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The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens

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Asian grandmothers — whether of Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Indian descent — are the keepers of the cultural, and culinary, flame. Their mastery of delicious home-cooked dishes and comfort food makes them the ideal source for this cookbook. Author Pat Tanumihardja has assembled 130 tantalizing dishes from real Chinese fried rice to the classic Asian grandmothers — whether of Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Indian descent — are the keepers of the cultural, and culinary, flame. Their mastery of delicious home-cooked dishes and comfort food makes them the ideal source for this cookbook. Author Pat Tanumihardja has assembled 130 tantalizing dishes from real Chinese fried rice to the classic Filipino Chicken Adobo to the ultimate Japanese comfort dish Oyako donburi. This is hearty food, brightly flavored, equally good to look at and eat. Flavors range from soy and ginger to hot chiles, fragrant curries, and tart vinegars. The author has translated all of the recipes to work in modern home kitchens. Many of them have been handed down from mother to daughter for generations without written recipes, and some appear in tested and written form for the first time. An exhaustive Asian Pantry glossary explains the ingredients, from the many kinds of rice and curries to unfamiliar but flavorful vegetables.


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Asian grandmothers — whether of Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Indian descent — are the keepers of the cultural, and culinary, flame. Their mastery of delicious home-cooked dishes and comfort food makes them the ideal source for this cookbook. Author Pat Tanumihardja has assembled 130 tantalizing dishes from real Chinese fried rice to the classic Asian grandmothers — whether of Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Indian descent — are the keepers of the cultural, and culinary, flame. Their mastery of delicious home-cooked dishes and comfort food makes them the ideal source for this cookbook. Author Pat Tanumihardja has assembled 130 tantalizing dishes from real Chinese fried rice to the classic Filipino Chicken Adobo to the ultimate Japanese comfort dish Oyako donburi. This is hearty food, brightly flavored, equally good to look at and eat. Flavors range from soy and ginger to hot chiles, fragrant curries, and tart vinegars. The author has translated all of the recipes to work in modern home kitchens. Many of them have been handed down from mother to daughter for generations without written recipes, and some appear in tested and written form for the first time. An exhaustive Asian Pantry glossary explains the ingredients, from the many kinds of rice and curries to unfamiliar but flavorful vegetables.

30 review for The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

    I was initially disappointed with this book because since the editor is from Singapore, I assumed there'd be more recipes from that part of the world (I was really hoping for a good laksa recipe!), but there are very few, especially compared to the number of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean recipes represented... there are a LOT of Chinese recipes. So yes, my first reaction was disappointment because Chinese recipes are pretty easy to find anyway - but at some point I realized that these are genuin I was initially disappointed with this book because since the editor is from Singapore, I assumed there'd be more recipes from that part of the world (I was really hoping for a good laksa recipe!), but there are very few, especially compared to the number of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean recipes represented... there are a LOT of Chinese recipes. So yes, my first reaction was disappointment because Chinese recipes are pretty easy to find anyway - but at some point I realized that these are genuinely Chinese American recipes. Not in a "cream cheese wonton" way, but in the way that these are exactly the dishes my mom made for me when I was growing up in the middle of nowhere in the American Southwest; these dishes won't be found at Panda Express, and they won't be found in China or Hong Kong - these are homecooking recipes made by transplanted mothers/grandmothers working with the American ingredients they had at hand. I'm assuming this applies to all the other Asian cuisines represented in the book as well - most of the Japanese recipes won't found be on your standard Japanese restaurant menu of teppanyaki and sushi and tempura - instead, they represent real homecooking. So, this is truly an Asian American cookbook, which is pretty special & distinct - although some unusual ingredients are called for at times that might require a trip to the Asian grocery store (kaffir lime leaves, chickpea flour), there's a lot of recipes that won't require anything beyond a trip to the local supermarket. I still would have liked for more cuisines to have been represented (I get that maybe it was hard to track down a Tibetan American grandmother, but again, the editor herself could have infused a little more of her own heritage in the cookbook so that it wasn't so heavy with the "usual suspects" - the one nice exception is Filipino cuisine; there are a good number of Filipino dishes, which you don't always see getting equal floor time in pan-Asian recipe collections), but there's definitely more than enough to keep me and other Asian-cuisine-loving homecooks busy. I would recommend that vegetarians check out the book from the library or the bookstore first - not sure there's enough for you in here....

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stepha

    i'm glad i didn't buy this impulsively because, based on the title alone, it's something i would typically buy on a whim. the recipes weren't really transcendent and it could have used way more pictures in it. loved the little vignettes on the contributing grandmothers. i flagged a few to type up, but i'm happy i just have it from the library. i'm glad i didn't buy this impulsively because, based on the title alone, it's something i would typically buy on a whim. the recipes weren't really transcendent and it could have used way more pictures in it. loved the little vignettes on the contributing grandmothers. i flagged a few to type up, but i'm happy i just have it from the library.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    What a great cookbook! I love Asian food and this collection of recipes from Grandmothers who have been cooking "plain" their whole lives is superb. Being a vegetarian I've had to tinker with a lot of the recipes but the results are fine to my taste buds since they haven't tasted the meated versions. What a great cookbook! I love Asian food and this collection of recipes from Grandmothers who have been cooking "plain" their whole lives is superb. Being a vegetarian I've had to tinker with a lot of the recipes but the results are fine to my taste buds since they haven't tasted the meated versions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    This cookbook is badass. In addition to being gorgeous, its recipes are fairly easy to follow and accessible, and it has beautiful narratives of different grandmothers throughout. Its regional treatment is a little skewed, but it's hard to be comprehensive and useful at the same time. Some materials may be harder to find for folks living in regions without Asian / Pacific Islander populations, but overall this is a great book for intermediate cooks. This cookbook is badass. In addition to being gorgeous, its recipes are fairly easy to follow and accessible, and it has beautiful narratives of different grandmothers throughout. Its regional treatment is a little skewed, but it's hard to be comprehensive and useful at the same time. Some materials may be harder to find for folks living in regions without Asian / Pacific Islander populations, but overall this is a great book for intermediate cooks.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Mostly cliche restaurant recipes intermixed with girl-power grandma stories. Didn't see much that really looked homestyle. In fact, I readily recognized many of the recipes as standard Asian restaurant fare. Mostly cliche restaurant recipes intermixed with girl-power grandma stories. Didn't see much that really looked homestyle. In fact, I readily recognized many of the recipes as standard Asian restaurant fare.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This is a very good book. The recipes are very delicious and do-able. Tried and true. There are stories of Asian Grandmother's lives and there is such an assortment of different Asian styles anyone could pick and choose what type they like. I like them all! This is a very good book. The recipes are very delicious and do-able. Tried and true. There are stories of Asian Grandmother's lives and there is such an assortment of different Asian styles anyone could pick and choose what type they like. I like them all!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    A nice set of recipes, interesting stories, and good-looking photos.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    I loved working with Pat on the photos for this book. Mmm... craving the beef and tomato stir fry as I type.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

    This is a great Asian cookbook. I copies about 10 of the recipes (which is a lot for me). I loved the stories about the grandmothers too! Very interesting and well done book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    Great reference and resource for making those fave dishes you grew up with.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Etty Kurnianingsih

    Great cooking book!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino

    Great resource for all types of Asian cooking. It's complete with references on ingredients, measurements, origins and great photos. Highly recommend this for anyone who loves Asian home cooking. Great resource for all types of Asian cooking. It's complete with references on ingredients, measurements, origins and great photos. Highly recommend this for anyone who loves Asian home cooking.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

  14. 5 out of 5

    Noodle

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Lee

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Leon

  17. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Lee

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Wilson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Scarlett

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mykhe

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Overway

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cory Tripp

  24. 5 out of 5

    Manintheboat

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mirriam Seddiq

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amalia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shimi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tedi

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tiger

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