I own lots of Asian and Indian cookbooks and "Lemongrass and Ginger" has quickly become one of my favorites. I say this because lots of cookbooks have recipes and photos that look great, but when you make the dishes, they are mediocre. Not so with Leemei's cookbook. She's really done her homework and has tested her recipes thoroughly for the home cook. Her focus is on authentic dishes, and this is admirable since authentic recipes have stood the test of time and deserve respect. Take, for example, her sour fish curry, a Sri Lankan dish. She uses the ingredients found in that region and the result is tremendous. The dish is balanced and has just the right level of heat and sweet-sour flavor. I used a little cinnamon in my version. The sauce over rice will blow you away. Yes, this book is not another version of fast meals with three ingredients, thank God. On the contrary, here we have real respect for cuisines and the traditions and people who created the recipes over time. Who would want anything less?
One other recipe I love is Leemei's version of Cha Ca La Vong. I don't see this recipe in many Vietnamese cookbooks, so it's great Leemei includes it. You make a spice paste for the fish and the result is delicious -- not overpowering but just right. And the combination of noodles, spicy fish, basil, dill, chives, chopped peanuts, all with a sweet-sour-spicy sauce of nuoc cham makes for a great combination of textures and flavors.