Monday, April 9, 2012

Flavors of Asia

9780756643058HFlavors of Asia
Published at DK Canada

About the book

The second book in DK's series with the CIA covering the "Worlds of Flavor" International Conference and Festival, The Flavors of Asia culls recipes from 40 leading chefs from Asia, India and the U.S., including Masaharu Morimoto, Suvir Saran and many others. By transforming the "Worlds of Flavor" festival into a cookbook, the Culinary Institute of America --- one of the best culinary schools in the world --- brings the conference's superb culinary talent right into the home kitchen. Award-winning restaurateur, chef, and author Mai Pham joins the CIA in presenting 125 accessible recipes, from Ammini Ramachandran's Spicy Fritters with Coconut Chutney to Fuchsia Dunlop's General Tso's Chicken, from Myung Sook Lee's Korean Lettuce Wrap with Spicy Beef to Elizabeth Andoh's Kabocha Squash with Red Beans. The chefs' cooking techniques and regional notes appear in feature spreads throughout the book. An enthusiastic foreword by conference chairs and culinary experts Suvir Saran and Fuchsia Dunlop as well as an introduction by Mai Pham, describe Asia's rising influence on world cooking round out this must-have book.

Our Thoughts

Easter 2012.   I had planned to get an ham for supper on Sunday.   We had already invited friends over for supper.   But my husband challenged me to make something different.   So Indian Food it was decided based on two recipes from the flavors of Asia as well as two recipes from Around the World CookBook.  I won’t expand on the recipes I took from Around the Word Cookbook but I can tell you that it was the tandoori chicken and the raita sauce!

From the book the flavors of Asia, I had selected two recipes: Naan bread and Masala Shrimps.

Apparently bread is an integral part of Indian cuisine.    So to make our meal complete, I thought it would be fun to make Naan bread.    The process of making this bread is very easy but take a long time.

Naan – serves 8

1 pound 8 ounces of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup yogourt
2 tbsps melted butter or vegetable oil, plus as needed for garnish
3/4 tsp yeast
1 or 1 1/4 cups warm water, or as needed

The first step is to mix all the ingredients (except the water) in a bowl.    And then you gradually the water and knead until you get a smooth, soft dough.   This will take about 10 minutes.   I will admit that I cheated a bit here as I took my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook to do this part.  It was faster and I could proceed to do something else at the same time.

After 10 minutes of kneading, all you have to do is put the dough aside in a warm place and wait six hours.    In the meantime, you could prepare the rest of your meal if needed be.

Six hours later, we made tennis ball size pieces of dough and let it stand once again in a warm place for one hour.

Here’s what the dough looked like an hour later…


The next step consist of flattening each ball and spread it whether with a rolling pin or by hand.   I did it with my two hands and stretched the dough one at a time.   I them placed them on a cookie pan and asked my son, Dominic – age 8, to brush them with a little bit of melted butter.


The oven must be preheated at 475 degrees to cook them for about 4-5 minutes.   I think my dough were too thick as it took about 10 minutes to get them golden.   I also re-heated them when the time for supper was closer.



The second recipe I made for our Easter meal was the Masala Shrimps.   Here’s the recipe.

Masala Shrimp

1 tsp cayenne pepper or Indian chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1 pound and 8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
1tbsp vegetable oil
1 key lime, cut into eights
24 cilantro leaves
1 small avocado, cut into small-dice

The first thing you need to do to combine all the spices together and rub the mixture on the shrimps.  Once that’s done, you set the bowl aside for 15 to 30 minutes. 


Then in a large sauté pan containing the oil, fry the shrimps over medium-high heat until they lose their translucency.  This is quite fast and be careful not to overcook them.


The final meal including the tandoori chicken, the raita sauce (both taken from the Around the World CookBook. ) and the pieces of avocado.


Though I realized that having more vegetable would have been preferable, we had a great time with our friends and the meal was delicious.    I’m happy it turned out perfect and than everyone went for seconds!

Afterwards, we did a little Easter egg hunt with the kids including our friends’ son who did it for the first time as he is not even two years old yet.

The recipe book contains recipes from China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.     You will find everything to plan a meal with your family and friends.    The table of content will indicate the pages where you can find the

  • appetizers & small plates
  • soups & noodle soups
  • salads & vegetables
  • meats
  • seafood
  • noodles, rice & breads
  • chutneys, pastes, & sauces
  • sweets, drinks, & desserts

The recipes are easy to follow and are mouthwatering.   The only disappointment I would have is that there isn’t a picture on each recipes.   I personally prefer seeing the final result in a picture.   I find it motivate me more to do the recipe if I like what I see.    It doesn’t have to be next to the recipe though.  It could simply have a series of pages containing the different meals in them set up as a table for example.   Needless to say, this cookbook is inspiring and I am looking forward to try out new Asian recipes like the Vietnamese spring rolls or the Korean lettuce wrap with spicy beef for example.

If you are tired of always making the same meals every day, I would like to challenge you in trying something new and out-of-the-ordinary.   The flavors of Asia is definitively the cookbook that will bring new flavors in your mouth.  

Flavors of Asia is available at your favorite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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