In honor of our Books, Spice, and Everything Nice theme (and spice club!), we’ll be doing a monthly round-up of our cookbooks. We have a really nice and extensive collection, but it’s easy to get lost in the sheer number of them. Hopefully these posts help! In honor of October’s spice cumin, we’ll be focusing on cookbooks that cover the sheer range and variety of Asian cuisines.
If you’re interested in Filipino cuisine:
Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad’s I am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook (2018)
Restaurateurs Ponseca and Trinidad have made it their life mission to serve authentic Filipino dishes at their restaurants, and to that end, their cookbook also highlights the country’s diverse cuisine. The cookbook covers everything from meat adobos to seafood kinilaw to noodles and dumplings to delectable desserts.
If you’re interested in Indian cuisine:
Madhu Gadia’s New Indian Home Cooking (2000)
Indian cuisine is of course an oversimplification when talking about India since the country has so many different distinct regions, all with their own unique cooking. Gadia’s book is not attempting to be comprehensive, but it does provide a nice variety of recipes from across the country, including naan, tandoori chicken, samosas, and chutneys. This book may be a little daunting for inexperienced cooks since it doesn’t provide a lot of pictures or in-depth explanations, but the recipes are straightforward and the ingredient list is accessible if you don’t have easy access to Indian markets.
If you’re interested in Japanese cuisine:
Laura Kié and Haruna Kishi’s Japanese Cuisine: An Illustrated Guide (2021)
This lovely book provides charming illustrations throughout as it explains the ins and outs of Japanese food. It covers everything from ingredients to techniques, as well as providing recipes and how-to guides for ramen, sushi, and more. Probably the closest you’ll come to a cookbook that looks like a graphic novel.
If you’re interested in Korean cuisine:
Maangchi’s Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook (2015)
Maangchi skyrocketed to fame via her YouTube channel, gaining popularity for her authentic and accessible Korean recipes. In this cookbook, which is packed full of pictures, she provides hundreds of recipes for everything from japchae to kimchi to jeon. She also includes a helpful glossary to explain ingredients and covers staple ingredients, as well as substitutions if you’re having trouble sourcing ingredients.
If you’re interested in Persian cuisine:
Donia Bijan’s Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen (2011)
This book is just as much of a memoir as it is a cookbook. Bijan’s family fled Iran following the revolution in 1979 and made a home in California. From there, she went on to study classical French cuisine in Paris before returning to America to open her own restaurant. She shares Persian favorites from her childhood (like saffron yogurt rice and orange cardamon cookies), as well as French dishes she learned as an adult.
If you’re interested in Thai cuisine:
Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen (2014)
Thai food blogger Punyaratabandhu’s debut cookbook shows you how to make great Thai food at home. She covers everything from curries to satays to desserts and makes a special effort to explain what ingredients can be substituted if you’re having a hard time finding authentic ones and what you can make yourself (including curry pastes).
If you’re interested in Vietnamese cuisine:
Charles Phan with Jessica Battilana’s Vietnamese Home Cooking (2012)
Phan’s The Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco was one of the first Vietnamese restaurants in America to get serious critical acclaim. In this cookbook, Phan provides very thorough instructions on how to make a wide range of classic Vietnamese dishes. The cookbook is organized by cooking method (steaming, braising, grilling, etc.). Phan is very practical and easy to understand, but don’t expect to quickly whip these dishes up.
And in case you missed it earlier this year, we also have a post devoted to Chinese cookbooks.
What’s your favorite Asian cuisine to make? What’s your favorite Asian cookbook? What are you cooking in October? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.