Asian food has become a bit of a staple in our house. When we’re sick, I make egg drop soup. When we’re unprepared, I make pad see ew. When we want something addictive and amazing, I make mongolian beef and noodles. When we’re poor, I get creative with Top Ramen and my asian sauce shelf. If I could have some sort of asian food for every meal, I would. And I would be very happy.
I’m always excited to find new asian cookbooks, but I’m often disappointed to find that the recipes are overly complicated and involve ingredients I just can’t get my hands on out here in central Indiana. I’m very aware how easy asian food is to make, but am always disappointed to find cookbook authors making it more complicated than it has to be. I’m not trying to cook incredibly authentic dishes found only in Northern Thailand that will require special ordered ingredients and an entire day’s work. Is there no such thing as simple, quick, and easy asian food?
Yes, there is. Lucky Peach put together 101 recipes that fit that bill. Peter Meehan is standing up for the everyday little guy who has a family and a job and lives in the suburbs of real world America and doesn’t have loads of time to dedicate to making a dinner. In the introduction, Meehan writes, “We appreciate hyperspecific, traditional recipes that call for truly hard labor and criminally obscure ingredients as much as the next nerd; we and many of our friends often cook and write recipes in that vein. But we all work long hours and come home hungry to cold kitchens, or have kids to feed, or want to cook because, when days are chaotic, there is a restorative beauty to the order and purpose of cutting things up and turning them into sustenance. For whatever else you can’t control, you can put dinner on the table. The recipes in this book are meant to be fuel for those moments, solutions to those situations.”
Meehan understands that we might need to use packaged broth for our slow-cooker pho and finds many ways for us to use whatever leftover foods we have lying around. He gives insider tips for making the egg in your fried rice fluffy and delicious, not overcooked questionable globs in your rice. He kindly informs us that the sticky sweet chicken we get at the mall isn’t really chinese food, but gives us the recipe anyways. He gets us. He gets what we want and what we have the time and money for.
With the ingredients I’ve collected from my local asian market, I can easily make most of these recipes without even making a trip to the store. They have a guide at the beginning of the book to show you what ingredients you should have on hand if you plan on using this cookbook a lot, and with a pantry fully stocked, you’ll be ready to make delicious asian dishes in no time.
With most of my cookbooks, I make a list of all the recipes I love or really want to try (with page numbers) and stash it in the front of the book so I can quickly find those recipes when I’m ready to cook. However, I could not make such a list for this book. Every recipe is one I want to try and thankfully I don’t doubt I could make every single one. Their pad see ew has already become a staple in our house and their “odd flavor sauce” is perfect for those nights when all I can do is cook up a frozen chicken breast and steam some rice.
Lucky Peach’s 101 Easy Asian Recipes has quickly become my new favorite cookbook. You can rarely find it on my bookshelf as I’m constantly pulling it out for more inspiration or meal planning. And when I’m not consulting this cookbook for fantastic recipes, I’m reading it’s hilarious introductions and thoughts on the recipes. Thank you Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach, for making a cookbook just for me.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review which was an awesome Christmas present. Rest assured I’m being very honest in this review and I’d pay a lot of money for this book because I love it so much.