The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence -

CHI­NESE bar­be­cue spare ribs, or paigu, are pic­tured dark and tof­fee-like op­po­site the sim­ple three-step in­struc­tions for mak­ing them. Chi­nese bar­be­cue pork is also here in Tom Kime’s AsianBites:AFeastof Flavours­fromTurkey­toIn­di­a­toJa­pan (DK, $39.95).

How­ever, the main fea­ture of this book, other than its in­for­ma­tive recipes and ac­ces­si­ble size, is its melange of cuisines: Sin­ga­porean murtabak (spicy lamb-stuffed pan­cakes) next to Korean goen­mande (pork and cab­bage dumplings), over the page Ja­panese iri goma tem­pura (se­same tem­pura), and a few pages on Sichuan chicken dumplings and Chi­nese steamed bar­be­cue pork buns.

The recipes are or­gan­ised by qual­i­ties rather than ori­gins (hot and steamy; fresh and aro­matic) and in­ter­spersed with coloured images of dishes, spices, in­gre­di­ents and land­scape, rice pad­dies and a sam­pan laden with greens.

Some of th­ese dishes are restau­rant reg­u­lars, while oth­ers are in­trigu­ingly, tempt­ingly unfamiliar. There are notes on key prod­ucts and brief, at­mos­phere-set­ting in­tro­duc­tions in this sat­is­fy­ing book, which is much deeper than its de­cep­tively sim­ple ex­te­rior sug­gests.

Kime has per­fected his art un­der chefs such as David Thompson (at Dar­ley Street Thai in Syd­ney) and Bri­tain’s Rick Stein.

TheCom­pleteBookofModernAsian (ACP Books, $49.95) comes from the test kitchens of The Australian­Women’sWeekly , is of en­cy­clo­pe­dic pro­por­tions (at 490-odd pages) and has that in­sti­tu­tion’s solid tone, with pic­tures and de­scrip­tions of the ba­sic Asian in­gre­di­ents and recipes from China, Thai­land, Viet­nam, Malaysia and Ja­pan. With up to two recipes to a spread, faced with beau­ti­fully pho­tographed dishes (one for each), what the book lacks in de­sign ex­cite­ment it more than makes up for in a sense of re­li­a­bil­ity and even in­spi­ra­tion. Pore over th­ese pho­to­graphs and you imag­ine eat­ing the dishes, a short step away from try­ing them out. There are favourites such as sang choy bow (that fra­grant mince in its ice­berg let­tuce cups), lak­sas and phos, and less-known dishes such as poached pork with chilli stone fruits. Sep­a­rate sec­tions cover soups, stir fries, cur­ries, casseroles, bar­be­cues, chut­neys and raitas, sal­ads, ‘‘ morsels’’, desserts and more. Ju­dith Elen

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