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New Asian Cuisine

by: Wendy and Niwa, Grace Chan

Diamond Bar CA: International Food, Wine & Writers Association 2006, $14.05, Paperback
ISBN: 0-977-2370-0-1

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2006 Issue: 13(3) page(s): 20 and 21

More than two hundred eighty-eight pages with more than two hundred recipes, many following USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) guidelines, are in this volume. The new Asian Cuisine Pyramid described by Michael Pardus, chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY is also included. He calls it the 'USFA Food Pyramid' and using it readers can follow a healthy approach to eating Chinese and other Asian foods. The recipes using this pyramid are easily identifiable with the stair-climbing symbol used by USDA. It highlights, reminds, and discusses another healthy component, that of exercise.

For every recipe, thank the more than one hundred Asian and non-Asian celebrity chefs. Their contributions are carefully crafted for home cooks. Edited by Andrea Rademan who oversaw all written materials by Chan and Niwa, and Chef Pardus. The chefs, all professionals, donated their recipes. They are wonderful because they allow home preparation of their wonderful Asian foods.

Every recipe shows sensitivity to today's eating concerns; they are delicious, healthy, and Asian. A good number are Chinese or with Chinese influence, many Asian interpretations of classic or common contemporary creations. The chefs are dynamic, their recipes are delicious.

To paraphrase Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this book is a great introduction providing familiarity with Asian ingredients. It is also a volume where experienced cooks can utilize the versatility of Asian foods and Asian dishes. To paraphrase the Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, the book is a terrific compilation and an exciting culinary tour. It lets those who use them to sample flavors and techniques influencing chefs around the world.

Beside the two chefs quoted, Chinese recipes are form Phillipe Chin, Kwok Chan, Larry Chu, Susanna Foo, Wai-Keung Kwong, Susur Lee, Anita Lo, Pauline Loh, Ming Tsai, Martin Yan, Chris Yeo, and a host of others. Their restaurants and contributors are listed by state and country, each one credited for one to five recipes. These are listed alphabetically in Small Plates & Salads, Soups, Fish & Seafood, Meat & Poultry, Rice & Noodles. Vegetables, Desserts, and in Asian Cocktail sections. Every section begins with an introductory page about its food category, every recipe includes a color photograph of its completed dish.

Before the recipes, sixteen pages begin with a Foreword, then an introduction to this New Asian Cuisine, a general page about the chefs, five more about the Asian Food Pyramid, three titled Asian Food: Healthy and Nutritious, and one page about eating Asian style. Many sponsors supported this volume, seek them out and support them in return.

There are many terrific recipes, the few we tried were terrific. We have arbitrarily selected one and in a purely random manner to include below. It is by Kwok Chan of the Hua Ting Restaurant in the Orchard Hotel in Singapore. It is rewritten in this magazine's style.

This book is published by a not-for-profit organization, so get your own copy directly at their website: www.newasiancuisine.com and do try many others.
Duck Drumsticks with Black Dates
4 duck legs with their thigh sections
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces Chinese black dates, if unavailable, any dates can be used
4 cups chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 slice fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 scallion, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon bean paste
1 pound bokcai or another seasonal vegetable, steamed until tender
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with two teaspoons of cornstarch
1. Heat wol, then add the oil and stir-fry duck leg sections until lightly brown. Lift them out of the oil and transfer them to a pot. Add the black dates and stock and bouillon powder and set aside.
2. Reheat the oil left in the wok and stir-fry the garlic, ginger, and scallion; add the bean paste and mix well, remove and pour over the duck pieces, stir, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer about forty minutes until the duck meat is tender.
3. Arrange vegetables on one side of a heated plate, and put the duck pieces on the other. Add cornstarch mixture to the liquid left in the pot, bring to the boil, then pour this over the duck, and serve.

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