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Essentials of Asian Cuisine
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About the Author

Corinne Trang is the award-winning author of Authentic Vietnamese Cooking (1999). She has written for numerous publications, including Organic Style, Saveur, and Food & Wine. She has also been a guest on such radio and television shows as Bloomberg Radio's Executive Dining Guide with Peter Elliot, and TV Food Network's Cooking Live and Martha Stewart Living. Trang has lectured internationally and currently teaches in the Culinary Arts program at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She lives in New York City.

Reviews

Though she now lives in New York, food writer and former Saveur magazine editor Trang grew up in Vietnam as well as Paris, and she has traveled widely throughout Asia. In her impressive new cookbook, she explores the "continuities" among the centuries-old Chinese culinary tradition and the cuisines of the rest of Asia, from Japan to Vietnam and Thailand to the Philippines. She starts with a detailed, illustrated pantry section and another on equipment and techniques, followed by an overview of the "fundamentals," the guiding principles of Chinese cooking, along with brief introductions to the foods of the other Asian countries. The following chapters, from "Condiments" to "Rice, Noodles, Dumplings, and Breads" (the longest one and, to a certain extent, the heart of the book) to "Sweets and Drinks," offer more than 250 recipes. Trang's readable and informative headnotes provide provenance and explore the connections among similar dishes found in the various cuisines; she also includes useful tips on using unusual ingredients and suggests substitutions if necessary. The lengthy chapter introductions are equally impressive, serving as mini-encyclopedias in themselves. Authoritative and thoroughly researched, this will be invaluable as both a reference and a cookbook. Highly recommended. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

There are some books you never knew you needed until they appear, and then you can't imagine how you did without them. Trang's newest (after Authentic Vietnamese Cooking) is an encyclopedic summation of the history, techniques, ingredients and recipes of the major Asian nations (China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines). It's an ambitious undertaking, but Trang delivers and shows an astonishing mastery of the often subtle differences among the cuisines. (For example, she clearly differentiates between three kinds of hot pots-Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese.) In this vast catalogue, some recipes are relatively familiar, like Bibimbap, Tempura, Hot and Sour Soup, Chicken Adobo; Curried Conch Shells, Fish and Coconut Custard and Oxtail braised in Peanut Sauce are more exotic. While some staples have not been included (such as Kungpao Chicken), the book can hardly be accused of brevity. A true instructor, Trang spends 60 pages on fundamentals before offering any cooking instruction. She fills out each chapter of recipes with an extensive essay on the different permutations taken by shared ingredients-there are 140 pages on "Rice, Noodles, Dumplings, and Breads" alone. The protein chapters are somewhat less impressive; still, this volume should be a first port of call for home cooks eager to undertake a serious study of Asian cooking. (Feb.)

Grace Young author of "The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen" This remarkable cookbook is packed with information and tempting recipes. Any fan of Asian cooking will savor it as an "essential" for replicating the great dishes of this historic tradition.
Nadsa De Monteiro executive chef, The Elephant Walk (Boston, MA) and Carambola (Waltham, MA) Corinne Trang's multicultural background and talent enable her to accomplish this ambitious project with complete success. This book has indeed captured the heart and soul of Asian cuisine.
Martin Yan author and host of "Yan Can Cook" As ambitious as its title, this book captures not only the basic essentials of Asian cuisine but its very essence. Within these beautifully written pages Ms. Trang links the intricate and far-reaching roots of different Asian cuisines. It makes a most fascinating culinary journey for its readers.
William Woys Weaver contributing editor, "Gourmet" magazine There are a great many books on Asian cooking, but very few of them come to us from the pen of a true teacher. This one walks you through the essentials of raw ingredients, proper cooking techniques, and, best of all, well-tested, fail-safe recipes which explode with unusual tastes and textures, for truly dazzling menus anyone can make at home. The Fish Steamed with Beer was so delicious I had to make it twice for the same dinner -- it disappeared that quickly!
"San Francisco Chronicle" If you could own just one pan-Asian cookbook, this would be it.
"The Washington Post" What Julia Child once did for French cuisine, Corinne Trang has tried to do for Asian cuisine, sweeping across Southeast Asia to encompass the culinary history, cultural context and recipes of several countries. Encyclopedic in both breadth and depth of coverage, the book is nevertheless a remarkably concise and passionate work that demystifies much of Asian cookery.
"Cook's Illustrated""Essentials of Asian Cuisine" has the beauty of a coffee-table book, the depth of an encyclopedia, and the regional information and landscapes of a travel guide.
"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) There are some books you never knew you needed until they appear, and then you cant imagine how you did without them. Trang shows an astonishing mastery of the often subtle differences among the cuisines. This volume should be a first port of call for home cooks eager to undertake a serious study of Asian cooking. --
"Northwest Asian Weekly" This is quite simply one of the best cookbooks Ive ever read, looked at or cooked from. Accessible and tasty recipes from throughout Asia put this cookbook on the same shelf as "Joy of Cooking."

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