Pan-Asian Express: Quick Fixes for Asian-Food Fans

Barbara Witt, Author
Barbara Witt, Author Bantam Books $14.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-553-37405-6
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For those who love Asian food--whether Chinese or Thai, Indian or Vietnamese--yet feel too intimidated to tackle such cuisines at home, this inventive little cookbook offers a breezy and accessible way to start. Shifting the focus from authenticity to creativity, Witt, author of the James Beard Award-winning Great Foods Without Fuss, helps readers grasp ""the generalities of Asian cooking,"" which include such techniques as stir-frying and signature ingredients as cilantro and soy sauce. About half of the 100 recipes are streamlined, tasty versions of classic recipes like Pad Thai and Vegetable Spring Rolls. The rest are dazzling ""fusion"" recipes (e.g., Jakarta Tart, actually an herbed, garlicky quiche made with coconut milk; Tokyo Guacamole, spiced up with wasabi and ginger) that invite improvisation and ingredient substitution. The book, organized by style of cooking as well as by meal, offers a variety of sauces (Quick Vietnamese Peanut Sauce); snacks (Delhi Quesadillas, made with a cilantro-and-mint chutney); easy crisp-fries (Madras Chimichangas; Samosas); and stir-fries (Korean Bulgogi, a vegetable and beef combination). Witt demonstrates adeptly how to use sparkling Asian flavors to brighten everyday cooking. (Feb.)
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