Sharon’s Favorite Asian Cookbooks and Authors
Every so often, readers will ask me what Asian cookbooks would I recommend. I would say that it just depends as there are so many Asian cookbooks, covering different ethnic cuisines and styles, ranging from traditional recipes to fusion. One caveat is that most Asian cookbooks will not have allergy aware substitutions so you will have to apply some of the Allergy Aware Asian Fare substitutions that I have shared to adapt the recipes to suit your needs.
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Grace Young, Stir Fry Master
I have great admiration for Grace. Her writing is lovely, her stories touch my heart, and her recipes are exactly the way my mom, my aunts, my grandmother would make their dishes. She is the author of three cookbooks: The Breath of a Wok is a primer on how to select and properly use a wok with many recipes. The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen captures the spirit and cultural beliefs expressed through Chinese cooking and personal stories. Even though they are memories of Grace, her mom, and grandmother, I learn a little something about myself and my family every time I read her cookbook. I highly recommend this book for American born Chinese, especially those from Cantonese families who grew up in San Francisco, who want to connect with another generation. Her third book, Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge is a collection of stir fry recipes and stories from all parts of Asia and the rest of the world. The book even has a lively Facebook group called Wok Wednesday,members cook a different recipe from the cookbook every Wednesday, share their recipe photos, and have a lively discussion every week.
Andrea Nguyen, Viet World Kitchen
I follow Andrea Nguyen on social media, read her blog, and have two of her cookbooks, Asian Dumplings and The Banh Mi Handbook. I’ve been checking out Asian Dumplings from the library for years to read and to refer to study her dumpling making methods. I enjoy her thorough and analytical writing about food, ingredients, and methods. She speaks to my inner geekiness about cooking. I finally ordered a copy of Asian Dumplings when she published her Vietnamese sandwich cookbook, The Bahn Mi Handbook. It’s pretty amazing that she could fill an entire cookbook with basically sandwich recipes but she’s thorough and creative. Shortly after I ordered her books, my life has been consumed by home renovations and the cookbooks are stored in one of the remaining boxes that I need to unpack. She also has two other cookbooks about Vietnamese food and tofu.
Ming Tsai, East Meets West
If you prefer more familiar ingredients but want a little bit of Asian inspiration, you might enjoy Ming Tsai’s recipes which have an East meets West theme. He’s also notable for his food allergy restaurant protocol at his Boston area restaurants and for his food allergy related advocacy. Ming Tsai has written a few cookbooks, Blue Ginger, which might be well suited for those who enjoy fine dining and Simply Ming, which is more about simple techniques for East meets West cooking. I haven’t read Simply Ming One-Pot Meals yet, but I will definitely be on the look out for it as the recipes look very delicious and I love the simplicity of cooking everything in one pot.
Martin Yan, Yan Can Cook
I have to share that I grew up watching Martin Yancook and entertain on his PBS television show “Yan Can Cook.” Many of his books are out of print now but you can check them out from the library or buy them used on Amazon. My favorite is my autographed copy of Martin Yan’s China. It’s a gorgeous cookbook that gives one an overview of regional Chinese cuisine. His recipes are written clearly and remind me of my family meals.
My family and I had a chance to meet him at a cooking demo and book signing, and we talked about his demonstration of how to relax a chicken for months. If you have a few minutes and want a good laugh, watch the video because we just need a little bit of lighthearted fun in our lives.
The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell
I checked out The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen from the library, it’s a great collection of gluten free Asian recipes. Most of the recipes use naturally gluten free ingredients such as rice flour and adapt traditional recipes by using simple substitutions such as a gluten free tamari sauce instead of soy sauce as well as more complicated recipes which adapt wheat based recipes into gluten free ones. I think that they are clearly written and stay true to traditional methods. Some of the recipes might require some adaptations be nut free, dairy free, soy free, etc.. When I first read the cookbook, our family didn’t have any gluten intolerance so I didn’t try the recipes but I may need to try a few because a couple of us feel better when we eat less gluten.
Discovering Korean Cuisine: Recipes from the Best Korean Restaurants in Los Angeles
When my children were little and before our life with food allergies began, I would introduce new flavors and ingredients with tasty and tempting restaurant foods. I am not as familiar with Korean cuisine and we avoided Korean restaurants for awhile when my son used to be allergic to sesame. This cookbook is collection of recipes of favorite recipes from the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles and one of the reasons I love it is that I learned a lot about typical ingredients found in Korean cuisine, which dishes contain nuts, and what are they called in Korean. The information helps me to decipher a Korean menu while dining out or an ingredient list when grocery shopping.
Williams-Sonoma: Food Made Fast (Asian)
I love Williams-Sonoma cookbooks. Their recipes are always high quality and well written. They turn out exactly the way one would expect. I enjoy the Williams-Sonoma: Food Made Fast series (affiliate link) as the recipes are easy, fast, and simple but still taste good. I highly recommend this cookbook for those who are learning to cook for themselves and are interested in making Asian foods using ingredients that are available in most supermarkets.
I tend to like Asian cookbooks with some stories about their families and traditions. I like cookbooks which stay true to traditional cooking methods from which to make allergy related substitutions so that I don’t end up with something random. But it’s also fine to have some fun and create Asian inspired meals. What are your favorite Asian cuisines and cookbooks?
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