20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An informative insight into a little-known cuisine,
This review is from: Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (Hardcover)
I have recently purchased this book, and after going through it, I felt I had to write my view on it. As a Singaporean who has lived 40 years outside his home country, I have prepared over the years, with the help of several cookbooks and advice from friends and relatives back home, many of the dishes of the part of SE Asia that I come from, and am therefore very familiar with the cuisine of this region. The recipes in the book strike me as being very authentic, and even ingredients that are usually difficult to obtain outside Asia are listed, with possible substitutes. My only one (minor) criticism is in his recipe for beef rendang, in that he has omitted a step which I consider important (although not necessary)for the taste of the final product, which is to prepare kerisik (or dry roasted grated or desiccated coconut, which is then pounded) as part of the spice paste. However this may be due to the recipe given to him, as I know that rendang recipes are almost as numerous as there are cooks! His travelogues are informative and often amusing, and his affection and respect for the peoples, cultures and above all the cuisine, of the region comes out clearly. Some people may be irritated by the long narratives, which obviously reduced the number of recipes that are included, or the relative lack of photos (this is not a colour photo per-recipe kind of cookbook), but to this reader, it makes the book very much more a labour of love and not some kind of manual to be leafed through for the desired recipe of the moment! I hope that he will publish a second collection of recipes (since this book can only scratch the surface of a very diverse cuisine) and look forward to adding that to my collection.