10 Best Asian Cookbooks | December 2016

10 Best Asian Cookbooks
Best Mid-Range
★★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
When you finally get tired of grilled cheese sandwiches, why not spice up your meals by learning some new dishes from one of these Asian cookbooks. You can go on a culinary tour of India, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and China, and we've included everything here from beginner's stuff to more advanced preparations that will impress any dinner guests. Skip to the best asian cookbook on Amazon.
10
The Indian Slow Cooker is beautifully illustrated with full color photos throughout. It has a focus on slow cooking recipes that use less oil and have less saturated fats, but this is only suitable for those willing to spend all day cooking; no quick weeknight meals here.
  • has an indian spices 101 chapter
  • makes a good introduction to indian food
  • recipes make huge quantities
Brand Agate Surrey
Model pending
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
9
Pok Pok covers a range of Northern and Southern Thai dishes in a unique style that holds a quaint charm for some, but others find a bit jumbled. It does a great job of explaining Thai flavor profiles, which may help you create some of your very own Thai dishes.
  • makes a great ingredients reference book
  • must follow recipes exactly
  • better for experienced cooks
Brand Ten Speed Press
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
8
Asian Pickles covers everything from Indian chutneys to Korean kimchi to Japanese tsukemono, so you can make the perfect accompaniment to any dish. If you have a fetish for pickles and are looking for new and exciting pickling options, you'll love this book.
  • contains a vast array of quick pickles
  • includes an ingredients dictionary
  • doesn't include any full meal recipes
Brand Solomon, Karen/ Martine
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
7
Japanese Farm Food offers a glimpse into what life is like on rural Japanese farms through a collection of recipes and real life personal stories. It celebrates rustic Japanese food with a focus on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.
  • 350 stunning photographs
  • demystifies japanese cooking
  • format is not very user friendly
Brand Hachisu Singleton, Nanc
Model pending
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
6
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge doesn't focus on a particular ethnic food, but rather a specific way of cooking with more than 100 classic stir-fry recipes. It is designed to help you become a stir-fry master and outlines the fundamental wok tools.
  • includes recipes from all over asia
  • emphasizes use of healthy vegetables
  • author comes across as a food snob
Brand Young, Grace/ Needham,
Model pending
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
5
Japanese Soul Cooking is a collection of more than 100 recipes that introduce Japanese comfort food to Americans and makes it approachable at the same time. If you want a culinary tour of Japan and don't have the cash for a trip, this is the next best thing.
  • tells the origins of popular dishes
  • well laid out food categories
  • foolproof recipe instructions
Brand Ono, Tadashi/ Salat, Ha
Model pending
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
4
Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen will help expose you to new spices and flavors that you might have previously found intimidating, and teach you to create exotic and healthy Indian food. It also includes a number of mouthwatering desserts.
  • makes vegetables the star ingredient
  • designed to simplify complex procedures
  • replacement spices indicated if possible
Brand Hingle, Richa
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
3
Momofuku by David Chang has revolutionized how Americans cook Asian food with his dedication to mastering the humble ramen and other pork dishes. It's more than just a cookbook as it also tells the stories behind the creation of many of the recipes.
  • tells the story of chang's rise to fame
  • gives advice on storing extra food
  • includes a number of creative techniques
Brand Chang, David/ Meehan, P
Model pending
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
2
Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking covers all types of traditional Korean comfort food from simple, few-ingredient dishes to complex restaurant style fare. The book has a full glossary of terms and ingredients that will help familiarize you with the mainstays of Korean food.
  • whole chapter on kimchis and pickles
  • has step-by-step photos
  • substitution suggestions when possible
Brand Kim, Maangchi/ Chattman
Model pending
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
The Slanted Door has a number of modern versions of traditional Vietnamese recipes, along with stories from the famous San Francisco restaurant of the same name. It is extremely well written with easy-to-follow recipes and stunning images of the finished dishes.
  • written by award winning charles phan
  • has many recipes with short prep times
  • uses easy to find ingredients
Brand Random House
Model pending
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Bringing Eastern Cuisine To Your Home

The term "Asian cuisine" can be used broadly to define the foods native to or inspired by a massive swath of the planet. Foods from regions as ostensibly disparate as southern India to Korea, Thailand to Japan, and Mongolia to Indonesia all fairly fall under the umbrella term of Asian food (sometimes also referred to as "Eastern"). This comes as no surprise, really, when one realizes that the greater continent of Asia accounts for more than 4.1 billion of the earth's inhabitants (the current global population is estimated to be around 7.5 billion people, for reference).

Given the diversity inherent, then, in Asian cooking, one might think that the best way to begin their own journey toward mastering a given cuisine is to simply find an Asian cookbook covering the foods of a region they already know they like. That, in fact, would be an oversimplification, though. For just as so-called Western cooking has changed and evolved in recent years, so too has the approach to food preparation changed globally. As just one clear example, consider a cookbook that would never have been seen just a generation ago, such as a guide dedicated to 100% vegan Indian cooking.

Also keep in mind that compared to many types of cooking (Americana and basic Italian, for example), adroit Asian cooking can be quite difficult to learn and master. A Japanese itamae (chef) typically works for five years before he or she even begins to prepare the rice used to make sushi; the full training may last twenty years. So be ready to be patient, and by all means start with a basic cookbook.

Once you know which general type of food you wish to prepare -- Japanese or Mongolian, e.g. -- it is then time to decide whether you approach the cuisine generally in terms of taste or preparation method. Many Asian cookbooks focus on the tools and techniques used in the preparation, such as the wok and stir fry cooking or the gear used in the process of pickling foods such as is common in much Korean cooking. Other books approach their recipes in terms of ingredients used. Both approaches will likely involve a good deal of investment in new gear, new staple foods, or both.

Finally, consider whether you prefer a book the reads more like a manual or more like a volume of prose. Many cookbooks (Asian and otherwise, of course) weave a story into their pages, telling tales of their author's life, of a given place or time, or taking some other narrative approach. Other books are much more matter-of-fact, focusing on lists of ingredients and step-by-step instructions. There is no right or wrong approach, merely that which suits your preference.

The Basic Ingredients of (Much) Asian Cooking

When many people think of Asian food, the first ingredient that comes to mind is soy sauce. And while indeed this tangy, sweet, and salty sauce is prominently used in many dishes, it is not nearly so common in authentic cuisine as Americanized Asian food would lead one to believe. That said, you will want to have a bottle of good soy sauce on hand -- consider a low-sodium option (and note that some brands offer gluten-free soy sauces as well, a must for those with Celiac disease).

The other sauces you should have on hand include a good chili sauce (Sriracha is considered a gold standard by many people), a fish sauce, a fermented rice cooking wine such as Mirin, sesame oil, and a rice vinegar. Also consider stocking several cans of coconut milk, particularly if you enjoy southeastern Asian cooking; Thai food in particular uses plenty of coconut milk.

Having a few lemons and limes on hand is also a good idea, though jars of their juice will serve if need be and will keep for many months in the refrigerator. Also make sure you have plenty of onions (white or yellow, ideally) as well as fresh cilantro, fresh ginger, and plenty of garlic, either fresh or in frozen cubes.

Also in the freezer should be plenty of chicken and pork, and perhaps some fish. As for non-perishable goods, you will need to have plenty of rice on hand. Also stock up on noodles (which will likely be made from rice). Keeping sesame seeds and peanuts can do much to enhance certain dishes, as can salt and even sugar. Also keep cans of chickpeas on hand for many Indian dishes.

Perfect Tools for Cooking Eastern Cuisine

If you already have a generally well-stocked kitchen, with a good array of knives, pots and pans, a decent stove and oven, and so forth, chances are you will not need any new tools or supplies to help you begin cooking Asian-style meals. But the right gear can not only make the process easier and more authentic, but can also make your cooking experience more enjoyable as well.

Many Asian meals are prepared in a concave large frying pan usually referred to as a wok. Many woks can be used with traditional gas or electric stoves, while others can even be placed over the heat of a charcoal grill or wood fire. Other woks provide their own heat, plugging in and using an electric heating element. If you want an authentic stir fry cooking experience, a wok is must-have tool.

A complete set of Japanese cook's knives is often comprised of more than two dozen individual cutting tools. If you are not ready to make the massive investment into that level of arsenal, at least procure a decent sashimi knife (also called a shobu-bocho) for preparing fish, a gyuto (which translates as "beef sword") for sawing at meats and chopping thick vegetables, and a nakiri for chopping leafy vegetables and other more tender foods. If you plan to make your own sushi, also get well-made bamboo rolling mats.

Traditional Korean cooking is often done on a flat iron plate that is heated over a stovetop, grill, or open flames. These plates are ideal for searing fish fillets and the highly popular thick cuts of pork belly so often found in Korean cuisine. A standard griddle can be used, but many chefs invest in a Korean grill plate largely thanks to their standard grease drains, which make foods healthier and cooking cleaner.

Finally, make sure you own or buy a good wooden spatula. Much Asian cooking involves constantly moving foods, and a wooden tool will not scratch your pots or pans.



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Last updated on December 15, 2016 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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