cover image A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia

A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia

Lara Lee. Bloomsbury, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-1-63973-043-8

“Subtlety is not within my sphere of qualities,” declares Lee (Coconut & Samba) in this bold, zippy guide to cooking Asian classics with speed and confidence. Indonesian and Thai cuisine are especially well represented, but the collection is pan-Asian, with savory Japanese pancakes, customizable Korean bibimbap, and a Philippine adobo presented alongside hybrid adaptations including steak with Asian chimichurri and sambal patatas bravas. Lee has a way with words, from chapter titles (“Sticky, Grilled & Glazed,” “Pickle-Me, Fill-Me, Sauce-Me”) to mouthwatering recipe intros: peanut sauce is “a nutty, spicy and sweet-and-salty pool of joy,” and lemongrass charred brussels sprouts offer “the moreish flavor of a really delicious bag of potato chips you can’t stop eating.” Her casual approach encourages simple substitutes (lasagna strips for biang-biang noodles, for example) and playful experimentation; a riff on Vietnamese banh mi urges readers to “finish off... with as many condiments as you can dream up.” Speedy dishes abound, from 15-minute tom yum soup to an “almost-instant” chicken curry, and a final chapter—titled “The Asian(ish) Kitchen”—provides a useful shopping and cooking guide to soy sauces, chilies, and other essentials. The result is a fun and practical companion for home cooks looking to expand their Asian repertoire. Agent: Nicola Chang, David Higham Assoc. (June)