I have mixed feelings about 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach. At first I was super excited for this cookbook. It was going to go on my Christmas List**, but instead I got the chance to review it through Blogging for Books. In general, I’m a fan of Lucky Peach magazine but I’m not totally sure that this book adds enough value to my cooking style.
The good? The recipes are varied. Some are traditional, some more Asian American traditional. And, some of the recipes have the wacky Lucky Peach/David Chang flair like Pesto Ramen or Spicy Mushroom Ragu.
On the to-do list:
Soy Sauce Kimchi
Com Tam Breakfast (pork sausage with rice and eggs)
Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake)
Pad See Ew (Thai noodle dish)
Spicy Mushroom Ragu
Jumuk Bap (rice balls with meat)
Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaves
Miso Claypot Chicken (no claypot)
Egg Custard Tarts
There are a few other recipes I want to try, but the ones listed above are the ones I actually see myself cooking sooner rather than later.
For this review, I picked something easy to try out. In fact, I pretty much had all the ingredients. I present: The Odd Flavor Sauce.
There’s actually nothing really “odd” about it. The name hails from its inspiration, a recipe in Irene Kuo’s The Key to Chinese Cooking. I chose to make it with almond butter and regular black peppercorns but I don’t think either of those ingredients vastly altered the recipe.
In short, it’s an all purpose Asian sauce. It’s Chinese in influence, but that’s mostly because the ginger-scallion flavors are dominant. I served it with plain broccoli, and a pork tenderloin that had been simply roasted with salt and pepper. I wanted to know what the sauce tasted like without too much “outside influence.”
It’s good. It’s solid. It’s also nothing I would rave about. It’s a simple enough recipe to have in my cooking repertoire but it’s nothing I would brag about. I’ll have to try out a couple more recipes and see if that’s the case with the rest of the book.
The bad? Honestly, my only negative comment on the book is that I can’t stand the kitschy photographs. I get that it’s being all cute and 1970s revivalist. For the most part, I can overlook it. Ugh, but the picture for the Kimchi Pancake is an orange-tinged pancake against a bright orange background. It hurts my eyes a bit. I love kimchi pancakes but this particular image from the book does not whet my appetite.
Do I regret having this book on my shelf? No. But between this book and my other recent cookbook, Donburi, Donburi impresses me more.
Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post.
** = Instead, The Food Lab cookbook is on my Christmas List. Whee!~