Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Purchased by Reviewer
Blurb: Beholden to bold flavors and not strict authenticity, the editors of Lucky Peach present a compendium of recipes that hit the sweet spot between craveworthy and stupid simple and are destined to become favorites.
Your friends and lovers will marvel as you show off your culinary worldliness, whipping up meals with fish-sauce-splattered panache and all the soy-soaked, ginger-scalliony goodness you could ever want—all for dinner tonight.
Review: Easy recipes are the siren’s call to busy people. Easy recipes that actually taste good seem too good to be true. So of course, I had this book pre-ordered. I’m a fan of Lucky Peach and like their writing style in addition to the foods they usually showcase. I had high hopes for this book.
This book is fairly straight forward. Chapters are organized by food types: noodles, meat, pancakes, rice. There is a decently sized introductory section that explains ingredients used that are common to Asian pantries. Interestingly, this was broken into three groups of ingredient types: Basic, Intermediate, and Champion. Essentially, the items that range from frequently used to rarely used in the book. The best thing about the pantry section is the pictures. The writers kindly included pictures of the products they themselves use. If you’ve ever been the fish out of water staring at thirty versions of the same product, all in a foreign language, and you have to pick one to make a special dish this is a big help.
These recipes are easy, but that doesn’t mean they’re not potentially time consuming. They also involve actual work. You will be cooking with actual ingredients that require chopping, measuring, and/or rolling. A more appropriate title for the book could be 101 Less Complex Yet Still Delicious Asian Recipes. If you truly have no clue what you’re doing in the kitchen this book isn’t really going to help. If you’re intimidated by a cuisine you’ve never attempted this book is awesome.
This book doesn’t faithfully and authentically recreate recipes from Asian cuisines, nor does it claim to. It actually claims to be 100% inauthentic and does so enthusiastically. The inauthenticity claim is just one example of the very funny writing found throughout the book. The pictures are good, the recipes are approachable, but my absolute favorite part of this book was the writing.
Okay, so broth snobbery is a thing. Is homemade broth going to taste better? Yes. Will the broth police show up and arrest you if you don’t use homemade broth? Nope. Not everyone lives in a world where we can purchase the perfect chickens and use them to make the perfect broth. Use the ingredients your budget and time allow and enjoy your food.