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Trang takes the reader on a journey of Eastern culinary discovery as seen through a practiced Western culinary lens. Explaining how and why Chinese cuisine is at the root of all Asian cooking, she describes in familiar terms the techniques that incorporate the five senses and embody the Chinese "yin yang" philosophy of balanced opposites. Trang uses Asian ingredients commonly found in supermarkets and through mail-order sources -- such as fish sauce, lemongrass, and rice noodles -- to guide home cooks through the preparation of healthy, sensual meals. She illuminates the mysteries of authentic Asian cooking, explaining the aromatic herbs and spices that make Asian cuisine vibrant, colorful, and distinctive.
Trang brings together more than three hundred traditional and cutting-edge recipes for condiments, appetizers, main courses, vegetables, and sweets and drinks from China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Mouthwatering items include Chinese Scallion Pancakes, Filipino Fried Spring Rolls, Spicy Indonesian Crab Fried Rice, Japanese Miso-Marinated Black Cod, Japanese Spring Water Tofu with Sweet Sake Sauce, Stir-Fried Leafy Greens, Chinese Pork Ribs with Black Bean and Garlic Sauce, Green Tea Ice Cream, and Thai Coffee.
In organizing the book by type of food, Trang allows cooks to see both the common elements and the distinctive individualities of Asian national and regional cooking. Trang explains the roots of major recipes and discusses where they appear in various guises in different countries. Vietnam's "Canh Ca Chua" (Hot and Sour Fish Soup), for example, can also be found in Cambodian, Indonesian, and Thai cuisines; Trang provides the recipes for both the master soup and its variations.
Trang includes a comprehensive glossary of Asian ingredients, plus a detailed list of resources for purchasing special ingredients and equipment. She offers sample menus, including a Chinese Dim Sum, a Filipino Dinner, and a Japanese Lunch. A special section on "feng shui" demonstrates how to organize and beautifully present a meal.
In this lavishly designed and illustrated volume, more than eighty-five original black-and-white and color photographs bring to life the ingredients, dishes, and people of Asia. The book is rich with personal anecdotes and intriguing information about Asian culture, and nowhere else will you find such a clear, comprehensive, and accessible treatment of Asian cuisine. More than a cookbook, "Essentials of Asian Cuisine" is a celebration of exotic culinary delights.
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