Recently, a friend asked me for a recommendation of a good cookbook to give her mom for her birthday. You would think, with the amount of cooking I do, that would be a fairly easy question to answer but it isn’t easy to answer at all. What makes a cookbook good is so subjective, the question is almost impossible to answer. What makes a cookbook good for me may make it the worst cookbook ever for you. There are so many variables in why constitutes a good cookbook I am not even going to try and recommend cookbooks for you. Instead, I am going to share my favorite cookbooks with you and let you decide if they would qualify as a good cookbook for you.
First up is Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes. One thing I thinks qualifies a cookbook as good is it makes you want to get in the kitchen and cook. 101 Easy Asian Recipes does that for me in spades. Every time I look through the book, I find another recipe I want to try. So far, I have tried 17 recipes. The food tastes good. The recipes are reliable. Most of the recipes are quick and easy.
One thing I usually hate in a cookbook is when the recipes use a lot of ingredients I can’t easily find at my local grocery store. In this cookbook, almost every ingredient is something I had to go to the Asian market for or order online. I am lucky to have two incredible Asian markets in my hometown that I visit frequently that had the majority of the ingredients I needed for what I wanted to try. If you aren’t as lucky, and don’t like ordering things online, you may want to skip this cookbook.
Okay, for most of us, the idea of cooking with seaweed is a little strange but I was looking for a side dish for the dumplings I was making for my Christmas eve dinner and knew I could get the ingredients for this recipe fairly easily, so I tried and loved it. If you are wanting to step outside your comfort zone and try something new, it is definitely worth the hunt for the ingredients in this recipe and many others in the book.
From The Lucky Peach Presents
1 oz Wakame seaweed
2 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
2 TBS minced scallion
1/2 tsp chili flakes
Soak the Wakame in cold water for 5 minutes or until tender, drain and pat dry. Slice the Wakame in 1/4-inch strips.
In a mediuml bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce and ginger. Add the seaweed, sesame seeds, scallion, and chili flakes and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.