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The Spice Merchant's Daughter: Recipes and Simple Spice Blends for the American Kitchen Hardcover – August 5, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307396282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307396280
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The perfumes of Malaysia practically float off the pages of this beautifully composed cookbook. With a Proustian nostalgia, cooking instructor Arokiasamy follows her nose back to Kuala Lumpur, where her mother ran a spice stall (and her great-great-grandfather transported spices for the English East India Company), mangoes were delivered to their home by bicycle and baths were enhanced with ginger-scented water. Her aim is to introduce turmeric, star anise and saffron to readers in a country where the term spice blend usually refers to Colonel Sanders's secret recipe. Here, spices are the very foundation of cooking; Arokiasamy demonstrates how concentrated sambal made from shrimp paste or a garam masala can be prepared in advance to simplify dishes in a time-strapped kitchen. Recipes circle her native Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Though Braised Pork in Caramelized Soy Sauce and Rice Noodles with Seafood and Basil, for example, are densely flavorful, they are also relatively easy to make. Arokiasamy is a natural teacher, offering useful cook's tips with how-tos for makingrice powder and peeling shallots. Suggested spice pairings, a list of shopping resources and a chapter defining the components of a spice pantry give cooks the tools for improvising on their own. Illuminating her techniques with vivid personal anecdotes, Arokiasamy offers a tantalizing glimpse of a rich, vibrant culture and all its scents and flavors. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

CHRISTINA AROKIASAMY, of Indian descent, was raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She began her culinary career working in her family’s kitchen and spice stall before cooking in various Four Seasons resorts throughout Southeast Asia. Arokiasamy opened the Spice Merchant’s Cooking School in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her family.

More About the Author

Christina Arokiasamy was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As a school girl; she could always smell her house before she could see it. Her mother, a well known spice merchant, had turned the home veranda into a bright canvas painted with spices, for drying under the tropical sun. This is where Christina Arokiasamy felt in love with spices.
Christina was a Chef at the world-class Four Seasons Resort in Thailand and the Four Seasons Resort in Bali, Indonesia. Her first cookbook,'The Spice Merchant's Daughter' received a starred review by Publishers Weekly 2008 and was awarded NPR.com 10 Best Cookbooks of 2008. In America, Christina Arokiasamy continues to bring awareness for healthy Southeast Asian cuisine through cooking classes. Christina Arokiasamy also leads gastronomic tours into the heart of her magical kingdom, the Spice Islands of Southeast Asia. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family.Please visit www.thespicemerchantsdaughter.com to know more about her.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
Many thanks to Author Christina Arokiasamy for sharing.
B. Pollard
A beautiful work of art, not only a cook book, but a lovely story book as well to broaden your horizons.
Welread Wonderer
We have absolutely loved every recipe we've tried, and been successful at making them!
Julie Behrens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By kiwanissandy VINE VOICE on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you notice the other reviews I think they all know the author personally or have taken her cooking classes at some point. Most of them have only written one review for Amazon and that being this book. A couple of them have written 2 so that leads me to believe that the other reviews while well meaning aren't necessarily unbiased. I would like to offer that review as I do not know the author, have never taken a cooking class nor have been paid by her to review the book.

This is it.

I enjoyed reading the book. While it is a cookbook it is also almost a diary. I enjoyed the first chapter where the author describes her childhood and growing enchantment with spices. I too have a similar memory but in rural Kentucky our smells were fat back and chitlins. Everyone remembers their own sweet smells from childhood. Ms. Arokiasamy does a wonderful job of leading us to hers.

One of my pet peeves is people describing most asian cooking as Thai cooking when in fact it is not. And the author knows that and shows us the differences between broad southeast asian cooking and its traditions. The author suggests introducing these spices slowly so that your family will become accustomed to their taste. I think I've heard you need to expose a child 10 times to a new food before they can truly decide if they like it or not.

She as many recipes for making your own spice blends and suggests adding the spice at the beginning of the cooking process if you want it milder in flavor and at the end if you want it strong. Helpful information to know about any spices.

There are recipes for curry powder, garam masala, fiery curry powder, lemon pepper rub, steak and chop rub. The steak and chop rub was delish.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence A. Kurfiss on August 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderful book brings the knowledge, wisdom, and passion for cooking to the world at large, that until now has been known to those of us fortunate enough to have taken part in Ms. Arokiasamy's cooking classes, at her Spice Merchants Cooking School, here in the Pacific Northwest. I received my (three!) copies today, and am delighted by the beauty and overall quality of the book.

Christina is a very gifted teacher and story teller, and in this book her passion for cooking and life comes through, almost as well as if she were in the kitchen with you, the reader, cutting up veggies, grinding spices, stirring sauces, and swapping stories.

This book is unlike any "cookbook" you may have ever read. It teaches you about spices, what they are, where they come from, and how to use them in your own cooking. There is a world of difference between the small, ridiculously expensive jars of "spices" found in most stores, to the real thing, which are surprisingly affordable, and available here in North America, if one knows where to find them, and how to use them.

Once you have tasted the dishes in this book, you will know that there is a lot more to Southeast Asian cuisine than what we have commonly seen in the West. When you try these recipes on your guests, they will demand that you tell them where you learned to cook this way. It's all in this fantastic book, which I wholeheartedly recommend to one and all.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Parker on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Spice Merchant's Daughter: Recipes and Simple Spice Blends for the American Kitchen

I have had the great fortune to spend 6 very full fabulous days, learning from Christina herself, how to cook recipes from this book. I feel extremely lucky that I can hear her voice every time I open the book. If you ever get the chance to attend her cooking school, do not pass it up. It is the chance of a lifetime!

This book is written very simply so the reader can understand the recipes. The stories that accompany the chapters help the dishes come alive. She is an amazing story teller and her passion for cooking comes across the pages. The begining of the book has an explanation of spices and herbs and advice on how to have a well stocked spice pantry so that you have all the tools to make these recipes happen.

The photos of the dishes are totally accurate and you can count on your dishes to look just as appealing. The colors and the flavors are nothing like American food. Since the class with Christina, I have had a very hard time "settling" for anything that didn't burst with flavor and cause a "party in my mouth" the way Christina's recipes do each and every time!

Christina believes in natural and healthy ingredients. I cannot wait until she writes another book that gives us even more!

I have had the pleasure of introducing her and her recipes to a University food service program and the guests are blown away by the offerings. People who used to dislike SE Asian food or Indian inspired flavors are asking for more. My point is that the recipes can be used for individuals or multiplied and used for groups.

The price is a steal for what you get from this book!

Keep an eye out for Christina's future works......this is only the begining!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Paris on August 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having taken many of Christina's classes, I can guarantee you that her recipes are the BEST. I wasn't fond of SE Asian cuisine until I took her classes. Her passion and knowledge of cooking are superb. This comes through in her book. She does a beautiful job teaching the reader to use spices in multiple ways. You will never use those little grocery store cans of spices every again. A top notch book by a terrific chef.
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