If you are new to vegan cuisine, or just wanting marvellous Asian foods, I cannot recommend this book enough.
A beautifully presented, well organised book which does as it claims and presents a variety of Asian favourites in vegan style. Each section of the book is colour-coded with the first including an Introduction, Recipe Notes, Pantry Essentials, Equipment and Basic Recipes and Techniques, followed by sections on India, Thailand, Singapore & Malaysia, China and Japan. The final section includes Mix and Match leftovers and the index.
Not being vegan myself, several items regularly used necessitated some searching for me but were well worth the effort as the recipes I have tried have so far been delicious and worth the effort. Side notes to make recipes gluten-free are also very helpful.
Unfortunately the font is very small and requires you to position the book where you can come back and look carefully at the recipe, and in such a place as the shiny surface does not catch the light.
Author comments about each recipe before the cooking directions give a personal touch that adds to the familial feel of the book as a whole. The times given are very accurate and the measures provided allow for generous serves when planning.
Salted Cumin Lassi (page 60)
The first recipe I have highlighted is one that is quick and easy to prepare and one that can accompany any dish with a level of spice or heat that may need to be smoothed for a less then robust pallet. Salted Cumin Lassi from India is a creamy drink that is a refreshing accompaniment to any style main course with a touch of zing.
Tom Yum Soup (page 75)
A classic soup enjoyed by many as a starting place for Thai meals, Tom Yum has a spot that warms the heart as a go-to recipe. This mushroom vegan version from Thailand is very tasty when served straight after cooking but is even better if given time for the flavours to meld. The forty-minute turn around has to do with your cutting skills and how long it takes for the soup to boil, so it may take a little longer. Served with steamed Asian buns or spring onion pancakes from China (page 160), it is a wonderful, quick meal.
Kofta Curry (page 56)
The final recipe I chose was Kofta Curry from India. This is wonderful. Making the rice/lentil balls is a little fiddley but well worth it. The sauce is quite spicy so you may need to decrease the chili powder. I will be using ¼ rather than ½ tsp next time and was glad to have the lassi already made. As this was the main course, each adult had 5 balls which meant everyone was extremely full. I recommend making the balls slightly smaller and making up to 24 rather then 20, and serving six people 4 each as a main.
If you are new to vegan cuisine, looking for options for marvellous Asian foods or just looking for a different recipe book, I cannot recommend this book enough. Be aware of the font size, if giving the book as a gift, but it is really worth the effort either way.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: January 2019
RRP: $39.99 hardcover