Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvard Common Press; First Edition edition (May 13, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,152,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #137 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Asian Cooking > Pacific Rim #172 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > Caribbean & West Indian #2863 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Methods > Quick & Easy
Have you ever purchased a colorful asian cook book from the discount bin at the local bookstore, to find it's all pretty photos, but otherwise filled with aimless, unremarkable yet needlessly complicated or unclear recipes? I have.. to the point that most of my cooking involves going online, to find at least 3 recipes for whatever I have in mind that evening, and to use the best parts of each found recipe to come up with my own.. Well, I need to do so no more so far as Southeast Asia is concerned, thanks to the Laursens wonderful, concise, yet roomy-enough-to-allow-me-to-experiment recipes. As my wife knows, i HATE following recipes, as most 'exotic' recipes usually call for at least ONE vital mystery ingredient I will never stock, so I usually end up chucking the recipe and instead blaze thru my own rebellious trail. Well, the Laursens allow me the breathing room to make substitutions, letting me know which ingredients are key, and why, and how to make do when you don't have them all, and it's all very reassuring, aiming primarily at providing a basic, straightforward foundation for south east Asian cooking. Food the locals eat, yet with just the right amount of westernization, this book was written for me.. No wild look-at-me recipes that you will either make once and never again or not dare to make at all.... I was such a geek I took the book to my local asian supermarket and was found in the sauces/spices aisle thumbing thru pages to make sure I knew which soy sauces/fish sauces/chilli pastes to weed thru... Enough of my quirks.. the recipes? I've had this book but two days, and have made 2 meals, that will make my local thai/vietnamese restaurants sadly miss a good chunk of my business, as they came out flawless; amazingly so, given the simplicity and conciseness of the recipes...Again, best $15 spent.
Great! I have only made three recipes- the cauliflower-ginger stir fry, the asparagus with the cumin-sri-racha vinaigrette and the pork loin spiced with soy and ginger- and all have been terrific. Moreover, they are not hard recipes to make, and the ingredients are not exotic, which is all helpful. Best of all, these recipes really have the right flavors and balance that take me back to the some of the really good food I had on a trip to Bali. It doesn't seem like there are a lot of books out there on this cuisine, and this one does a nice job of balancing all of this. I am definitely going to try more of the recipes in the book and expect to come back to some of them a few times. The book itself is also very nicely designed and easy to understand. Thanks, much appreciated, for bringing this cuisine to my kitchen.
I find myself reaching for this book quite a bit. I've made quite a few recipes from here with great success; the flavors are fresh, bright and bold, and many of the recipes are inherently healthy. There's great stuff here for weeknight meals, but some of them are still nice enough for casual company dinners. This is not an entirely authentic cookbook, but it's still all very tasty. If you don't have an Asian market locally (or large Asian section at your local mega-mart) you might find some of the ingredients hard to source, although that's not a problem for me being in the Seattle metropolitan area. Make sure you try their recipe for Saigon cinnamon ice cream - it's foolproof and to die for.
This book is fantastic. It is practicle and easy to use. It convinced me to make my first attempt at homemade Thai and it was contagious. Our friends loved the recipes (they usually eat Mexican) and now love thai dishes. I need MORE receipes, please do another cookbook, and thanks!
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