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I had the great pleasure to spend a bit of time at the Tuttle Publishing booth at Book Expo America the last May. They publish some amazing cookbooks, and I will be reviewing several of them over the coming months.
Today's cookbook is The Asian Barbecue Book by Alex Skaria. The subtitle of the book is From Teriyaki to Tandoori, 125 Tantalizing Recipes for Your Grill. And indeed the recipes are tantalizing. Skaria introduces us to several Asian cuisines and offers recipes for meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, and even fruits. There is at least one beautiful photograph on every page, taken by Alberto Cassio.
The best way to tell you about The Asian Barbecue Book is to take you through it chapter by chapter. In the introduction, we read that Skaria learned cooking from both his German mother and his south Indian grandmother. Later he learned Chinese cuisines from his wife, and now the couple lives in Thailand. That in itself tells you the range of Skaria's palate.
The next sections of the book tell you everything you could ever need to know about how to grill, whether you have a gas grill, charcoal grill, hibachi, or open pit. Skaria explains techniques, doneness tests, and all kinds of equipment. Next we learn about Asian ingredients: what to look for, how to buy, and how to use everything from allspice to yellow soy bean paste. Oh, and did I tell you that there are photos of everything, so you can grill and shop with confidence.
The next two chapters are basic recipes for marinades, sauces, rubs, dips, chutneys, and more. Each recipe includes a photograph, suggested foods for serving, ingredient list that includes both U.S. and metric measures, and step-by-step instructions. Scattered throughout are tips and directions for special techniques.
Now onto the main grilling recipes. There is a chapter each for beef, poultry, fish and seafood, pork, lamb, vegetables, and side dishes and desserts. Every recipe has a photograph, explanation of which Asian region the dish is from, prep time, grill time, and easy directions.
Recipes include Thai Chicken Satay, Seared Teriyaki Tuna, Vietnamese Pork Tenderloin, Japanese Grilled Eggplant, and Sweet Ginger and Mint Fruit Skewers. One great thing about the cookbook is that all the dishes can easily be made in an American kitchen. Almost all of the ingredients can be found at decent supermarket. I'm lucky enough to live not far from a small Asian grocery, so I can buy the lesser-known fresh herbs, which may be hard to get in some very rural locations.
I made the following recipe for dinner last night. I had already defrosted some beef tenderloin slices and I happened to have all the other ingredients in the house. To save space, I've not included the recipe introduction.
Korean-Style Barbecued Sirloin Steaks
- 4 sirloin steaks, about 7 to 8 oz (200-240 g) each
- 1 tablespoon fresh kiwi or pineapple juice
- 5 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chili flakes
2. In a bowl combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the meat, turning the steaks to coat them. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
3. Remove the meat from the marinade (do not discard the marinade). Add the marinade to a saucepan and place over high heat. Boil for a few minutes. If it becomes too dry, add up to 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water. Set the cooked marinade aside to use as a basting and dipping sauce.
4. Prepare the grill for direct grilling with two heat zones (medium and high). [Note: instructions for this are in the book.]
5. Just before you begin grilling, oil the hot grate. Place the steaks over the high heat zone and grill each side for about 2 to 3 minutes. Move the steaks to the low heat zone and grill each side for 1 to 2 minutes for medium rare, basting each side once with the cooked marinade. Test for doneness by poking the meat with your finger. [Note: instructions for this are in the book.]
6. When done, remove from the fire and let rest for a few minutes. Cut into thin slices and serve with the leftover cooked basting sauce. Either pour the sauce over the meat or serve as a dipping sauce.
Oh man was this good. I served it with fresh yellow wax beans and roasted yellow potatoes, both from my CSA. I really can't say enough good things about this cookbook.
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Published by Tuttle Publishing, 2009
Source: Review copy (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)