. Once the oil has started to shimmer add 1/4 thinly sliced onion and stiry-fry until it's softened and has become translucent.
  • Add 1 c - 150 g roughly torn oyster mushroom and stir until softened and starting to color.
  • Add 3 c - 600 g of pre-cooked rice. 2 t - 10 g of sugar, 2 1/2 T - 40 ml of stir-fry sauce and work the rice around the wok to distribute the rice evenly and ensure the sauce is evenly spread across the entire dish.
  • Spread the rice out in an even layer and pour over the whisked egg. Let the egg soak through the rice before scooping it over until the rice is dry and has started to brown.
  • Remove from the heat and toss in 2 spring onions cut into 2" pieces and sprinkling with a pinch of white pepper. Stir a final few times and serve with prik nam pla.

Notes

Note, Kris adds the egg to the chicken and onion, fries them briefly together before adding the rice. I am using my grandmother's method of pouring the egg over the rice. 
The rice will keep for a few days in the fridge, reheat it in a hot wok and serve with prik nam pla. 
Keyword Asian food, fried rice, rice, thai food

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor Thaise gebakken rijst met oesterzwammen.

Speculaas spiced stollen French Toast

This is barely a recipe. I could write an entire treatise about how stollen in the Netherlands is called Easter or Christmas stollen depending on the time of year. And how in recent years racists get upset that it is now often just called festive stollen but whatever.

Turnover bitches

I think the most pertinent and useful information however is that in Dutch French toast are called wentelteefjes. Which literally translates as small turnover bitches. Enjoy that information while you munch down on these.

An overhead shot of a blue backdrop, there are two white plates with a blue trim, both have stollen French toast and a mixture of red fruits on top. There is a bowl of more red fruit and two sets of knives and forks with the plates. There are two yellow towels with croissant prints flanking the plates at the top and bottom and some more red fruits scattered around the bottom plate.

Stollen French toast

Dorothy Porker
Crispy sweet spicy French toast made with stollen.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine Dutch, French, German
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Oven dish
  • Whisk or fork
  • Frying pan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c - 250 ml milk
  • 1 t - 5 g speculaas spices see below
  • pinch salt
  • 1 T - 15 g sugar brown or demerara preferred + extra for frying
  • 2 T - 30 ml oil butter works too
  • 4 slices stollen other breads work too tbh
  • 2 c - 300 g red fruit or whatever works for you, optional to serve
  • poedersuiker optional, for serving

Speculaas spice mix from Rutger Bakt (linked in the notes)

  • 8 t - 33 g ground cinnamon
  • 2 t - 8 g ground cloves
  • 2 t - 8 g ground nutmeg
  • 1 t - 4 g ground coriander
  • 1 t - 4 g ground aniseed
  • 1 t - 4 g ground ginger
  • 3/4 t - 3 g ground cardamom

Instructions
 

To make your own speculaas spice mix

  • Mix all the ground spices together. Any leftovers can be saved to add to bakes and maybe even hot chocolate.

Make the stollen French toast

  • In an oven dish mix 2 eggs with 1 c - 250 ml of milk, 1 t - 5 g of speculaas spices, 1 T - 15 g of sugar and a pinch of salt until fully incorporated. This usually takes 2 minutes or so of intensive whisking.
  • Soak the slices of stollen in the egg spice mixture, turning them over at least once and heat 1 T - 15 ml of oil or butter in a frying pan
  • Fry the French toast until golden and crisp. I find the best way to get some nice caramelized edges on them is sprinkling some additional sugar over them in the pan and turning them over at least twice so you get that extra sugar going on both sides.
  • Serve with red fruit and powdered sugar or whatever tickles your fancy.

Notes

The speculaas mix in this recipe is courtesy of Rutger Bakt
French toast does not keep. 
Keyword breakfast, christmas, easter, french toast, speculaas, stollen

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor wentelteefjes van feest, paas, kerst stol

Fennel Tarte Tatin with Feta

I don’t have that much to say about this recipe. It’s basically a play on this caramelized fennel recipe, but with a nice flakey crust. What’s not to love?

A word on dough

I tried two different doughs for this recipe. One from Nigel Slater‘s Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter (order in the US or UK) which he uses for a shallot, apple and parm tarte and one from a new Dutch vegan baking book Taart ende Koeck by Maartje Borst. Because I tried two different doughs I also made one by hand and one using my food processor.

If you can: definitely make the dough by hand. It can feel like a bit of a slog but the dough comes out much more flakey, the machine cuts everything down far too uniform to get a nice texture in my opinion. I’ve included both dough recipes (with some adjustments to Nigel’s) so you have a vegan and a non-vegan option. Obviously to make this vegan use vegan feta and vegan butter.

Other variations

Obviously you can make this with whatever veg-cheese (or veg-veg) combination you like. I’m thinking carrots or (and?) beets with goats or blue cheese, shallots and onions, bell pepper, etc. etc. etc. Because the vegetables don’t cook on top of the dough you can probably even get away with something a little wetter, like tomatoes, for example.

Fennel tart tatin placed on a white and orange pie dish, with some feta and fennel fronds scattered on top and to the front, on an orange backdrop.

Fennel Tarte Tatin

Dorothy Porker
Two different pie crusts to make one delicious fennel tarte tatin with feta.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main course
Cuisine French, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Large bowl or food processor (see notes)
  • Oven
  • Cast iron skillet or other oven proof frying pan ⌀ 26 cm - 10"
  • Parchment (optional)
  • Rolling pin or wine bottle

Ingredients
  

For Maartje Borst's vegan tatin crust

  • 2 c - 250 g flour
  • 1 t - 5 g salt
  • 1/2 c - 125 g vegan butter cold and cut into cubes
  • 3-4 T - 45-60ml water cold

For Nigel Slater's vegetarian tatin crust

  • 2 c - 250 g flour
  • 1 t - 5 g salt
  • 1 c - 125 g butter cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 egg yolks freeze the whites and use within 3 months
  • 2 t - 10 g fennel seeds roasted and crushed
  • 4 T - 60 g feta or parmesan finely crumbled or grated

For the fennel tarte tatin

  • 2 T - 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 T - 15 g sugar
  • 1 large bulb fennel thinly sliced, you can set the fronds aside to serve (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 T - 7.5 g fennel seeds
  • 1/2 c - 75 g feta roughly crumbled

Instructions
 

Make the dough

  • Place 2 c - 250 g flour in a large bowl and mix in 1 t - 5 g of salt.
  • Add 1/2 c - 125 g of butter and pinch and rub the butter into the flour, but avoid kneading proper. You want to be left with a kind of sandy consistency.

To make Maartje's tatin crust

  • Add 3-4 T - 45-60 ml of cold water and mix by hand until the dough starts coming together. Again, avoid kneading because this will make the dough chewy rather than crumbly. Just keep pushing the dough together until it forms a ball.

To make Nigel's tatin crust

  • Add 1 egg yolk, 2 t - 10 g of fennel seeds and 4 T - 60 g of finely crumbled or grated feta or parmesan and mix by hand until the dough starts coming together. Avoid kneading because this will make the dough chewy rather than crumbly. Keep pushing the dough together until it forms a ball.

Make the fennel tarte tatin

  • Whichever dough you've made, wrap or cover the ball and leave to set in the fridge.
  • Preheat your oven to 200° C - 390° F.
  • Heat 2 T - 15 ml of olive oil in a skillet. Divide 1 T - 15 g of sugar across the bottom of the pan before placing the slices of fennel into the pan in a single layer (or as single as you can get it). Add a pinch of salt and pepper and leave to caramelize on a medium-low heat for at least 10 minutes, until the fennel has colored a nice golden brown.
  • Now turn the fennel over, again in as single of a layer as you can get, toss over 1/2 T - 7.5 g of fennel seeds and season with additional pepper and leave to brown for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the fennel in the skillet.
  • Depending on the weather you can now sprinkle the fennel with 1/2 c - 75 g of feta (if it's cold) or sprinkle over the feta right before serving (if it's warm).
  • Take your dough from the fridge and roll it out in an even layer in roughly the same diameter as your frying pan. To make it easier to place the dough onto the fennel in a second, it's best to do this on some parchment. The dough will break in areas but you can just stick it back together, it's fine.
  • Say a quick prayer and flip, toss or manoeuvre (I love a manoeuvre) the dough onto your fennel. Pat it down a little to make sure the dough adheres to the fennel and tuck in and cut off any excess edges before baking your tatin in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. The dough will stay pale but be cooked through, I promise.
  • Turn out the tatin by placing a large plate or board over your skillet and flipping the whole thing over (ask for assistance with this if you have someone around and are a bit of a klutz) and top with the 1/2 c - 75 g of feta if you haven't already used this. Sprinkle over the fennel fronds to make it pretty (or don't) and serve with a simple green lightly dressed salad.

Notes

You can make these doughs with a food processor but the result won't be as nice and flakey as making it by hand. Still: we make due with what we can.
Once prepared this fennel tarte tatin will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat for 15 minutes or so in a hot oven. 
Keyword fennel, feta, maartje borst, Nigel Slater, savory tart, savoury tart, tarte tatin

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar VetteSletten.nl voor venkel tarte tatin.

31 of My Favorite Asian Cookbooks

Affiliate banner explaining there is an affiliate link for Bookshop.org, an online bookshop with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores, in this article.
Let me start off by saying I do not like the term ‘Asian’ the way it’s often used. While sometimes it is useful to specify a region, usually when people say Asian they’re talking about a small spart of Asia, or even just one country. I believe specificity matters and trying to talk about a continent that starts to the east of the Bosporus and stretches halfway across the globe to the Maluku islands as if it’s one place with one culture and one people isn’t very helpful.

India, China and Indonesia each could be considered continents with vastly different cultures and cuisines contained within their borders. Never mind what the diasporas have been cooking up.

That said even if this post is a lot of work, this is less work than milking this topic out into nine different posts (though I just might, for the fuck of it).

31 books? Are you sure?

I’ve read all of my ‘Asian’ cookbooks front to back. Some didn’t make the cut. I was left with 31 cookbooks I need to recommend because I want to give you a scope of styles to choose from. To save myself from my own ambitions I’ll try and stick to 1-3 sentences per book max.

I prefer cookbooks with a bit of backbone. Books that either give you a history lesson on a specific culture or a personal history of the author and why they cook the way they do. I also prefer easy recipes over anything too fussy. So that’s largely what you’ll find here.

I have linked to the publishers and/ or personal pages of the authors where possible, if you do buy one of these books consider buying them from an independent bookstore as they could really use our support and can probably recommend you some other wonderful cookbooks while you’re there.

Which Asian regions am I covering?

I was considering organizing this post along the lines of local (i.e. of and living in the country itself), x generation immigrant (2nd myself, hi), whites, etc. But that seemed needlessly complex and hard for you to scan. As conversations around authenticity evolve, who I am to decide what’s legit and who’s put in the work? Though I find you can usually tell if someone hasn’t and is more exploitative above anything else.

I can imagine you have a preference for specific cuisines, so here’s how I’ve organized them, so you can scroll down to the kitchen you’re interested in:

Let’s begin.

My favorite Indonesian and Dutch-Indonesian cookbooks

My grandmother sold snacks on the streets of Jakarta during World War 2, ran a kitchen on New Guinea and sold snacks out of her home in Brabant. Needless to say I grew up with a lot of Indonesian food, which hails influences from the Middle East, Portugal, the Chinese and the Dutch. Despite not cooking a lot of Indonesian food myself, and not having a true need for Indonesian cookbooks, I have mad love for many as a way of connecting with my history and other people with my background.

I’m including a lot of books in Dutch here because there are a lot of Dutch-Indonesian cookbooks and I think it’s a shame some of them haven’t been translated for a bigger audience.

Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian KitchenLara Lee
I love this book because Lara worked with my favorite photography team and because it’s about goddamned time Indonesian food got the international attention it deserves. It’s a great introduction to Indonesian food. For Coconut & Sambal Lara consulted Sri Owen, the grand dame of Indonesian cuisine, who I don’t own any books of yet, but if you can get your hands on one of her books: go for it. Order in the UK or US.

Rijsttafelen – Lia Warani
While most Dutch-Indonesians grew up with Beb Vuyk (more on her later) I grew up with my grandma and Lia respectively. It was originally published in the 70s, so it’s obviously a little dated, but I couldn’t engage in bouts of nostalgia without it. You can find it in Dutch for around €7.50 in thrift shops and the like. My recipe for perkedel kol bunga hails from Rijsttafelen.

Groot Indonesisch Kookboek – Beb Vuyk
Bij and large the most famous Dutch-Indonesian cookbook. I had not read it before so when I finally got round to it while preparing this post I was amazed by the breadth and scope of the recipes. There’s a few perkedel and an egg rendang in particular that have peaked my interest. It’s been re-released here many times over, if you’re looking for a classic, Beb’s your woman.

De Bijbel van de Indonesische KeukenMaureen Tan
Maureen Tan’s book came out last year and is a real triumph. Recipes are organized by region, with short introductions explaining the history and locality of each dish, to the point of including regional batiks with each chapter. If there is one book that deserves a translation in my opinion this is the one.

Indorock and IndostokVanja van der Leeden 
Vanja shook the Dutch perception of Indonesian food to its core in 2019 with the release of Indorock, which she followed up with Indostok (a book on sate) last year. You can read why and how Vanja decolonized the concept of Indonesian food in the Netherlands here.

My favorite Korean cookbooks

Koreatown: A CookbookDeuki Hong and Matt Rodbard
A combination of recipes and stories from Koreatowns all over the States. The recipes are all solid but the different experienced shared by Korean-Americans are what make this book extra special to me. I live for the Korean fried chicken recipe from Koreatown in particular. Order in the UK or US.

K Food: Korean home cooking and Street food – Da-Hae and Gareth West
This book is rich with Da-Hae’s personal history, from growing up in Korea, to moving to the UK and taking Gareth back with her to visit, a healthy mix of ‘authentic’ and new-fangled takes on Korean food and a little background with all the recipes. Order in the UK though it appears to have a different title there now.

L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My FoodRoy Choi
Roy Choi is one of my heroes because he is so invested in his city and its people. Choi is one of the (if not the) chefs who introduced the world to foodtrucks as we know them now and also the man who put the Mexican-Korean food of LA on the map, so this isn’t a strictly Korean cookbook. It’s also not just a cookbook but also an autobiography of Choi. His food is the best, his life story is goes deep and he’s really something else when it comes to social justice. If you’d like to get to know him a little better you can start by watching The Chef Show on Netflix. Order in the US.

My favorite Japanse cookbooks

Tokyo Cult RecipesMaori Murota 
I won this book a fair few years ago now and it’s never fails me. From kara age (Japanese fried chicken) to the inspiration for taka no kara age-inspired loaded fries. If you’re looking for accessible ‘home-style’ Japanese recipes get this book. Order in the UK or US.

The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater and Lifelong OutsiderIvan Orkin and Chris Ying
I love this book because it offers an unapologetic outside-in perspective on Japanese food. Ivan is famous for opening a ramen shop in Tokyo, which everyone thought was a bit like okay bruv, to huge success. He’s invested in Japanese culture and cuisine without every forgetting his place within the whole. All the recipes are delicious but can seem a little cheffy if you’re a lazy homecook like me. Order in the UK or US.

Vegan Japaneasy: Over 80 Delicious Plant-Based Japanese RecipesTim Anderson
Tim Anderson is another chef who is very clear about his outside-in perspective on Japanese food and culture. This book works well because Tim has a clear perspective on how far people are willing to go for a decent homecooked meal. He’ll give you the extra step to make it really good, but will also tell you what you can skip (and remind you that that’s okay too so in the process). In my opinion this is key to making a useable cookbook. I’ve had this for about a week now and I’ve cooked at least three recipes from it. That’s rare and that’s why you need to get this book. Order in the UK or US.

My favorite Thai cookbooks

Night+Market: Delicious Thai food to facilitate drinking and fun-having amongst friendsKris Yenbamroong
Kris Yenbamroong’s Night+Market is such a well written and joyful read. Kris celebrates his grandmother and parents, who launched the first Thai fine dining restaurant in LA, and highlights the regional character of Thai cuisine where usually Thai food is presented as one block. On top of that he tells you how they chef it up in the restaurant kitchen but why (and how) you don’t really need to go there at home. And then there’s wine pairings too. Order in the UK or US.

Rosa’s Thai Cafe: The Vegetarian CookbookSaiphin Moore 
There are quite a number of reasons to love this book. The photography by Louise Hagger and styling by Alexander Breeze is stellar, for one. The recipes are mostly vegan and extremely diverse in scope. But above all, Saiphin Moore has embellished each recipes in Rosa’s Thai Café: The Vegetarian Cookbook with her rich personal history of eating experiences, recipe sources and more. This book gives you a real feel for all the regional Thai cuisines and Saiphin’s past growing up and living in various parts of Asia and now the UK. Order in the UK.

My favorite Chinese cookbooks

How to cook and eat in Chinese – Buwei Yang Chao
This is a book from the 1950s that I found thrift shopping. If you can get your hands on it it offers an extremely interesting insight into Chinese(-American) cooking abroad in the 50s. Buwei Yang Chao explanation of Chinese eating and cooking traditions and how to integrate American expectations of food is particularly interesting and a lot of the recipes have remained extremely useable for every day cooking now.

Eat BitterLydia Pang 
While this is more a zine than a cookbook, I had to include it. It features work from my favorite photography and styling team but more importantly it offers a brief but deeply poetic dive into Lydia Pang’s Hakka roots through food. It was sold at a limited run to support Welcome to Chinatown but I really hope Lydia gets to (and wants to) do a full book at some point because Eat Bitter is truly visionary.

The Nom Wah Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from 100 Years of New York city’s Iconic Dim Sum RestaurantWilson Tang with Joshua David Stein
Nom Wah is a legendary dim sum restaurant in New York. In The Nom Wah Cookbook Wilson Tang paints a history of the restaurants and its surrounding areas, from the 1920’s to it’s most current (pre-Covid) iteration through the stories of the people from Chinatown in New York as well as demystified dim sum recipes. The bright and bold photography by Alex Lau is icing on this very rich cake. Order in the US.

Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China, from New York’s Favorite Noodle ShopJason Wang with Jessica K. Chou
Xi’an Famous Foods is another, albeit younger, New York legend. This book features stellar photography by Jenny Huang and explores the more personal history of Jason Wang and his father as they try to make it in America. It gives you a look inside the experiences of more recent Chinese immigrants and how the Wang’s have found success providing a taste of home in New York. Order in the UK or US.

The Food of Sichuan Fuchsia Dunlop
Originally released in the early 2000’s, this revised edition of The Food of Sichuan shows why Fuchsia has been such a powerhouse in the promotion of Sichuan cuisine over the past two decades. This book offers a true deep dive. While I normally read cookbooks back-to-front I have to admit I didn’t for this one because Fuchsia takes the time to explain the history and traditions for all of the dishes in this book. The introduction alone is worth its weight in gold and I doubt you will ever be done cooking and learning from this book. Order in the UK or US.

My Favorite Indian Cookbooks

Indian CookeryMadhur Jaffrey
First published in 1982, with an accompanying TV show on the BBC, Indian Cookery is a true classic. Because some ingredients have become more readily available in the UK and here, a lot of the recipes are still extremely useable today. If you’re looking for something more recent from Madhur try Instantly Indian, her Instant Pot book.

India: The CookbookPushpesh Pant
Pushpesh Pant is an Indian food critic, historian and academic who has spent decades researching and collecting Indian recipes. India: The Cookbook weighs 1.5 kg’s, boasting a thousand recipes and is the only other book alongside The Food of Sichuan that I did not read back-to-front because there are just so many recipes. All most all of them with background information. The kothmiratil macchi (coriander fried fish) are a particular favorite of mine. Be prepared to feel slightly overwhelmed. Pick an ingredient, look it up in the index and pick a recipe, is probably the best way to go. Order in the UK or US.

Indian(-ish): Recipes and antics from a modern American familyPriya Krishna
This book is basically an ode to Priya’s mom, who had to invent a life, a career and a way to cook when Priya’s parents first moved to the US. It’s as inventive as you’d expect, mixing flavors from all around the world as travel became an integral part of Ritu’s (that’s her name) life. In turn, reading this I realized Ritu’s cooking has been a part of my life for ages, as she is also frequently referenced as the source of recipes in Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables! If you’re looking for non-fussy flavor-heavy food with hints of India (among others) this is the book for you. Order Indian(ish) in the UK or US.

Burmese, Vietnamese and Malaysian

A lot of regions deserve more books. These are just a few of them.

Mandalay: Recipes & Tales from a Burmese KitchenMiMi Aye
MiMi has written a (for me at least) very relatable personal history on growing up in a diaspora, with all different foods at home from whatever the norm is in the country where you live, hunting down ingredients and travelling ‘back’ (something that wasn’t part of my upbringing) that that entails. Burmese food sounds vaguely familiair to someone with Indonesian roots, which is to say: Burmese food sounds an awful lot like comfort food to me. Please be sure to follow MiMi, who runs a wonderful podcast, talking with various food peeps (the Nigella episode is wonderful) and shares a lot of information on what’s going on in Myanmar right now. Order in the UK.

Ăn Ăn: Vietnamese familiereceptenMai Nguyễn
As luck would have it when I was looking for a Vietnamese cookbook Mai released Ăn Ăn. The book offers a beautiful personal history from Vietnam to the Netherlands, alongside many easy recipes that you can recreate at home with relative ease. As luck would have it I live only a brisk walk away from Mai, so I haven’t cooked a lot from this as I can just order take-out from her on Thursdays and Fridays.

Amazing Malaysian: Recipes for Vibrant Malaysian HomecookingNorman Musa 
I’m always curious why Malaysians and Indonesians seem to avoid mentioning one another when the overlap between our cuisines is clearly pretty big, though maybe there’s your answer. Either way, Norman offers a great look into the Malaysian kitchen and all the outside influences that have touched it, while keeping recipes nice and simple for actual home cooking. Order in the UK or US.

My favorite ‘Asian’ cookbooks

I own two cookbooks that I really like that cover a wider range of Asia, here they are:

Jackfruit & Blue Ginger: Asian favorites, made veganSasha Gill
If you’re looking for a broader vegan Asian tome, Sashi Gill is your woman. In Jackfruit & Blue Ginger: Asian Favorites Made Vegan Sasha shares well-beloved classic Asian dishes from India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, China and Japan, made vegan, as well as some basic techniques to veganize recipes of your own accord. Order in the UK or US (though it appears to have been released there under a different name).

Hot Pot: De lekkerste hotpots uit China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea en VietnamBas Robben
Bas Robben is a prolific Dutch cookbook author who has written books about acid and fat (separately, before it was cool) and sous-vide before and has now tackled hot pot, after being introduced to many variaties of hot pot during his visits to Taiwan, where his fiancee is from, among other places. The book is beautifully photographed and styled and Bas takes great care in sharing his personal affinities and encounters with hot pot as well as the way hot pot is enjoyed and prepared in the various regions this book cover. Hot pot is a social event and Bas hasn’t shied away from naming Covid and explaining that maybe now is not the best time for a proper grande ol’ hot pot get together and how you can enjoy it in a Covid-safe fashion, which I really appreciate as a lot of books seem to skirt around this issue.

My favorite ‘proudly inauthentic’ cookbooks

There are a few cookbooks I absolutely adore that take inspiration from such a wide range of cuisines, as I tend to do. So if you’re really into what used be to referred to as ‘fusion’, though this is a more informed version of its original iteration, these are the books for you.

Season: Big flavors, beautiful foodNik Sharma
Nik Sharma is an Indian home-cook now living in the States, the reasons for which will become clear if you read his book. After working as a scientist for a few years, he decided to follow his passion and focus on food. He developed a very unique and beautiful style of photography as well as a very unique and informed style of cooking as well, something that reaches a new pineacle in his second book The Flavor Equation. Because Nik explains why he mixes certain flavors and techniques Nik’s books are perfect for people who want to understand the why of cooking. Order Season in the UK or US.

Jikoni: Proudly inauthentic recipes from an immigrant kitchenRavinder Bhogal 
Ravinder was born to Indian parents in Kenya before moving to London as a child so you can imagine the amazing flavors she is able to bring together in this book. If you’re up for a revolution in your mouth, with beautiful, soft, glowing photography, this is the book for you. Order in the UK or US.

Soul Food: Eigentijdse recepten voor verslavend lekkere klassiekersDe Vrouw met de Baard
De vrouw met de Baard (the bearded lady) is a restaurant/ catering company (now take-away and pop-up) in Amsterdam, run by Dutch-Indonesian lady and a Moluccan guy with a beard. Together they concoct exciting flavors, taking influences from both their heritage and their travels. They’ve invested a lot of time maximizing flavors and tweaking iterations of a variety of classic dishes while inventing new ones. This book had me drooling cover to cover.

The Art of Escapism Cooking: A survival story, with intensely good flavorsMandy Lee
If you’ve been following me for a while you know I love Mandy, who has been the source and inspiration for many a dish on this website, the way her mind works and the way she puts flavors together is just mindblowing. I don’t think there’s anyone who goes through a more grueling process of recipe development, perfecting flavors and techniques to a t. So while a lot of these recipes may seem involved, there is an entire chapter of recipes Mandy eats when she’s by herself and those are all quick and easy. Order in the UK or US.

The end

So that’s it. My favorite 31 Asian cookbooks all in a row. Recommendations are of course welcome in the comments and I will be keeping a more up-to-date list on my Bookshop.org shops (yes there’s two, one for the UK and one for the US).

Zoek je de Nederlandse versie van deze post? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor mijn 31 favoriete Aziatische kookboeken.

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