In her award-winning Cracking the Coconut, Su-Mei Yu offered one of the best introductions to "cooking Thai" we have. Her Asian Grilling moves beyond Thailand to include the mouthwatering satays, kebabs, skewers, and other tempting grilled dishes from that country plus Vietnam, Korea, India, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. With Su-Mei's help, and an outdoor grill, this intensely flavored food is easy to prepare; readers should waste no time in trying any of her 85 recipes, including super versions of more "familiar" fare, like Mongolian-Chinese-Style Lamb Kebabs, as well as "newer" recipes such as Garlic-and-Pepper Shrimp and Kumquats, spicy Myanmar-Style Grilled Duck, and Grilled Scallops with Pineapple-Chile Glaze in Endive.
After providing key technical info (for authentic taste, Su-Mei champions use of the traditional mortar and pestle, though she also endorses the blender with a few procedural adjustments), she then offers her skewer repertoire, which can be matched with zesty dipping sauces and flavorful relishes like Tomato and Chile Sambal or Indonesian Peanut Sauce. Companion chapters, "Wrapped and Grilled" and "Grilled and Wrapped," present alternative versions of traditional case-cooking in dishes like Grilled Marinated Catfish in Banana Leaves and Korean-Style Grilled Beef in Lettuce. Equally tempting are recipes for grilled salads like the feasible-to-fix-after-work Thai-Style Grilled Eggplant Salad; noodle and rice dishes, including Soba Noodles with Grilled Vegetables and Sesame-Ginger Dressing; and grilled desserts, such as Grilled Mangoes with Ginger Syrup. With a separate section on making the required spice blends and pastes, tips on shopping, and color photos throughout, the book opens grilling vistas to those of us inclined to simply throw some hamburger on the barbie again, for want of a better way. The dishes are also just plain fun to prepare. --Arthur Boehm
Yu, owner of the restaurant Saffron in San Diego, Calif., here presents sophisticated grilled entrees and salads from Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. Cooks used to combining spices, a process more thoroughly explained in Yu's first book, Cracking the Coconut, will benefit from meals flavored by, for example, dry roasted white peppercorns and cumin seeds. In Savory Mushrooms in Banana Leaves, there are no fewer than 17 ingredients; however, most of them are for the spice paste. Making things easier, several marinades for example the coriander-and-lemongrass-infused Nonya-Style Chicken or Pork Satay can sit overnight. Meat and fish entrees meant for entertaining, such as Salt-Grilled Yellowtail Tuna and Grilled Duck, Pineapple and Bitter Greens Salad are balanced by quick vegetarian recipes, such as Indonesian-Style Grilled Vegetables with Peanut Dressing and Grilled Vegetables in Rice Paper. Grilled Curried Lamb Wrapped in Radicchio and Garlic-and-Pepper Shrimp and Kumquats are standouts. Those who want to add special condiments to simply grilled food will appreciate the sauces chapter (there is also a short chapter on grilling fruits). Overall, Asian-food lovers will appreciate Yu's undiluted approach and creative exuberance.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.