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Balance and Harmony: Asian Food Hardcover – October 1, 2008
100 Books for a Lifetime of Eating & Drinking
If you want to make an authentic tagine, bake mouth-watering cakes, or vicariously experience the life of a chef, you’ll find the book for it on this list.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is a tribute to Neil's continuing and unabashed love of Asian cuisine and came out around the time he launched one of his new restaurants in Sydney called Spice Temple and if you get a chance go!!
There are recipes in this book which are truly simple in nature and execution such as the chilli salt squid which is quite spicy but great with a cold beer on a hot day. There are also quite involved and challenging recipes which have multiple processes and steps.
The book is organized into sections titled "finding balance and harmony in the kitchen", "basic techniques and recipes" and "advanced recipes and banquet menus"
Neil does a very good job of explaining the various ingredients used in the book and explains the techniques used, giving various recipes under each technique chapter.
Often I have found that people do not enjoy Asian food as much as I do and I think one of the reasons for this is that they either cook or choose and unbalanced menu, say choosing all stir-fry dishes or everything deep-fried. Reading Neil's book will help as he provides achievable menu suggestions in his banquet menu section. Asian food is designed to be shared and to have a balance of tastes, textures and ingredients.
Overall, a beautiful cookbook with wonderful photographs by Earl Carter and achievable recipes for all levels of skill and best of all it takes you through a fine journey of Asian cuisine.
My experience for cooking chinese was to throw some meat and veg in a wok with some sauce and going from there - this was always very underwhelming so I turned to Neil Perry's book.
After a few months of using the book, I have to say that it is the best cookbook that I've ever bought. It has so many recipes which cover a wide variety of flavours, textures and techniques and the dishes really have a great authentic taste to them.
The book is broken down into basic techniques such as steaming, stir-fry's, braising and deep frying and then later on by poultry, beef, fish etc. Neil attempts to educate the reader by encouraging you to taste and to understand the balance in the dishes, usually between salt, sweet, spice and sometimes sour.
I've built up a little Asian pantry with some of the key condiments and a lot of the stir-frys are great as they taste great and are pretty quick to do during the week after work.
There is a Master Stock Chicken recipe in their which I've recently done and it is fantastic. The most succulent, delicate chicken you could ever eat and a real authentic taste - we ate half the chicken one night and then the next night ate the other half deep-fried to make the best crispy skin chicken.
Really, a great great book.