10 July 2010

Weekend Cooking: Review: The Asian Barbecue Book by Alex Skaria

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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

Serves 4
  • 4 sirloin steaks, about 7 to 8 oz (200-240 g) each
  • 1 tablespoon fresh kiwi or pineapple juice
Korean Steak Marinade
  • 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
1. Sprinkle the steak with the juice and leave for 30 minutes. This will make the meat very tender. Remove the steaks from the juice and wipe dry with a paper towel.

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.

The Asian Barbecue Book at Powell's
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Published by Tuttle Publishing, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780804840446
Challenges: 100+
YTD: 62
Source: Review copy (see review policy)
Rating: A
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Beth 7/10/10, 7:36 AM  

Wow this looks like a good one. I can almost taste the asian flavor on my tongue. One question though...are all of the recipes meat, or are there some vegetarian ones too?

Beth F 7/10/10, 7:41 AM  

Beth: there is an entire chapter for vegetarian grilling and then more vegetarian choices in the side dishes and the desserts.

Marg 7/10/10, 7:53 AM  

At the moment my Weekend Cooking posts seem mainly to be about what I am cooking at the moment! Today is no exception.

caite 7/10/10, 8:09 AM  

I love Asian...I love BBQ..this sounds like a winner.

Rikki 7/10/10, 8:50 AM  

Looks like a great book for barbecue fans. Very yummy!

Margot 7/10/10, 8:53 AM  

I like how you thoroughly described this book. It sounds like an excellent resource to all-things-grilling. We used to do a lot of hibachi grilling many decades ago and I've been longing to get another one. I think I'll get this book at the same time. Seems like they would go together well.

Lisa (Southern Girl Reads) 7/10/10, 9:06 AM  

This sounds like a great cookbook for Asian food! I haven't participated in your Saturday event for awhile and it's nice to be back once again. Thanks for hosting!

Molly 7/10/10, 9:28 AM  

I am starting to experiment a bit with Asian cooking and have discovered that the secret (at least for me) is the sauce. A sauce can turn an ordinary meal into an amazing one!

bermudaonion 7/10/10, 9:29 AM  

Yummy! We were just looking through a grilling cookbook trying to decide what we're going to try this weekend.

Anonymous,  7/10/10, 9:48 AM  

Maybe you could share one of those veggie recipes some other time? :P I used to LOVE Asian BBQ (especially saté) but since I've been a vegetarian for almost 20 years now... :\

Beth F 7/10/10, 9:53 AM  

Gnoegnoe: We eat meat only a couple nights a week. I really should share more vegetarian recipes.

JoAnn 7/10/10, 10:28 AM  

Steak on the grill is a summertime favorite for my husband - this sauce sounds wonderful!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 7/10/10, 10:32 AM  

I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know how to grill - I let J do all the outdoor cooking. It's almost a phobia - I get distracted so easily that I fear anything I grill would be either undercooked or burnt!

In any case, the cookbook sounds wonderful - I love the pics on the cover and of the meal you grilled. Maybe I should buy ASIAN BARBECUE for J!?

Miri 7/10/10, 1:06 PM  

Delicious and easy! My kind of cooking...this recipe sounds terrific and so does this book.

Arch 7/10/10, 1:57 PM  

Hi Beth,

This Asian barbecue book sounds like an interesting and yummy one...I have been reading through you weekend cooking posts for the past few weeks now and they have motivated me to post my own cooking exploits and link it to your post... :)


Kim 7/10/10, 2:53 PM  

Oh Beth--that steak looks amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe--we are grilling a lot more, now that summer has finally slammed into Seattle!

Sandy Nawrot 7/10/10, 3:23 PM  

I absolutely LOVE Asian marinades on anything. I might even eat vegetables if they were served with the marinade!

Stacy at The Novel Life 7/10/10, 5:34 PM  

wow the Asian cookbook looks like a yummy addition to any kitchen! i'm so hungry now!!!

CHRISTIE 7/10/10, 6:10 PM  

This looks delish. I saw a link to your meme over at A Novel Source and had to stop by. I’m your newest follower :)

Michele 7/10/10, 6:32 PM  

If a recipe calls for sesame seeds, I will cook it....I kid you not, I love sesame seeds in any kind of recipe. Yum. The marinade here sounds delicious!

Julie P. 7/10/10, 8:01 PM  

This sounds amazing. I'm going to have to take a look at this cookbook!

wisteria 7/10/10, 8:29 PM  

I have to admit, I don't do much Asian cooking. At least I don't use the spices that usually are called for. This cookbook looks like it would help. LOL

Anonymous,  7/10/10, 9:46 PM  

I never make Asian food, but do love it so this cookbook is one I need to get.

Anonymous,  7/11/10, 3:02 AM  

oops, why does it say I am late again...
love Korean BBQ meat, it was one of my fav things to eat then I was there. Luckily I had my son who is fluent in the language (he lived there 2 years) to sort out foods for me. But loved the bul goggy I have no idea how to spell it. lol
Loving this challenge...

auntie-c 7/11/10, 11:23 AM  

That steak is definitely going in my recipe file!

chrisa511 7/11/10, 4:36 PM  

OMG my mouth is watering right now Beth!! This sounds so delicious :D

nat @book, line, and sinker 7/11/10, 10:10 PM  

i absolutely love cookbooks and have bunches of them! one of my favorites is a vintage betty crocker from the 60s. my mom has the original and my dad bought copies on ebay for my sister and me.

i haven't been spending much time in the kitchen of late, but want to get back on board. i always enjoyed participating in your cooking weekends.

i think i'll share my marinated tomatoes and bread recipe next saturday! :)

TexasRed 7/13/10, 12:03 PM  

These are great! I'm not usually online on the weekend, but will make a point to check these out.

Here's my squash pickles post: TexasRed Books

Heather 7/13/10, 12:39 PM  

Great review. Sounds like a good book to have on hand for reference. I like the idea of first marinading the meat with the kiwi or pineapple juice.

I want to thank you and your fellow posters for all the wonderful recipes and food ideas and comments. i am finding that more and more of the recipes I am using are being found via this meme. Thank-you.

Carole 5/5/12, 5:42 PM  

Great that you linked in, thanks.

Thanks for stopping by. I read all comments and may respond here, via e-mail, or on your blog. I visit everyone who comments, but not necessarily right away.

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