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The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens Paperback – August 21, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you missed out sitting by your grandmother's stove, or your family ethnicity doesn't happen to match the food you know you were born to eat, Patricia Tanumihardja's book goes a long way toward addressing that need. "a charming book." --The Boston Herald

Encompassing Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Indian grandmothers, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian Kitchens by Patricia Tanumihardja (Sasquatch, Oct.) features 130 recipes the author culled from Asian grandmas. The author, a food writer who unfortunately never knew her grandmothers, was nonetheless drawn to writing about Asian grandmothers' recipes, finding that grandmas tend to be keepers of the cultural--and culinary--flame. "In Asian cultures, you tend to have three generations living under one roof," Tanumihardja says. Grandmothers play a role of "passing on the culture and roots to their grandchildren." None of them cook with recipes, Tanumihardja found. "It was a pinch of this a dash of that." Although the women Tanumihardja talked to use flavors ranging from ginger to hot chilies, curries and vinegars, their food tends to be hearty and vibrantly flavored. And soy sauce seems to be ubiquitous. --Publishers Weekly, August 31, 2009

A new book deliciously weaves together generations-old recipes--and the stories of the women who cook them--in The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian Kitchens (Sasquatch Books, 2009). Patricia Tanumihardja, an Indonesian Chinese with her own memories of Asian cooking, has documented a number of family recipes--many of them in print for the first time ever--complete with insider tips from the grandmothers she cooked with. The book also features profiles of the women, highlighting the history behind each dish and revealing how cooking factors into the lives of Asian American families. --Asiasociety.org, September, 2009

Hundreds of exotic ingredients star in the 130-plus recipes in Patricia Tanumihardja's The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian Kitchens released Oct. 1. Tanumihardja gathered the food formulas from mothers, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers for the dishes that hail from Japan to India. Through a little investigative work and careful testing, Tanumihardja keeps the instruction simple. The result: a litany of innovative family meals and pieces of history that would make grandma, whatever her ethnic background, proud. --Monterey County Weekly, October 1, 2009

From the Inside Flap

The kitchen goddess is definitely the Asian American grandmother. She is the glue that holds the family together; the keeper of cultural and culinary tradition; the source of all things delicious, pungent, salty, and satisfying. Pull up a chair at the kitchen table and pick up some chopsticks--grandmothers who cook Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian, Thai, and Indian cuisine are in the kitchen stirring up culinary delights for you. What's your favorite? Crispy Shrimp Rolls or Shiu Mai or a satisfying bowl of Nepalese Nine-Bean Soup?

To compile the recipes for this gratifyingly expansive cookbook, author Patricia Tanumihardja (whose grandmother hailed from Indonesia) served as cultural historian, recipe transcriber, and surrogate granddaughter. How else could she garner the recipes for such dishes as Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste and Chilies, Pan- Fried Tofu Simmered in Sweet Miso Sauce, or Grandma Yangja's Cabbage Kimchi? These are the authentic dishes you don't necessarily find in restaurants: Steamed Meatballs with Tangerine Peel, Gingered Oxtail Stew, 1-2-3-4-5 Sticky Spareribs, and Clay Pot Lemongrass-Steamed Fish. And if you believe that the noodle was invented by an Asian grandmother, you are ready for a bowl of Pancit (Filipino Fried Noodles) or Ohn No Khauk Swe (Chicken Coconut Noodle Soup). This beautiful culinary tour of Asian American kitchens makes many cultural stops, with a panoply of flavors and a bountiful menu of dishes along the way. So even if you aren't fortunate enough to have an Asian grandmother yourself, double happiness can be yours by sharing and enjoying these enduring recipes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books; 1 edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157061752X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570617522
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thom Mitchell VINE VOICE on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For those of us who didn't grow up near our grandmothers or weren't lucky enough to grow up eating Asian American food - Ms. Tanumihardja brings us into the kitchens and cultures of so many amazing women. The recipes span the entire Asian Pacific region and Ms. Tanumihardja has taken the time to transcribe the recipes into easily understood and replicated instructions that clearly walk you through each step of making a dish. It's almost as if each grandmother is in the kitchen with you telling you all of her cooking secrets.

She also includes beautiful and informative photographs and descriptions of ingredients for all of the cuisines covered. She clearly illustrates the uses and differences of each variety of noodle, various vegetables, all of the sauces, etc. But she is also aware of that some ingredients can be hard to come by, and so helpfully lists acceptable substitutions where possible. As good as all of the recipes are though, I found the stories by and about the grandmothers just as interesting and at times moving.

I have a lot of Asian cookbooks but this one is my new favorite because of how much information it conveys about so many different cuisines, all from really interesting and amazing Asian-American grandmothers. This book is a perfect gift for yourself, or for anyone who wants to learn how to cook better Asian meals. I only wish this book had come out years ago because it has replaced most of my other Asian cookbooks. Buy this book, you will be glad you did.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patricia did a really good job in creating this cookbook with not just beautiful images but also the recipes are taste-proof (meaning that the dishes in this book has been cooked and for sure been worth the word - yummy!!! to be placed in the book!) This is indeed a great find as there is a lot of recipes and I know some of you out there prefer images, however this book is going to cook your way into your stomach. Do not be afraid to get one as this is on my top favorite cookbooks to choose from when cooking for friends!

Most of the dishes in here has been a long-time favorite, and I am licking my lips just typing about the it... heehee

A book not only has history of flavor, but also a mixed of wonderful imagination of taste!
Hope you will enjoy the book as much as I do and not be afraid to try try try!

Cheers :))
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patricia had done a spectacular job on writing this book. I hate it when you buy a cookbook and the author sometimes purposely leave out certain ingredients or steps because they do not want to review all of their secrets but with this book you will not have to worry about that because grandmothers never lie! I have tried out a few of the recipes and they are so yummy and most importantly they WORK! I highly recommend this book to whoever love to cook asian food and who else is better to learn how to cook than our grandmothers right? The pictures are beautifully done in this book too. It is a must have in your cookbook library!
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By D. Labrum on November 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American KitchensThis one book replaced three others ( I gave them away)it has the very best selections of Asian recipes I have ever seen. The recipes are explained so even a novice cook can prepare them. I love to cook and collect a wide selection of cookbooks for me to replace three books with this one is unusual . The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook is so complete you won't need another Asian cookbook.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best cookbooks I own. Visually, the book is beautiful from the photographs to the background patterns to the layout. More importantly though, the recipes are diverse, tasty, and the real thing. Who doesn't love that nostalgic well loved meal prepared by your grandma. Mine is across the country but I still remember all the holidays and large family meals. Here you find familiar favorites but also the more obscure authentic dishes. I look forward to finding out more of those secrets, usually passed down through families, that make a dish really special. Better get cooking!
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I LOVE THIS BOOK! It's especially useful because the ingredients are adapted to what is available (read:easier to find) in the U.S. market, yet they still maintain (somehow) that feel and taste of authentic Asian cuisine. Also, there are foods from many different regions of Asia, which makes for many interesting dishes and varied tastes. They even had a dish from Myanmar (not a very well-known country, but my mom was born there and reminisced about her childhood years enjoying that dish.) There are also pages with photos that help you identify what some of the ingredients look like. The pages that have "wisdom from the grandmothers/grandfathers" are interesting, but I personally didn't care too much for the history/personal accounts. Others might be, though, and they are insightful passages.

The detriment to having a physical book (as opposed to something that is online) is that it's a tad difficult to look up recipes, for example by main ingredient or even region. The book is categorized by meal type (like "appetizer" and "main dish".) There is an index, but sometimes I couldn't remember the name of the dish.
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