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Essentials of Asian Cuisine: Fundamentals and Favorite Recipes Hardcover – January 28, 2003


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Hardcover, January 28, 2003
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743203127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743203128
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.7 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For so many of us, Asian cuisine beckons like a beautiful tropical pool. And yet, the most we ever do is test the water with a tremulous toe or two. But now Corinne Trang, award-winning author of Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, has taken on the prodigious task of being both swimming teacher and siren, lifeguard and fearless mariner, to lure us into the deep water with her Essentials of Asian Cuisine.

At 590-plus pages, this is a big book. It is beautifully illustrated, for those who need to see where they are headed, and just as beautifully thought out, for those who want to get where they are going. The destination is the food of Asia, with China as the wellspring. The territory Ms. Trang has mapped includes Indonesia and the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan and Korea--as well as greater China. She does not pretend to be definitive--that would take an encyclopedia. Rather, Ms. Trang assures the reader that much of what they know of western cooking applies to the east. She begins with familiarity then builds in self confidence, chapter by chapter, recipe by recipe.

There are detailed sections on the Asian pantry, the basics of tools and techniques, an overview of the working fundamentals of building a dish or a meal. Then the book breaks out into chapters on "Condiments, Stocks and Starter Soups," "Rice, Noodles, Dumplings, and Bread," "Vegetables and Herbs," "Fish and Seafood," "Meat and Poultry," and "Sweets and Drinks." She ends her book with notes about Asian food rituals and sample menus and sources. The recipes are refreshingly short, concise, and to the point. A reader could begin by cooking what is already familiar, then expand into the many delicious alternatives Essentials of Asian Cuisine has to offer. Before you know it you'll be swimming like a natural without a second look back. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

There are some books you never knew you needed until they appear, and then you can't imagine how you did without them. Trang's newest (after Authentic Vietnamese Cooking) is an encyclopedic summation of the history, techniques, ingredients and recipes of the major Asian nations (China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines). It's an ambitious undertaking, but Trang delivers and shows an astonishing mastery of the often subtle differences among the cuisines. (For example, she clearly differentiates between three kinds of hot pots-Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese.) In this vast catalogue, some recipes are relatively familiar, like Bibimbap, Tempura, Hot and Sour Soup, Chicken Adobo; Curried Conch Shells, Fish and Coconut Custard and Oxtail braised in Peanut Sauce are more exotic. While some staples have not been included (such as Kungpao Chicken), the book can hardly be accused of brevity. A true instructor, Trang spends 60 pages on fundamentals before offering any cooking instruction. She fills out each chapter of recipes with an extensive essay on the different permutations taken by shared ingredients-there are 140 pages on "Rice, Noodles, Dumplings, and Breads" alone. The protein chapters are somewhat less impressive; still, this volume should be a first port of call for home cooks eager to undertake a serious study of Asian cooking.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

"My deepest commitment is to exploring the relationship between culture and food. With this goal in mind, my books are loaded with information and tips that will give you insight onto the varied and colorful foods Asia has to offer. They are written with you in mind and focus on simple, authentic, and quick-to-prepare recipes, supported by beautiful photography to whet your appetite. Enjoy!"

Corinne Trang is an award-winning cookbook author, expert on Asian cuisines and cultures, beverage and food consultant, brands and commodities spokesperson, lecturer (NYU, Syracuse, University of Texas, etc...), and chef. A frequent radio and television guest (NPR, Business Talk Radio, Bloomberg, Martha Stewart Living Radio, CBS's "The Early Morning Show," ABC's "View From the Bay with Spencer Christian," NBC's "Today Show," FOX News, Discovery, Lifetime, TV Food Network, and more), she is the Chief East Coast Correspondent for America's Dining and Travel Guide (Business Talk Radio). For the latest on her current book tour please visit http://www.corinnetrang.com/schedule, and for up-to-the-minute info, follow her on http://twitter.com/corinnetrang.

Customer Reviews

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A good book, it met its review and my expectations.
Joe
Sure, "Asian cuisine" is a wide and diverse topic, but this book does an excellent job highlighting the unique characteristics of the various regions.
Bradley Nelson
This book is an essential purchase for anyone who loves cooking Asian cuisine -- or who wants to start!
Karen Page

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Tu Bright on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I think this might be a good book for individuals who are not very familiar with Asian cuisine and would like just a light touch of Asian flavors and spices in their dishes. But for someone like me who grew up eating down right bona fide home-cooked Asian foods, the recipes are very unauthentic and the ingredients and cooking methods are greatly downplayed. If I used these recipes to cook for my parents, who are Vietnamese, I woud probably get disowned. But again, I think it might be a good book for starters. The instructions to the recipes are very easy to follow. The author did take time to thouroughly explain each ingredient to the readers. GOOD LUCK!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Karen Page on July 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After admiring Corinne Trang's AUTHENTIC VIETNAMESE COOKING -- one of our very favorite books about one of our very favorite cuisines -- we were delighted to pick up a copy of her new book ESSENTIALS OF ASIAN CUISINE: Fundamentals and Favorite Recipes.
Corinne takes you on a mouth-watering tour of Asia, providing key information on the essential ingredients of the Asian pantry, basic equipment and techniques, an overview of the fundamentals, along with hundreds of recipes for soups, starches, vegetables, fish and seafood, meat and poultry, and sweets and beverages. She caps it off with information about food rituals and sample menus that will allow you to enjoy your cooking efforts with even greater pleasure.
Not only is Corinne a talented writer, but her own beautiful black-and-white photographs enhance the journey through her 592-page treatise on Asian cooking.
This book is an essential purchase for anyone who loves cooking Asian cuisine -- or who wants to start!
--Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page, James Beard Award-winning co-authors of BECOMING A CHEF, CULINARY ARTISTRY, DINING OUT, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT and THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I checked out this cookbook from the library and tonight I made the chicken adobo, which was incredible. The sauce chapter was particularly compelling as well as the soups and...really, every single chapter contained many recipes that I am anxious to try. I tend to check out cookbooks and type out particularly interesting recipes before returning them. With this cookbook, I found myself overwhelmed with the task and I finally had to give up. I never heard of Corinne Trang but every single recipe made sense, sounded utterly delicious and is very doable. I expect to use this cookbook with full confidence the next time I put together an Asian dinner. What a find.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By suzen o'rourke on July 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
So many cookbooks are published today without important information. They tend to be one similar reicpe after another with a little copy thrown in. Ms. Trangs book is a master work of Asian folklore and food. She clearly leads the reader into a world very few people know about. Her recipes are interesting, creative and well tested. This book is an important masterwork. I am sure it will be a best seller for a long time.
Suzen O'Rourke
Pres. Cooking by the Book, Inc.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on April 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a book for the beginning student of Asian Cuisines. It removes the mystery and introduces the real life mechanics and aesthetics of constructing delicious food using ingredients that are new to many Euro- and Afro-Americans.
Trang manages a very light touch in these recipes-the instructions are easy to follow and indeed sometimes you feel like you knew this stuff all along. Perhaps it's her unique background as a French-Cambodian child of the restaurant business that gives her this special sympathy to both the student and the thing explained.

There are a few must-do recipes here. The Lumpia dipping sauce (brown sugar, garlic) is one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-that accompaniments. In my house, it's been used to lend some interest to a variety of prepared foods bought to please the children. Indonesian Peanut Sauce is a perfect salad dressing in the delightful gado-gado mix of vegetables and it's also a way to get fussy eaters (children and Americans) to eat their veggies.

Trang is also adept at explaining the basics. Her instructions for making stock and her encouragement to do so are masterful and blissfully simple.

"The kitchens of the East were my nursery." Corinne Trang says, but this is a much better cookbook than one that might have been written about one's native cuisine. It's Trang's good fortune in having been a translator of traditions for herself that pays off for the reader.

Lynn Hoffman, author of New Short Course in Wine,The and the essential novel bang BANG: A Novel
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Nelson VINE VOICE on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sure, "Asian cuisine" is a wide and diverse topic, but this book does an excellent job highlighting the unique characteristics of the various regions. The amount of information on ingredients and techniques is staggering and should be applauded. This isn't just a collection of recipes, this is an in-depth tutor for learning Asian cuisine. As a chef, I find this book an invaluable reference source and at home, packed full of easy, flavorful dishes.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "design_euro" on July 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Essentials of Asian cuisine by Corinne Trang isn't just a cookbook. If you are looking for recipes, there are plenty of publications out there. However, if you want to understand what Asian cuisine is about, where it comes from and why are things prepared in a certain manner, then this a truly essential book you actually love to read . . . and yes, if you want to find the right ingredients it is a great guide, too.
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