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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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My Favorite Veg-Based Cookbooks

With Veganuary coming to a close and my covert announcement in Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter on recipe writing and ingredient sourcing on the kinds of recipes I will be sharing here, I thought now was as good a time as any to walk you through some of my favorite vegan and vegetarian cookbooks.

To be clear, I’m not vegan or vegetarian because limiting my eating options causes problems for me, but I do eat a mostly vegan and vegetarian diet and try to shop as animal, human and planet friendly as possible.

I promise these 13 vegan and vegetarian cookbooks will keep you as inspired as I am about centering vegetables on your plate.

Vegetable Kingdom – Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is a star in his own right in (vegan) cooking and after reading Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes, I can see why. I can’t recall a best of 2020 cookbook list without it, so I had to have it.

With Bryant’s classical training at first glance this book can come across as a bit ‘cheffy’. Once you realise virtually each recipe is a menu in and of itself, and that you can take each individual component to make your own combinations or just cook one of them at a time, it all becomes a lot less intimidating so all you’re left with is inspiration.

I’ve already made the fantastic charred leak and mushroom toast with a pinenut puree from Vegetable Kingdom but the taro root cakes and cornmeal-fried oyster mushroom po’boy are also high on my hitlist along with all the other purees mentioned in the book. Or Vegetable Kingdom here if you’re in the US, or here if you’re in the UK.

Rosa’s Thai Café: The Vegetarian Cookbook – Siaphin Moore

My brother took me to Rosa’s Thai Café in London’s East End (our old haunt) years ago and I distinctly recall it blowing my mind. Before I’d only had heavy Thai ‘curries’ but Rosa’s showed how bright and refreshing Thai cooking can be. So when I spotted this book and saw one of my favorite photography and styling teams had worked on it I had to get it.

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.

All the recipes, including this gaeng penang tua lima (vegan butterbean panang) are surprisingly easy to make, which is just icing on the cake to me. Order Rosa’s Thai Café: The Vegetarian here if you are in the UK.

Jackfruit & Blue Ginger – Sasha 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.

Chapters are organised by region, which makes it easy to find something to suit your mood or come up with a cohesive vegan menu for a dinner party.

One thing in particular that I love about this book is that it also contains sweets or ‘desserts’ from each region (most Asian cuisines don’t work with desserts, but have sweets throughout the day instead). The vegan Hong Kong ‘egg’ tarts made with silken tofu in particular are amazing and a recipe I’ve made and fed to others again and again, it also formed the foundation for my vegan dark and stormy crème brûlee. Order Jackfruit & Blue Ginger here if you’re in the UK or here if you are in the US (it appeared under another title).

Greenfeast – Nigel Slater

As a voracious reader I prefer reading that challenges and discomforts me. But there are times when something more soothing is required. As a young one I found this comfort in Kurt Vonnegut, because he seemed as miffed by the ways of the world as I was (and still am).

Now that I’m older I cannot think of a single more soothing voice than Nigel Slater‘s. One of my favorite recipes of his is called an earthy meal in a bowl type soup, a title that describes his writing to a tee. When you read Nigel you know you are going to be alright.

Greenfeast comes in two parts: Spring, Summer and Autumn, Winter. These books will help you cook with the seasons and as Nigel states, are intended more to inspire than to be very exacting with. They are my go to when I’ve bought a vegetable but no longer know what to do with it. I just pull them out and browse, good things surely coming my way. Greenfeast is a bit cream and cheese heavy and very classical European in scope, which makes it a great place to start for anyone only just venturing into more veg-based eating straight from plates full of meat.

Order Spring, Summer here if you are in the US and here if you are in the UK. Order Autumn, Winter here if you are in the US or here if you are in the UK.

Vegan with Bite – Shannon Martinez

I got to know Shannon over some late night/ early morning transnational DMing (don’t be gross) and knew I had to get one of her books immediately. Lucky for me Vegan with Bite had just come out.

Shannon isn’t vegan but her restaurant is vegan and so are the recipes she shares because *gesticulates at planet*.

My favorite thing about this book is that ingredients aren’t prefaced with ‘vegan’ (vegan butter, vegan milk, etc). It’s a vegan cookbook so when Shannon says butter she obviously means vegan butter and when she says milk she obviously means non-dairy milk. That’s just a level of duh I’m really into. She also gives you some very useful pointers as to what to look out for when buying ready-made products because so many products that sound like they may have meat in them no longer do (chicken stock cubes, for one, rarely contain chicken – at least in Australia).

One of the chapters is called Minimum Effort, Maximum Results and another has the byline Zero Waste, Maximum Taste and these are pretty much the rules I cook by so you can see why I have to recommend it. Order here in the US or here in the UK.

Joe Yonan – Cool Beans

I bought one of Joe Yonan‘s other books years ago, when he still included meat. He’s since committed to sharing meat free recipes only.

With Cool Beans, the title kind of speaks for itself. It made me realise beans are a great staple that I could be eating more of without it being a sad ‘tin of beans’ sort of affair. Cool Beans includes a whole bunch of classics (paella! hummus!) from the world over as well as some of Yonan’s own concoctions all with a bean-centric focus. He even includes some tips on how to avoid the notorious musical side effects of beans: farts. Apparently it helps if you cook them well, and this is just the book that’ll help you do it. Order here in the US or here in the UK.

Lagusta Yearwood – Sweet+Salty

I got Salty+Sweet: The Art of Vegan Chocolates, Truffles, Caramels and More by Lagusta Yearwood because Alicia Kennedy recommended it. In it, her famous Lagusta’s Luscious truffles and caramels feature prominently. If you’re good at coming up with funky flavors and adjusting recipes to your own needs (it me) this may feel a bit one-note when you first start reading it. I can come up with funky truffles perfectly fine on my own, thank you very much.

That said, Lagusta gives such great and in-depth information in the perils of shopping and producing ethically (sugar and cacao are a nightmare) and things get a little bit more exciting (for me at least) on the caramel end of things, which is why I’ve decided to include this here. I was talking about uncomfortable reading earlier: this book will make you uncomfortable. But then you get to make better decisions and make vegan chocolate truffles in exciting flavors (or come up with your own, I’ve got kimchi truffles on my mind for one), so it’s all good. Order at Bookshop.org in the US or in the UK.

Vegan Soul Food – Jason Tjon Affo

This is an honorable mention because Vegan Soul Food by Jason Tjon Affo isn’t actually available in English (yet). But it’s a beautiful vegan cookbook full of colorful photography ánd food, mostly inspired by Jason’s Surinamese roots. Which makes this an incredibly diverse cookbook, because Suriname contains multitudes.

My recipe for vegan kue lapis flavored monkey bread was based on Jason’s vegan monkey bread recipe from Vegan Soul Food, so there you go.

Nosh – Esther Erwteman

Nosh: Mijn Vegetarische Joodse Keuken (My Vegetarian Jewish Kitchen) is a lovely and beautiful book by Esther Erwteman who runs Amsterdam-based deli, cooking school and eatery (the former two when there’s no Covid going around) Esther’s Cookery. This is another honorable mention because it’s only available in Dutch right now.

In Nosh Esther interweaves her personal history with her Jewish faith, explaining why certain dishes are prepared and eaten at certain times as well as explaining how certain less obvious choices made it into her repertoire. If you live in Amsterdam be sure to help yourself and help Esther by visiting her shop and getting some good nosh, or if you’re not be sure to order some of her prime goodies in Esther’s Cookery webshop. I’ve gotten a really nice aubergine grill and some lovely harissa’s from her and she also offers workshops online.

Zaitoun – Yasmin Khan

Another honorable mention because strictly speaking Yasmin Khan‘s Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen is neither vegan nor vegetarian. That said, only 13 recipes in this book contain meat. These recipes can easily ignored in favor of all the veg based dishes in this book. The unique insights Zaitoun offers into the Palestinian kitchen and reality are another element of this book that cannot be ignored which is why I had to include it.

I’ve made the falafel and fennel pickle from this book. Both were simple and delicious, so if you’re into Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors with a bit of back story this book is for you. Order in the US or in the UK.

Ed Smith – On The Side

I found On The Side in the discount isle at the American Book Center in The Hague. Intrigued by a book consisting of just sides, I bought it. This book has been my most trustworthy companion ever since. I don’t know why there aren’t more books on sides, though this might be the only one you’ll ever need.

Every recipe includes tips on what to combine them with or how to combine them with other recipes from the book to make a full meal. Furthermore there are not one but three (THREE!) indexes. You can browse based on your main protein, based on what veg you want to use or based on how much time you have. As such it served for the inspiration of the way I’ve set up my chapters and the additional vegan and vegetarian index for my book Nomnomnom.

I previously shared a peppercorn and lime rice recipe from On The Side. Order On the Side at Bookshop.org in the UK.

Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables

Sadly as it turns out Lucky Peach was not a happy place. And now as I read some of the older copies, I can tell it was all a lot more bro dudey than I can stomach (I’ll confess I was more bro dudey when I first read them too). Still, when I got my hands on my first Lucky Peach I fell in love hard because up until that point I didn’t know food writing like this existed.

Fast forward whatever years later and all I’m missing is #1. While the issues of the magazine are hard to get a hold of, most of the books are easy to find and out of all of them I think Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables might give you the most bang for your buck. The photography is amazing and the recipes are all accessible and easy to follow, with LOADS of flavor. Vegan too.

In general I find vegetarian cookbooks lean a little too heavily on cheese (and I love cheese, just not for every meal) while vegan cookbooks are just diet books in disguise. Power Veg is just a good old cookbook that leaves you feeling hungry and ready to wield some veg.

You can find some recipes from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables here.

That’s my roundup for vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, I hope the scope is wide enough to have something in the list for you. Be sure to order from your local bookstore!

Zoek je deze kookboekentips in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor 13 van mijn favoriete vegan- en vegakookboeken.

7 Of My Favorite Cookbooks

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I am a bit of a cookbook hoarder. So inspired by Meike I thought I’d try something a little different and post a list of some of my favorite cookbooks.

It’s impossible for me to list all my favorites, so let’s leave it at a my top 7 right now. I plan to post lists of favorites by genre and topic in future as well.

Nigel Slater – Appetite

Appetite was the first cookbook I bought for myself.

There are a few reasons I love this book. Not only does Nigel tell you to keep some Smarties in your larder, because everybody loves Smarties, but he focuses on sensory ques in cooking. The feel of food, the smell, how something is supposed to look before the next step. This is a far more useful way to describe cooking than timings, because there are so many variables involved (I’ve caved to the pressure of rough timings alongside sensory cues for my recipes). His writing is comforting and make any recipe seem doable, which is why I own most of his books, this being the most stain-covered one.

Appetite also offers 3 to 5 variations on each recipe in the book. These variations help you understand how recipes work and which flavors and textures go together. This is what has made Appetite foundational for my cooking. I rarely cook from it now, but the way I approach cooking and recipe writing all start here.

You can find all of my Nigel Slater-inspired recipes here.

Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables

Unfortunately as it turns out Lucky Peach was not a happy place. And now as I read some of the older copies I own, I can tell it was all a lot more bro dudey than I recalled (or maybe I was more bro dudey when I first read them). Still, when I got my hands on my first copy there was nothing more exciting because up until that point I didn’t know food writing like this existed.

I have almost all the issues and all the books. While the issues are harder to get a hold of now, some of the books are quite easy to find and out of all of them I think Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables gives you the most bang for your buck. The photography is amazing and the recipes are all accessible and easy to follow, with LOADS of flavor. A lot of them are vegan rather than vegetarian. Something I still find lacking in a lot of other veggie oriented books that either lean heavily on cheese (and I love cheese, just not for every meal) or promote diet culture. Power Veg does none of this, but it does leave you feeling hungry and ready to use more veg.

You can find some recipes from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables here.

Ed Smith – On The Side

I found On The Side in the discount isle at the American Book Center in The Hague. Intrigued by a book consisting of just side dishes, I bought it on impulse. This book has been my steady compatriot ever since. I don’t know why there aren’t more books on side dishes, at the same time this might be the only one you’ll ever need.

Every recipe includes tips on what to combine them with and how to combine them with other recipes from the book to make a full vegetable forward meal. Not only that, there are not one but three (THREE!) indexes allowing you to browse recipes based on your main, based on what veg you want to use and based on time.

Any time I want to stop doing the same ol’ same ol’ with my veg or starches or have a vegetable leftover that I just don’t know what to do with anymore, I just plonk open this book and it’s got some good answers ready and waiting for me. I previously shared a peppercorn and lime rice recipe from On The Side here.

MiMi Aye – Mandalay

I’ll concede I haven’t cooked from Mandalay a lot yet, mainly because I’ve spent most of this year working on my own book, but the recipes I have cooked were stellar and have made me even more brazen with both my use of MSG and fish sauce.

The reason I love this book is because all the recipes sound amazing, comforting and vaguely familiair to someone with Indonesian roots. MiMi has written a (for me at least) very relatable personal history on growing up in a diaspora, with all the different foods at home from whatever is the norm in the country where you live, hunting down ingredients and travelling ‘back’ (something that wasn’t part of my upbringing) that that entails.

In that sense, it touched my soul. I’ve cooked two or three recipes from it so far and they were all surprisingly easy, earthy and more-ish. If you follow MiMi on social media sometimes she’ll sell batches of Mandalay with little drawings in them and if you’re a nerd like me they really are worth the wait. Mine has a drawing of an MSG-panda.

Vanja van der Leeden – Indorock

The Dutch interpretation of Indonesian food had been at a standstill for decades. Fed by nostalgia for our former home, or our grandparents’ homes (as in my case), what we were eating was a maybe 30’s to 40’s Dutch colonial interpretation of Indonesian food, with the kind of tweaks a diaspora makes when ingredients can’t be found.

Vanja traveled through Indonesia as it is now and brought back its current flavors, adding in some of her own ideas and preferences. In Indorock she highlights the many chefs, restaurants and people she met during her travels. Wat really finishes it off for me are seemingly small small but crucial touches like explaining the difference between ‘Indisch’ and Indonesian and using current Indonesian spelling for foods, rather than Dutch colonial spelling that is still in use here.

You can read more about Dutch colonial history and why people like Vanja and myself ended up here while you nosh on Vanja’s bubur ketan hitam recipe.

Unfortunately for now Indorock is only available in Dutch and German, it really deserves an English and Indonesian translation but if you are curious about Indonesian food, Lara Lee’s Coconut&Sambal is another amazing book, with photography and styling by my favorite team. With it’s US release it’s making all the best cookbooks coming out this fall-lists and rightly so.

Kris Yenbamroong – Night+Market

Another book I haven’t had much time to cook from yet, Kris Yenbamroong’s Night+Market is such a well written and joyful read. Kris not only celebrates his grandmother and parents, who launched the first Thai fine dining restaurant in LA, but also highlights the regional character of Thai cuisine where usually all Thai recipes are lumped together.

Combine this wonderful personal history, with a deep knowledge of cooking, the ability to translate this to useable and workable recipes for home cooks, wine parings, props to everyone who works alongside him or has shared recipes with him and I really think Kris has written a cookbook the way it ought to be. Just reading it alone leaves you happy, better informed and hungry to share a meal.

Margarita Carillo Arronte – Mexico The Cookbook

Though a bit clinical in nature I have an unhealthy obsessesion with the Phaidon country series, if I have to pick one however I think Mexico The Cookbook is the one to beat.

While with some of the others I drown in the multitude of recipes, this book (with it’s gorgeous cut out dust cover) is particularly well-structured which makes it a lot easier to find recipes you want to cook, or maybe I just really love Mexican food. Either way I cook from this all the time and a lot of the recipes have become staples for me. There’s a bean salad with mushrooms and cheese that’s really good and I’m really hoping to share the tres leches cake recipe from this in the near future.

That’s it. My top 7 favorite cookbooks minus all the others I love. What are your favorite cookbooks? Let me know in the comments!

Zoek je deze post in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar Vette Sletten.nl voor een top 7 van mijn favoriete kookboeken.

Lucky Peach’s Shroom Mapo Tofu

Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables comes in particularly handy during Veganuary, though a lot of the recipes are actually vegetarian.

A bookshelf filled with cookbooks and a copy of Power Vegetables shown in front.

Sichuan pepper love

One of my other favorite ingredients is Sichuan pepper. It’s just a floral spicy bundle of joy. This vegan rendition used shiitake mushrooms, which bring a lot of additional ooooooh-mami to the table. Sheer perfection if you’re into funky food.

Vegan check

Be sure to check the ingredients of the doubanjiang, black bean and chili crisp sauce. Sometimes these contain animal products.

What do I eat with vegan mushroom mapo tofu?

I like to have mine with plain white rice and some stir fried baby bok choy, broccoli or just same plain old cucumber.

Do more with vegan mushroom mapo tofu

You can keep leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days, in the freezer for a couple of months and wrap them in wonton skins to make some bangin’ ass gyozo.

I used the spice mix to come up with my own hot-tingle mapo hot sauce, get the recipe here.

A small white enamel bowl with a blue rim, filled with vegan mushroom mapo tofu on a grey laminate background surrounded by sichuan peppercorns, spring onions, shiitake mushrooms and the book Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables

Lucky Peach Vegan Mushroom Mapo Tofu

Dorothy Porker
This vegan mapo tofu made with shiitake mushrooms is a must-have for anyone that likes Sichuan food or umami, vegan or not.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Soaking time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Main course
Cuisine Chinese, Sichuan
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • Small plate
  • Food processor
  • Large pot
  • Strainer
  • Frying pan or wok
  • Kitchen towel

Ingredients
  

  • 4.5 oz - 125 g dried shiitake mushrooms see instructions
  • 9 oz - 250 g fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 12 oz - 350 g silken tofu cut into cubes - firm tofu works but is less nice for mapo tofu
  • salt
  • 2 t - 10 g corn starch
  • 1/4 c - 60 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 T - 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 leek sliced into thin strips
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 T - 30 g grated ginger
  • 4 T - 60 g doubanjiang chili bean sauce
  • 2 T - 30 g black bean sauce
  • 1 T - 15 g chili crisp
  • 2 T - 30 g Sichuan peppercorns black seeds and woody stems removed
  • 1 T - 15 g gochugaru Korean chili flakes

Instructions
 

Soak the dried mushrooms

  • Remove the stems from 4.5 oz - 125 g dried mushrooms and leave them to soak in water for at least 30 minutes. To submerge them it helps to place a small plate on top.
  • Drain and set the liquid aside.
  • Now use a food processor to chop the dried shiitakes together with 9 oz - 250 g of fresh shiitakes to a rough pulp.

Poach the silken tofu

  • If you are using firm tofu you can skip this step and press the tofu for 30 minutes with a heavy object instead. But silken tofu really gives the best result for mapo tofu imho.
  • Cut the silken tofu into 1 inch - 1.5 cm cubes.
  • Bring water to a boil in a large pot and poach 12 oz - 350 g of silken tofu for 3 minutes or so. Strain, salt lightly and set aside.

Make vegan mushroom mapo tofu

  • Mix together 2 t - 10 g of corn starch with 1/4 c - 60 ml of water to create a slushy paste.
  • Now get all your other ingredients together alongside the mushroom pulp, poached silken tofu and corn paste so you have your mis-en-place ready and are good to go.
  • Heat 2 T - 30 ml of sunflower oil in a large frying pan or a wok. Add the shiitake mushroom pulp and spread it out in an even layer, folding it every few minutes or so until any remaining liquids have evaporated and the shiitake are starting to brown. This should take 5 minutes or so.
  • Now add 1 leek sliced into thick strips, 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic and 1 T - 15 g of grated ginger and mix this in with the mushrooms for another 2 minutes or so until fragrant. Remove the mushroom and leek mixture from the pan and give the pan a quick wipe with a kitchen towel before returning it to the heat.
  • Add 2 T - 30 g of Sichuan peppercorns, 4 T - 60 g of doubjiang, 2 T - 30 g of black bean and 1 T - 15 g of chili crisp sauce to the pan with 1 T - 15 gr of gochugaru and stir until the oils start to separate from the sauce, before adding the mushroom mixture back in. This should take 2 minutes or so. Now gently stir in the soft tofu and finally add the corn starch slush to create that mapo tofu glaze.
  • Now gently fold in the poached silken tofu cubes and finally add the corn starch slush, allowing the liquids to thicken ever so slightly before serving.

Notes

Mushroom mapo tofu freezes okay though the tofu becomes a bit of an acquired texture. It's the perfect filling for gyozo too.
Mushroom mapo tofu will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months and can be reheated by allowing it to thaw and then briefly frying it back up in a greased frying pan.
Keyword chinese recipe, easy vegan, lucky peach, mapo tofu, mushrooms, sichaun food, sichuan, sichuan recipe

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Lucky Peach’s Miso-amped Hummus

After the pumpkin, chocolate and other hummus nightmares of late I understand that hummus with miso sounds very worrying indeed.

Blame Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables

Thankfully the idea to add miso to hummus doesn’t come from me, but from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables. And the miso in this recipe isn’t a cover-up to disguise the flavor of hummus, but rather a means to enhance it in all it’s hummussy goodness.

A bookshelf filled with cookbooks and a copy of Power Vegetables shown in front.

Gooey fluffy magic hummus tricks

I had words with this recipe the first time I made it. My chickpeas would barely budge when I tried to blend them in my food processor. They were absolute dicks. Thankfully someone told me I should use some of the cooking liquids of the chickpeas to help smooth their transition into hummusy goodness.

Then I found my hummus to be quite… firm and Play-Dough like once it had cooled down. I don’t recall where I read this a few weeks later, but a couple of ice cubes really help turn your hummus into the best gooey fluffy magic ever.

A bowl of miso amped hummus surrounded by its ingredients and some Turkish bread

Varations and what to have miso-amped hummus with

I have updated the recipe below to add instructions on how to make a garlicky hummus dip, or just a chickpea-garlic spread if you want to be proper about calling hummus hummus and other things made with chickpeas and other ingredients something else.

I like to top mine with za’atar or sumac for some extra oomph.

You can eat the dip with bread or however else you like or use it to make:

A bowl of miso amped hummus surrounded by its ingredients

Miso-amped hummus from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables

Dorothy Porker
This very inauthentic hummus is based on a recipe from Lucky Peach's Power Vegetables, improved over time with tips from internet randos and magazines.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Overnight soak 8 hrs
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Lunch, Party snack, Snack
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Vegan, Vegetarian

Equipment

  • Large pot, for soaking and cooking
  • Ladle
  • Sieve
  • Small bowl
  • Kitchen towel
  • Food processor
  • Oven, if making garlic and chickpea spread, AND
  • Oven proof dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 c - 200 gr dried chickpeas soaked overnight, weight is pre-soak
  • 1 t - 5 gr baking soda
  • 1/4 c - 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic smashed and peeled
  • 3/4 c - 175 ml chickpea cooking liquid see instructions
  • 1/4 c - 60 ml lemon juice fresh is best
  • 1 t - 5 gr salt
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 1/2 c - 120 ml tahin
  • 1 T - 15 gr miso white is best, but red works too
  • 3 ice cubes

For the chickpea and garlic spread

  • all of the above +
  • 3 heads garlic separated into skin-on cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt

Instructions
 

  • Drain 1 c - 200 gr soaked chickpeas, place them on a kitchen towel and dry them off gently.
  • Move the chickpeas to a large pot, I used the same one I soak them in overnight, with 1 tsp - 5 gr of baking soda and cook on a low heat while stirring vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes or so.
  • Cover the chickpeas until they are submerged in about 1" of cold water and bring to a boil.
  • Leave to simmer until they are soft. This can take 30-60 minutes, depending on the quality and age of your chickpeas. Use a ladle to remove any foam or chickpea skins that come bubbling to the surface. Add water if your chickpeas appear to be drying out, but haven't softened yet.
  • Drain the chickpeas, making sure you hang on to the cooking liquid. You'll need it for the next step.
  • Place the chickpeas, 1/4 c - 60 ml olive oil and 1 clove of garlic into a food processor along with a first scoop of the cooking liquid. Blitz for 2 minutes. Add more of the liquid if your food processor starts to struggle.
  • Finally add 1/4 c - 60 ml of lemon juice, 1 t - 5 gr salt, 1 pinch of cumin, 1/2 c - 270 gr of tahini, 1 T - 15 gr of miso and 3 ice cubes (and the roast garlic if you're making chickpea and garlic spread) and blend again for another 2 minutes until well combined and fluffy. If your food processor is struggling again use a wooden spoon to beat the ingredients together until the last of the ice cubes as dissolved completely.
  • Your hummus is now done. Lucky Peach prefers it warm, but I quite enjoy it cold as well

To make chickpea and garlic spread

  • First, take a moment to resist the urge to call this garlic-hummus. Hummus is made with chickpeas only. Add anything else and it's no longer hummus. We're calling this a spread. S P R E A D.
  • Preheat an oven to 320° F/ 160° C.
  • Spread the individual unpeeled garlic cloves from 3 bulbs of garlic in an even layer in an oven proof dish. Coat evenly in olive oil and salt generously.
  • Roast the garlic cloves until they have gone soft and squishy but are not burned, in my oven this takes about 30-45 minutes.
  • Peel or smoosh the garlic gunk out of its skin.
  • Blitz the roast garlic cloves into the hummus that will no longer be a hummus alongside the other ingredients mentioned in step 7.

Notes

This hummus will keep in the fridge in a closed container for 2 to 3 days. 
Keyword chickpeas, dips, hummus, humus, lucky peach, miso, spreads

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Honey Roast Carrots with Feta

That’s it. That’s the recipe. Honey roast carrots with sumac, feta, coriander and pine nuts. I love easy pretty meals so Donna Hay‘s Fast, Fresh and Simple is high on my usability list.

The cover of Donna Hay's Fast Fresh Simple Cookbook

Sides are mains too

This is supposed to be a side but I have it as a main by myself for dinner all the time. If it’s not filling enough for you add some bread.

Variations on a theme

Donna makes it with goat cheese but I find feta works equally well. As you can imagine you can do this with many different root vegetable, cheese and nut combos.

Honey Roast Carrots with Feta

Dorothy Porker
Delicious roast carrots that can serve as a side or a main. Inspired on a recipe from Donna Hay's Fast, Fresh, Simple.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Main course, Side dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Small bowl
  • Oven dish
  • Tin foil
  • Fork
  • Frying pan or skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 T - 30 ml honey
  • 3 T - 45 ml olive oil
  • 1 t - 5 gr cumin
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • bunch carrots
  • 2 T - 30 gr pine nuts
  • 3/4 c - 100 gr feta
  • bunch coriander roughly chopped
  • 1 t - 5 gr sumac

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven at 200° C/ 400° F. Mix together the 2 T - 30 ml honey, 3 T - 45 ml olive oil, pinches of salt and pepper and 1 t - 5 gr cumin in a small bowl.
  • Wash a bunch of carrots and trim the tops. If you are so inclined, you can peel them like I did for this shoot, but normally I can't be bothered to be honest.
  • Now coat the carrots in the honey mixture and place them into a nice roomy oven dish. Cover with tinfoil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the tinfoil and bake for another 15 minutes, until the edges start to caramelize.
  • While your carrots are doing that, use a fork to crumble up 3/4 c - 100 gr of feta. Use more if you want, because feta. Dry roast 2 T - 30 gr of pine nuts in a dry skillet or frying pan to get a nice color of them and boost the flavor.
  • As soon as your carrots come out of the oven, sprinkle over the crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts and chopped coriander and finally 1 T - 15 gr of sumac. You can move it to a nice plate before you do this of course, or just leave it and dig right in.

Notes

On a hot day I am sure you can also leave the carrots to cool before adding the feta, pine nuts, coriander and sumac but I mostly eat this in winter and the heat from the carrots gives the feta a nice little melt so I mostly eat this piping hot.
Keyword carrots, cookbook recipe, donna hay, easy vegetarian, fast fresh simple, power vegetables, vegetarian

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Veggie Sweet Potato Burrito

I love a good portable snack.

The first time I had a burrito proper was in San Francisco. My friends dragged me and my jetlag to The Mission, to the wonderful Puerto Alegre, where I did not understand the menu and ordered a cheese burrito. Which, for those not in the know, is basically a burrito with an actual block of melting cheese inside, topped with more melting cheese on the outside.

A veggie burrito with sweet potato wrapped in tin foil and cut in half with eyes stuck on them

It was great (though the one thing I never got over after that trip is the red mole chilaquiles I had a few mornings after), but I couldn’t really handle more than two bites (see also, the Chicago deep dish pizza debacle a few years prior to this). The doggy bag I took home that night could’ve easily lasted me the entire trip, were it not for my desire to Eat More Things.

A tin foil wrapped veggie sweet potato burrito with a face on it

This burrito is killer too, but it won’t require you to have a good long lay-down after. I found it in Lucky Peach’s Power Vegetables. It’s filling minus the lay-down, and perfect for road trips once you’ve figured out how to wrap it.

A veggie burrito with sweet potato wrapped in tin foil and cut in half with eyes stuck on them

Veggie Sweet Potato Burrito

Dorothy Porker
This sweet potato burrito inspired by Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables is the perfect portable snack (even from the kitchen to the sofa).
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Mexican, Texmex, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment
  • Bowl
  • Frying pan or skillet, optional
  • Tinfoil, optional

Ingredients
  

For the sweet potato

  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed (2x2 inches/ 5x5mm)
  • 1 T - 15 ml neutral oil I use sunflower, just avoid olive oil for this
  • 1/2 t - 2.5 gr cumin powder
  • 1/2 t - 2.5 gr ground coriander
  • 1/2 t - 2.5 gr chili powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper

For the pico de gallo

  • 3 large tomatoes de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot finely chopped, rinsed in cold water post-chop
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 bunch coriander finely chopped, stems included

To construct the burrito

  • 2 large tortilla skins of choice, I prefer corn tortillas
  • 1 c - 250 gr cooked rice
  • 2 T - 30 gr sour cream optional
  • 1/2 c - 125 gr shredded cheese optional
  • 1/2 c - 125 gr kidney beans rinsed, black beans also work
  • 1/2 avocado thinly sliced or cubed, optional
  • 5-10 pickled jalapeno slices more or less to taste

Instructions
 

To make the sweet potato

  • Preheat your oven at 200° C/ 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Mix your cubed sweet potato with the oil and spices. Spread onto the parchment paper in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes, giving them a toss at the halfway mark.

Make your pico de gallo

  • Mix together the chopped tomatoes, shallot, coriander and lime juice in a bowl. That's it. That's the recipe.

Assemble your burrito

  • Preheat a dry frying pan over a high heat. Briefly heat the tortilla skins in the pan on both sides, until they get a little color on them. Be sure not to overheat them as they will dry out and break when bending.
  • Place your tortilla skins on a flat surface. Be sure to have a large square of tinfoil at the ready next to your tortilla skins.
  • Create a layer of rice in the center of each of your tortilla skins, then a layer of beans, sweet potato cubes, avocado, pico de gallo and finally, if using, jalapenos, cheese and sour cream.
  • Fold in the two narrowest opposing sides and fold the widest side over the top of these opposing sides and the contents of your burrito.
  • Give it a little tug and tuck to really tighten up your filling and roll up your burrito tightly before wrapping it into the tinfoil. Using the tinfoil to get the tightest wrap possible.
  • If these words make no sense to you try this nifty little burrito wrapping video. Keep in mind with practice, it can be done!

Notes

Lucky Peach also ads salsa verde to his burritos, as it's quite hard to come by tomatillos here and there's already so much flavor going on they can easily do without.
Same goes for the cheese and sour cream, or almost any of the other ingredients mentioned. Though you wouldn't want to end up with an empty tortilla skin.
If you don't like eating the same things 2 days in a row and want to make the most of a sweet potato, you could make my sweet potato fries one day and tuck them inside this burrito the next.
This burrito will keep overnight in the fridge to be taken on a road trip the next day and make for a perfect lunch. I don't think it'll keep much longer, but I won't blame you for trying.
Keyword burrito, easy vegan, easy vegetarian, Mexican food, sweet potato, tex mex, travel food

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Butternut Squash with Chipotle Crema

I should have googled what piquillos were before I made this. Because I ended up making this butternut squash piquillo crema recipe from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables with a tin of chipotles in adobo instead.

What’s the difference between piquillos and chipotles in adobo?

Everything basically Piquillos and chipotle in adobo are very much not the same thing. At all.

The latter is mad spicy, the former? Not so much. Still it’s one of my favorite delicious mistakes. Since you can’t get piquillos as easily here, though I reckon sweet red peppers might do. Still, I’ve found no other purpose for chipotle in adobo that I like as much as this.

That’s great but how do I eat this butternut squash?

I tend to eat this vegetarian butternut squash with chipotle crema with a good helping of pasta, though I’d imagine a warm bowl of rice will also do nicely.

I save the remainder of the garlic oil to roast potatoes, veggies, meats and fried eggs. Garlic all the things basically.

The book suggests you can have this as a side (I’m not sure with what though, maybe a good medium-rare steak or some expertly roast chicken) or as I have described above, with some pasta or rice as a comforting main. Even if you use the wrong sort of chili.

A bowl of roast butternut squash with chipotle crema surrounded by its main ingredients as well as a towel, grated cheese and some dried linguine

Butternut Squash with Chipotle Crema

Dorothy Porker
Vegetarian recipe for butternut squash and chipotle crema inspired by fucking up a recipe from Lucky Peach presents Power Vegetables.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Main course, Side dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Small saucepan
  • Microwave proof bowl or cup
  • Large skillet or frying pan
  • Oven tray and parchment or an ovenproof dish
  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cloves garlic Peeled
  • 2 c - 500 ml olive oil roughly, see recipe
  • 1 c - 250 ml creme fraîche
  • 1/4 c - 20 gr chipotle en adobo basically one chipotle with some adobo
  • 1 t - 5 gr salt
  • 1/2 butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 1 c - 80 gr Parmesan grated
  • 1/4 c - 20 gr coriander roughly chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 200° C/ 400° F.
  • Confit 4 cloves of peeled garlic by placing them in a small saucepan and covering it in olive oil until it starts to float. Place it on a low heat, bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat as low as possible, leaving it for 20 minutes.
  • Toss the cubes of half a butternut squash in a the garlic oil. You want to lightly coat the cubes, salt and then roast them in an even layer for about 30 minutes on a baking tray lined with parchment or in an ovenproof dish. Toss halfway through.
  • Warm 1/4 c - 250 ml of creme fraîche in a microwave proof bowl in the microwave at low for 1 minute. Pour into a blender with 1/4 c - 20 gr of chipotle en adobo, 4 cloves of confit garlic and 1 tsp - 5 gr of salt and blend until smooth.
  • Pour the crema into a large skillet set over a low heat, add the roasted squash and toss to combine. Stir in 1/2 c - 40 gr of cheese until melted. Serve topped with the remainder of the cheese and the cilantro.

Notes

Store any leftover garlic oil in an airtight container and use to roast potatoes, veggies, meats, fried eggs, whatever tickles your pickle. It will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge. 
Keyword chipotle en adobo, lucky peach, Mexican food, pasta sauce, peter meehan, power vegetables, side dish, side dishes

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What to get at the Asian supermarket

The give-away associated with this blog post is sponsored by AsianFoodLovers.nl.

‘Toko’ is the Indonesian word for shop and is what some of the first Asian supermarkets here were called, as they were rooted in Dutch-Indonesian history (from here on out I will use the term ‘Indisch’, which is a Dutch term for both the people and food associated with the Dutch East Indies). Being Indisch myself, I’ve been going to tokos since before I was born. You can read a brief history here.

Over the years I have seen them expand their wares from limited Dutch-Indonesian and Indonesian imported and locally recreated wares in the early 80s to covering most of East Asia as well as other parts of the world today. Because I get asked what people should buy at the toko at least once a week I thought it was time for a good ol’ (but grossly incomplete) listicle of things to buy at the Asian supermarket.

While the ‘Asian’  diaspora has a presence everywhere, what you can buy at your local Asian supermarket can be very different. As I am based in the Netherlands and mostly know about what to buy at Asian tokos here, that is what this post is generally about.

The basics

Rice
Ever since I read Vegan Japaneasy by Tim Anderson, I’ve switched to Japanese rice. Often sold under the name sushi rice, it can also eaten plain or in other dishes. Japanese rice has a short, thick grain and dries well, which I like slightly better and works perfectly for fried rice.

Other solid rice varieties are basmati and jasmine (of course arborio is also solid, but that’s a different continent).

Tofu
There are different types of tofu. I use firm tofu for frying and silken tofu as an egg alternative in vegan crème brûlée or in vegan mapo tofu for example. It is best to poach silken tofu briefly before use so that it doesn’t fall apart as much. Firm tofu is best frozen in the packaging with the liquid, before thawing (and then freezing and thawing again) and then pressing it for further use.

Noodles
There are many different types of noodles. So many in fact, that I think the only way to find out which one you like best is to try different ones.

I’m a big fan of pre-cooked udon noodles, which are nice and thick, hold sauce well and cook in no time. I really love flat rice or glass noodles in cold salads, while other people prefer egg noodles for bami goreng for example. So just grab some noods and try them, they tend to run quite cheap so no harm no foul if you don’t like some of the ones you try.

Herbs, spices, sauces and condiments

These are the herbs, spices, sauces and condiments that I always have in stock because they can always be combined into something delicious.

Note: spices and herbs tend to run cheaper at the toko and are usually also more flavorful than those from the supermarket, so it’s really worthwhile to stock up on all your herbs and spices here.

Fresh and frozen 
Sereh, also known as lemongrass, is really indispensable in Indisch, Indonesian but also in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In stews like rendang it’s best to bruise and then tie it in a knot, while for uses where the sereh gets mixed into the dish, like Thai larb, it’s best to peel the sereh until you get to the soft white core and finely chop that up for further use.

Jeruk purut, also known as makrut lime leaf, is also widely used in Indisch and Indonesian cuisine. It is also known by the k-name that I no longer use, you can read why you shouldn’t use that name here.

Laos or galengal cannot be replaced with ginger no matter how many times recipe developers write this. It is fresher and sweeter, less spicy and according to some has a slightly piney flavor (I think it has a laosy taste, but who am I?). It has a shiny white skin.

Ginger is not a replacement for galengal. It is a lot more spicy (and gingery, continuing a theme here) and stringy. It has a course yellow-brownish skin. You can use leftovers to make tea (or whiskey) with lemon and honey.

Sichuan pepper, though spicy, is not actually a pepper but part of the citrus family. This pepper is essential for Sichuan cooking, gives you a mild high and numbs you mouth a little, which allows you to pick up other flavors better. Very floral. I love making ice cream with this, there is a recipe for Sichuan pepper ice cream in my cookbook Nomnomnom coming out in August in the Netherlands.

MSG. Controversial in some circles, MSG is actually just super salt that naturally occurs in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and many more foods and is artificially recreated through fermentation. Research has yet to show there are any true health risks associated with the use of MSG, but the myth (originally fueled by anti-Chinese racism) persists. You use MSG like salt to boost umami. If you want to understand more about MSG, Pit Magazine devoted an entire issue to it, while The Bad Food Bible also does a stellar job of explaining why there is nothing wrong with using it and The MSG Pod is a lovely podcast to check out.

Sauces
Crispy chili in oil is indispensable in any kitchen. You can use it for mapo tofu, but really everything tastes better with a little chili crisp. I often eat it with scrambled eggs, as a dip with dumplings, to add heat and crunch to noodles or straight from the jar. For Tummie Magazine I made Cathy Erway’s peanut brittle with chili crisp recipe to go with chipotle chocolate mousse. Lao Gan Ma is pretty much the standard, they also sell a version with peanuts if that’s your thing. You can make chili crisp very easily at home, but I like to support the Lao Gan Ma empire by always having a mega pot of it on my shelf.

Gochujang is a fermented Korean chili paste and equally indispensable. I use it to glaze Korean fried chicken, in all kinds of marinades but it also pairs incredibly well with melted cheese on a toastie or with pasta.

Hoisin sauce is another indispensable sauce (this is a bit of a theme with me and condiments). You may recognize this as the dip you get with Peking duck, but you can of course also dip other things in it (your finger is a good one) and use it in all kinds of marinades. With hoisin I notice that everyone has different preferences because the taste and texture are slightly different across brands, so try different brands until you find your hoisin match. I’m sure it exists.

Sriracha with extra garlic. I think everyone is familiar with Thai sriracha by now. My favorite brand is the (American) Flying Goose brand and my favorite flavor is the one with extra garlic, which seems to have more depth than ‘plain’ sriracha. Flying Goose has developed a whole bunch of variaties, which are all worth a shot. I’m a big fan of their smoky sriracha as well as the ones with  black pepper and extra lemon grass.

Light soy sauce is the nicest soy sauce for cooking because it’s slightly more subtle and less salty than dark soy sauce. I always have light soy sauce at home for cooking and dark for dipping or finishing dishes.

Kaki Tiga kecap medja is Indonesian sweet kecap, which is slightly less sweet and thick than kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). This is the kecap that I grew up with and that’s probably why I like it best. If you are looking for really good kecap manis, I recommend the Bango brand.

White miso is a well-known Japanese fermented soybean paste. There are also yellow, red and black misos. White is the most versatile/ accessible, so that’s why I tend to use that. I use it in marinades, to make dressings or mayonnaise, as a substitute for shrimp paste and fish sauce, but also to give dishes an extra umami kick, like this hummus for example.

Thai spice pastes are great to keep in the cupboard for days when you don’t feel like cooking and want to get something on the table with relative ease. There are all kinds of ready-made Thai spice pastes available, I like red curry and penang paste in particular. In Thailand curry pastes are generally used as a foundation with more ingredients added to the dish during cooking, but if you mix the paste with some coconut milk, a protein and some veggies you’re already going to have a pretty good time.

Miscellaneous
Coconut milk, see Thai spice paste for why it is useful to always have this at hand, although I also use this a lot in Indische and Indonesian cooking. Because I live alone, I like to keep small tins or tetra packs of 250 ml at home. Note this is not the coconut milk you can now find in most grocery stores as a replacement for cow milk and there are various textures and flavors of coconut milk available as well. Most stores will indicate which ones you can use for cooking and which for baking for example, which is mostly related to the water content of the milk.

Kimchi is a Korean method to preserve vegetables and ready-made kimchi usually comes in the form of the classic and most well-known Nappa cabbage kimchi. You can of course make kimchi yourself, but I like to have a ready-made jar or bag at home for snacking, to use on cheese melts and burgers or to make kimchijeon (kimchi pancakes). You never know when the kimchi craving strikes.

Panko. Coarse Japanese breadcrumbs that make everything you breadcrumb a 1000 times more delicious as when you use western (I guess?) breadcrumbs. They result in fluffy super crunchy fried things every time.

Ready-made

If you don’t feel like cooking, the toko is also your friend. Most tokos have a fresh or take-out counter where you can get ready-made meals you just have to reheat. But they also have an arsenal of other ready meals. Below you’ll find some my favorites, which I always keep at hand for days where I am unable to cook.

Instant noodles
There are many different types, flavors and brands of instant noodles available from all corners of South East Asia. Instant noodles from South Korea, Japan and Singapore tend to run slightly more pricey but are totally worth it. Beyond that Indomie is probably the most famous brand out there (if you can find them their potato chips are pretty damned good too).

With instant noodles it’s also best to just get some and just try them until you find the ones that tickle your pickle. It helps to know that Asian people tend to use instant noodles as a base and often enhance them with other ingredients rather than eating them ‘plain’. A classic example of this is stirring a beaten egg, roughly chopped spring onion and a slice of cheap cheddar cheese into your Shin Ramyun noodles.

Please do pay attention to the instructions: due to the different noodles used instant noodles have different preparation times. There wet as well as dry instant noodles so you don’t always use the cooking liquid to make a soup.

My personal favorites are the laksa noodles from Prima Taste, basically anything from Nissin and Indomie‘s dry noodles.

Gyoza and dumplings
Nowadays you will finds loads of gyoza and other dumplings in the freezer section of the Asian supermarket.

I personally like Anjinomoto’s vegetable gyoza best. You can steam as well as steam-fry (my English abandons me here) them, where you crisp their bums in sunflower oil for 5 minutes before adding a splash of water and closing the lid and steaming them for another 5. Most packages also come with microwave instructions but I find steaming or steam-frying them gives the best result.

Snacks
Of course you can find an endless arsenal of (potato) chips and krupuk (prawn crackers) at Asian supermarkets. Again: try stuff that appeals to you and then keep getting the stuff you like best.

My favorites from the freezer are custard buns and edamame, those shelled steamed and salted soy beans you get at Japanese restaurants.

All potato chips well for me, but my favorite krupuk has and always will be palembang. In the Netherlands you can also buy krupuk to fry at home, but I’m too lazy for this and prefer to look for  surprising flavors in the crisps and/ or cracker department. Tip: if you come across anything with salted egg, that’s usually going to be a good thing.

Win Asian groceries from Asian Food Lovers (open to Dutch inhabitants only)

Update: the giveaway is now closed. Check out the comments on the Instagram-post for Asian groceries I have missed in my list.

That’s it for my toko tips. To help 1 lucky winner on their way, in collaboration with Asian Food Lovers, I am giving away a box of toko goodies worth €60. In this you will find: Japanese rice, silken tofu, udon noodles, chili crisp, gochujang, hoisin sauce, sriracha, light soy sauce, kecap medja, white miso, red curry paste, coconut milk, kimchi, panko, a selection of instant noodles, vegetable gyoza, edamame and palembang krupuk.

All you have to do to get a chance to win is to follow me and Asian Food Lovers on Instagram and leave a like and comment on this post, you can tag someone or let me know which toko groceries I have pathetically overlooked. Entries are open until Monday 31 May at midnight, I will announce the winner on Tuesday 1 June in my stories.

The give-away for this blog post is sponsored by AsianFoodLovers.nl. Zoek je deze post in het Engels? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor wat moet je kopen in de toko.