This is the first cookbook review I've done, and I hope it will not be the last.
I love Asian food. Ginger is one of those things that I just love, but yet I rarely cook with it. My family, you see, is Exhibit A in the case for picky eaters. But I've learned that I can get some food by them if I'm not quite honest about its ingredients.
Let's begin by talking about the recipes. Leemei Tan presents food from Japan & Korea, China, Philippines & Indonesia, Malaysia & Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam, and India & Sri Lanka. As I looked through her offerings, I thought I would start with something I knew my family would eat: chicken teriyaki. If you've like me and think teriyaki is something you buy bottled, then you must try Tan's recipe. It's homemade! From scratch! And it's easy! Even better, it tastes really, really good. Not only can you find the ingredients in most supermarkets - if they've got it in my one horse town, they'll have it in yours - but Tan extends the meal from just chicken to chicken with rice and spinach. Yummalicious.
Next, I tried Bibimbap, only because it features a fried egg on it. I can sell anything to my husband and three screaming kids if it has a fried egg on it. This is a bowl with beef, rice, mushroom, carrot sticks, spinach and bean sprouts, with that egg on top. And it tastes really good. The prep work takes a bit - you will be chopping for more than a few minutes - but it's worth it. The soy sauce taste doesn't take away from the beef and veggies.
I figured I should go for a dessert, and the Sri Lankan Crispy Pancakes looked interesting. I struggled with this one, only because the pancake is similar to a crepe in terms of how much of the stuff you put in the pan. But the batter has yeast in it and it not as runny as crepe batter is. You put some coconut and sugar on the pancakes to make them sweet, or you can use an fried egg. I haven't tried the fried egg version yet, but I will. I might also try some semisweet chocolate chips on the pancakes, just because I'm curious if I can add chocolate to the mix.
The photos are clean and clear, and the recipes are approachable. If you need a sauce, Tan provides the recipe. There are not hundreds of recipes, either, which I liked, because it made it easier to determine which ones I wanted to try first.
If you think that Asian cooking is intimidating, you need to re-think that notion. Leemei Tan's Lemongrass and Ginger delivers recipes that you can prepare and, even better, taste good.
The only reason this gets 4 stars instead of 5 is that most of the recipes will not go over well with my picky eating family. Everything I tried, though, earns 5 stars.