Asian After Work by Adam Liaw book review

Asian After Work

Asian After Work by Adam Liaw is written to provide recipes for simple food every day. The book is divided into days of the week, and also includes a section on basic Asian sauces. You’ll need access to an Asian supermarket as many of the recipes contain specialist ingredients, such as sake, Sriracha chilli sauce and Shaoxing wine.

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Be tempted by pork and prawn wontons, coconut and tamarind pork belly, BBQ Genghis Khan, pi pa roast duck or master stock poached chicken breast. 

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Enjoy some of your favourite takeaways at home with teriyaki chicken, a healthy version of sweet and sour pork, dumplings, and Singapore noodles.

We tried the sang choy bao recipe and was pleased with the result. It took around 30 minutes to prepare and cook, so it was an ideal dish to have ‘after work’.

There is only a handful of dessert recipes.

Asian After Work Adam

Asian After Work by Adam Liaw is overall a good solid accessible Asian cookbook. It is ideal for beginners who have less than an hour to prepare a meal.

Asian After Work by Adam Liaw

Book review: Two Asian Kitchens by Adam Liaw

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Two Asian Kitchens is the first cookbook written by Adam Liaw, who was Australia’s MasterChef winner for 2010. It covers dishes from Japan, Malaysia, China, and Thailand, reflecting his heritage and where he has lived.

The book is divided into four clear sections. The first section is the Pantry, which includes recipes for basic Asian style sauces, stock and pastes. The second section is techniques, which includes detailed instructions on making donburi, dumplings, sushi, stir-frying, fruit liquours and tempura.

The bulk of the book then breaks into traditional recipes for the Old Kitchen, and more modern fusion style recipes in the New Kitchen. Nearly every recipe has a full page colour illustration. The Old Kitchen section includes recipes for Hainanese Chicken rice; Yakitori moriawase; Katsudon; Char Siew pork neck; and Lemon Chicken. The New Kichen will tempt you with recipes for Laksa fried chicken; Rum and lemongrass roast pork belly; Green tea and pea corquettes; Farmers Union iced coffee pudding with tea smoked chocolate and five spice tenkasu.

The highlight of the book is the awe-inspiring  and imaginative Seven Lucky Gods (Shichifukujin), which drew generous commendations from the MasterChef judges. It is a collection of skewers where each one represents a specific Japanese god and their attributes and influences.

We cooked two dishes from the book – an authentic aromatic Pho soup; and deliciously naughty but nice Fennel and black pepper pork belly with pork condiment.The first was time consuming but worthwhile, the second I got lost in the instructions but it still tasted divine.

You may need access to a specialist Asian grocery store to source some of the ingredients.

Two Asian Kitchens – buy on Amazon.com
Two Asian Kitchens – buy on Fishpond.com.au
– by Adam Liaw

Book review: The Urban Cook by Mark Jensen

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The Urban Cook by Red Lantern chef, Mark Jensen focuses on cooking and eating for a sustainable future. You may be familiar with him from the television show Ready Steady Cook. The book features over 100 modern seasonal recipes, often with an Asian bent.

There is a generous proportion of vegetable based recipes and I would have liked this section split into sides and mains. It features recipes for Eggplant and mozzarella bake; Zucchini, tomato, olive and feta gratin (using Poor Man’s Parmasen); and Chinese cabbage, fried noodle and black pepper salad. A sample recipe is available for Marinated summer radishes with currants, mint and chive dressing (PDF).

The Meat and Seafood sections contains recipes such as Yabbies cooked in tomato, chilli and black pepper sauce; and Lamb breast rolled and stuffed with mince, pine nuts and coriander. Mark Jensen says: “Yabbies are a great sustainable alternative to prawns. They are farmed in inland ponds, and any waste they produce can be filtered from the water and used to fertilise the land.”

He recommends using The Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide to help you make a wise shopping choice.

Mark also encourages us to use all parts of the animal, and uses secondary cuts of meat in recipes such as Beef cheeks braised in beer with aromatic spices; and Gremolata crumbed deep fried lamb’s brains.

Finish in the Dessert section and be tempted by Chocolate roulade with hazelnut cream; or an Asian fruit salad with agar agar jellies and coconut cream.

The Urban Cook – buy on Amazon.com
The Urban Cook – buy on Fishpond.com.au
– by Mark Jensen