11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
L. L. Mills
- Published on Amazon.com
I've ordered several Asian cookbooks in the past, and been absolutely uninspired to cook with any of them. They all seemed to list either really obscure ingredients they tell little or nothing about, too many ingredients per recipe, or both. And they usually included a lot of steps to do a recipe I had no earthly idea whether I'd even like (because no one bothers to tell you what the ingredients TASTE like, or what they are generally used for!). Ming does list in the front of the book the ingredients his recipes call for--and explains what each one is like, and how to use it--and yes, they are inexpensive ingredients, overall. (A few fancy dishes thrown in in case you want to entertain with ease.) He also goes over cooking techniques in refreshingly simple terms. But what intrigued me was opening to the first recipe to see him describe a Chinese technique for cooking chicken that I've been using for years--having gotten it from an American restauranteur. (And just like the book says--it's delicious!)
Then I looked at the recipes. Oh yeah. Most of them actually use ingredients anyone who has ever done a stir fry will already have on hand--and in combinations I already know taste good, because I use them all the time. But he knows how to amp the volume by adding a few unexpected twists that'll have you drooling. He also describes everything in such simple and non-intimidating lingo that you feel, "Hey--I can DO this!" And pretty easily, too.
I should note that he does have more than Asian recipes--osso bucco, Morrocan, etc.--but most do have an Asian flare. They're also, for the most part, very healthy. I can't wait to try these recipes, and I have no doubt they'll all be good (I'll be updating on that as I make them). Having worked in the past with a Taiwanese chef (sadly, didn't pay attention to the recipes being too focused on slurping them down), I DO at least recall that some truly amazing dishes are really made very simply. And this cookbook HAS everything down very simply. Each recipe seems to have maybe eight ingredients and three to four steps to make the dish--SHORT steps, best of all! These one pot meals really are something special for such an easy method of cooking. (They include some lovely salad recipes too, so don't let the one pot thing put you off--there's a good variety here.)
So if, like I was, you're looking for a cookbook that will inspire you to cook and not intimidate you out of the whole process, I can recommend this one, right out of the gate. WAY beyond what I hoped for. P.S. A few recipes the book includes: Kung Pao chicken, oxtail & shiitakes with quinoa, curry beef with potatoes & onions, beef, shiitake and broccoli stir-fry, pork kimchee with noodles (OMG! Can't wait to try that one!), scallop and bacon fettucine, lamb chops with eggplant & lemongrass tzatziki, asian spaghetti, asian sloppy joes, soba noodle carbonara (wow!), thai basil shrimp risotto, lemongrass scampi with papardelle, mushroom chicken fricassee with edamame, ginger-orange duck 'cassoulet', jerk chicken with mango, morrocan spiced lamb with bell pepper couscous--and LOTS more. Pretty close to a hundred, I'd guess, and I didn't see one that took up more than one page for both ingredients and directions to the recipe. You can't lose with this book. Ming Tsai kicks butt!