ASIAN VEGETABLES: From Long Beans to Lemongrass, A Simple Guide to Asian ProducePlus Over 50 Delicious, Easy Recipes
A guide to shopping for Asian vegetables (which often appear under many different names), this book also helps browsers figure out what to do with them once they're sitting on the counter. Deseran, food editor of the house organ Williams-Sonoma Taste, organizes her recipes according to the types of produce they require: leafy greens (Steamed Halibut with Sweet Miso Wrapped in Cabbage), roots (Crisp Taro Pancakes with Hoisin-Lime Dipping Sauce), squashes (Stir-Fried Luffa Squash with Diced Shrimp and Garlic), beans and other miscellaneous vegetables (Sukhi Singh's Bharta), and herbs and aromatics (Grilled Lemongrass-Tamarind Pork Chops with Chayote Slaw). For each vegetable, she covers alternate names, varieties, uses and storage—for example, the many varieties of bok choy, or Chinese white cabbage, are described, along with such recipes as Braised Short Ribs with Hearts of Bok Choy, and Bok Choy, Water Chestnut, and Bacon Chow Mein. Deseran's tone is light (long beans look "like a vegetable out of a Dr. Seuss book"), and she can be charming even in defeat, as when admitting her failure to interest her husband in bitter melon. Richard Jung's color photographs are clear and appetizing, and make identifying the vegetables that much easier. Deseran's book is a handy, practical companion to a shopping trip to Chinatown, and her recipes are terrific. (June 1)
Forecast: This attractive paperback will do particularly well in urban areas where a diverse selection of vegetables is more common. Although it may be less comprehensive than the recent The Asian Grocery Store Demystified, it has more recipes and a better layout.