Phil's Cookbook Reads of 2021

phatch

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I'm starting to see the shipping problems crop up in the Asian sections of mainstream grocers and some of the smaller ethnic grocers. Bare shelves, selection and quantity limits. Produces seems pretty good still. I suppose a lot of that comes from US and Central American farms that aren't so cargo container constrained. Vietnamese things seems less impacted so far.
 
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That is worrying!
Hope I will still be able to get fish sauce.
Most of the other stuff I can sub or make
 

phatch

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Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food by Hsiao-Ching Chou

Leading contender for my favorite cookbook of the year by a good margin.

Excellent instructions on cooking, preparation and equipment. I learned a few new things. There were some helpful photos with a tape measure next to dried ingredients so that you can learn to properly scale what is available to you locally to what the recipes call for. Helpful labeled photos so you know what differentiates various similar vegetables.

A pretty good explanation of various tofu products available, and also more rice cake info than I've encountered before.

Good dumpling wrapping instructions, bao instructions, even a vegetarian soup dumpling.

A section dedicated to steaming, such a rare topic. A dish of steamed cucumber and mushroom reminded me of the ubiquitous smashed cucumbers and garlic, just now a steamed variation. Also a section on making some simple pickles and using them. I had naively wondered why she was talking about canning jars and lids in the equipment section. I appreciated her discusions of mixing vegetables and seasoning them free-style. Any theoretical approach to cooking is something I appreciate. She also gave a section on adding meat to the various stir fries if you so choose.

I was surprised that soup dishes extended into the Rice and Noodles section and not the Soups section. I can see the reasoning. I think a note listing (or linking in an ebook) the extra recipes and their location would have been a good step for completeness.

Seasonings seems a bit heavy on black bean garlic sauce and prepared sauce at that. I think it's better made for each dish, plus you get more control over the seasonings as you may prefer. The Hot and Sour Soup reached for white vinegar, a disappointment to me.

But a major win for sharing cooking knowledge and technique for all fans of Chinese cooking, whether omnivorous or herbivorous.
 
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I had a look at it on amazon. To me, her other book looks more interesting. Very interesting actually!
Unfortunately, you can't "see inside" the book. Just some pics but they are really small.
What measurements is she using?
I really dislike cups/spoons and ounces/pints etc.
I am seriously imperially challenged!
 
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Thanks
I'll have a look see
At the moment I'm going through my Indonesian cookbooks again.
Trying out recipes that I haven't tried before....
 

phatch

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I just started Coconut & Sambal on that cuisine. She's doing fritters and crackers that are entirely new to me.
 
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I've been eying that book for a while ;)
Some other good ones (a bit older)
Cradle of flavor by James Oselund and Indonesian regional food and cookery by Sri Owen

Fire island by Eleanor Ford looks interesting as well
 

phatch

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I encountered Cradle of Flavor once and wrote it in my list. But I've not found it at a library or bookstore for a better deeper look to decide about. I suppose that your recommendation will suffice to put it in the acquire category.
 
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:)

My main (go to) Indonesian cookbooks are in Dutch, and I get a lot of my recipes from the internet as well. There are a couple of sites I trust. Again, the main ones are in Dutch, but a couple in English as well.
I don't want to hijack your thread (as it is about cookbooks, not websites), so just let me know if you want the links
 

phatch

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I'll need to see how my interest develops to before its worth pursuing that I think. Thanks for the offer.
 

phatch

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A press piece on Mooncakes and Milkbread. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2021/10/17/books/book-reviews/mooncakes-milk-bread/ Not a review by any means.

I'm finding I'm not really clicking with Coconut and Sambal at the recipe level. I'm thinking the writing and content is fine, I'm just lacking context for the flavors. Heavier ground spice content than I was anticipating and coriander at that. I like ground coriander seed, but it's heavy proportion is surprising me. Lighter on the fermented flavors I'm more familiar with.
 
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I haven't got the book, so can't say if the amounts are disproportional.
Indonesian food is quite varied as they have loads of islands, all with their own regional food/habits etc
Generally, Indonesian food uses soy sauce, not fish sauce. Quite a bit of trassi (shrimp paste), not much coriander leaves. I've not noticed it being high on coriander seeds (some dishes are, but mostly not)
 

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