Wonderfully corrupt homemade recipes.
Want to learn how to incorporate some of the wonderful flavors of Asian cuisine into your everyday meals? Momofuku founder David Chang and author of Indian-ish Priya Krishna has joined forces to share new-age versions of traditional meals learned at home.
This information-packed cookbook goes beyond recipes and covers multiple topics, with expert advice on questions you’ve probably sought answers to online, including to use frozen or fresh? Wash the meat or not?
One of the best parts of this book is the different cooks’ palates and cooking styles. In cooking at home, it’s clear that the two writers have quite different styles with Dave rather relaxed at breaking all the rules and Priya openly criticizing or suggesting improvements on what Dave considers necessary. She also adds her own style.
A number of these non-recipes include ingredients from many different countries’ culinary attributes, so it’s interesting to see the blends while learning how to really cook, i.e. you’re learning to use your taste buds tastes, not measurements.
In fact, you don’t even need measuring cups or utensils because the authors don’t believe in them. This book teaches you how to cook by taste, feel and practice, realizing that ratios need to change depending on how ripe or fresh a product is.
They also dispel the common misconception that traditional dishes are synonymous with dishes that take time. As such, this book appeals to many audiences, from modern executives to parents to brave cooks.
Some fonts are a little too big and decorative, which makes it a bit difficult to read. But as a cookbook it’s probably ideal because the pages are thick, smooth and easy to clean – perfect for cooking but less appealing to sit down and read.
I tried two different recipes. The first is a snack, vegetarian and ready to eat; I would never have considered cooking potatoes in the microwave as they can sometimes take quite a while to soften when boiling. On pages 306-307 is a recipe for salt-crusted potatoes, which promised them cooked in 5-15 minutes, depending on size and quantity.
Potatoes in a salt crust (page 306)
Immediately skeptical but wanting it to be true (like a fantastic time saver), I was somewhat reassured to see that Priya (the pickiest cook) was also a big fan of microwaved vegetables. I included the fork in the photo to show the sizes of potatoes used. I also used a microwave-safe container; the recipe does not specify if a normal container would also work. It simply says “container with lid”.
The result? Much better than the traditional potato boiled in water because the consistency of the inside of the potato is similar to that of a roast potato. It even outperforms a roast potato as we save on energy costs – something to keep in mind this winter.
The instructions are simple and what you serve them is up to you. You can easily make a small meal out of it. For me, the first satisfaction is the discovery of a new cooking technique, cheap and easy. Since no water is used (something I struggled with at first) you also maximize the nutritional content which is a big bonus. I will never go back to boiling potatoes on the stove.
Bindae-tteok (page 377)
There are several reasons I chose to feature and try this as my other recipe.
Like the potato recipe, it’s a great snack, but it can also be converted into a meal with additional ingredients. It’s an inexpensive, gluten-free, vegetarian meal that uses lentils or mung beans as a base, rather than rice or wheat. Since this is an egg-free batter, I was also curious to see how well it would stick.
The result? The dough sticks together easily, making them easy to cook. The dip is a necessary accompaniment to this savory snack, because although wonderfully light and crispy with a soft interior, the patties without sauce are plain.
Even if you know a lot about cooking and are quite adventurous, this book gives you the confidence to use a few extra sauces or spices you may not be familiar with, in different ways.
Reviewed by Rebecca Wu
This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.
Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Published: December 2021
Recommended retail price: $49.99