A mysterious and not well known Chinese sub-culture includes a variety of spices, textures, and flavors into their unique cooking style. This made up an exciting diet for the author as a child growing up in Malaysia.
After experiencing bland boarding-school cafeteria food in the United Kingdom, he became even more enamored with his family's cooking traditions and unique food culture. He "played" in the kitchen, learning how to prepare family recipes. He perfected timing, seasoning, and taste.
After moving to the United States as an adult and becoming a citizen, he continued his cooking regime. He travelled back to his home country in order to create an all-in-one resource for his culture's unique meals, which were a large part of what made his connection to his family so special.
He spent this time studying under his elder aunt's traditional cooking methods, food choices, and meal plans, that had been passed down for generations.
Th lifetime of fascination by his family's food culture led the author to write this book. It is a testament to history, bound by family ties.
The recipes within are accompanied by fascinating history lessons and family did-bits. The directions for cooking are clear and easy to follow. The ingredients are not difficult to find in average U.S. grocery stores.
Shopping at my local Asian food market made the experience of trying out these recipes more authentic for me.
I am more of a cook than a baker, but I couldn't resist the recipe for pineapple tarts. The recipe said it would make 60 tarts, but I made mine more like mini-pies, for a total of 20. The crust was flaky while also being crusty. The filling was perfectly chewy and sour-sweet. I did not use the optional rock sugar, and the finished product was sweet enough without it.
The author explained that there are different methods of using the same ingredients, such as baking a jelly roll, but that the tarts were traditional New Year fare. (Jelly roll instructions were also included).
My favourite recipe was a simple one that I think a Westerner's palate would exceptionally appreciate. It was, "Long Bean Omelet." This was simple to make and different enough to make breakfast feel exotic.
The stories of family are just as delicious as the recipes. I highly recommend this book for people who like a taste of culture with their meals.
Jessica Lucci is an award winning indie author on a quest to use books to unite society.