Cookbook Review – Lemongrass and Ginger

When I read about this cookbook, it sounded intriguing – it claims to take you on a whirlwind trip to exotic countries ranging from Japan, Malaysia, India, Korea, Thailand, and several other places.

I’m usually skeptical of books written by one author that seems to bounce in between cuisines that are so different. I personally find these types of books lacking in flavor and/or authenticity – kind of like a lot of “fusion” restaurants. However, this author is a fellow blogger and world traveler, so perhaps this book would break the mold.

To do a “fair” review – I chose three different recipes from three different regions of the world:

India: Tandoori Chicken with Garlic Naan

This was a great dish! Bright, flavorful, relatively easy – but very time-consuming. I did this recipe during the weekday and I didn’t realize it would take up so much time! I had to start the dish the night before so the chicken had enough time to marinate in the sauce and the naan took a few hours to rise and was more time consuming than I thought it would be as I had to knead it for a while. Then again, I chose to do it during a time that my daughter was still away making the process a little more difficult to do since messy hands and a baby who has just discovered how to walk really don’t go well together 🙂

The other thing that was time consuming is the amount of naan that this recipe made required me to spend more time at the stove than I would have wanted on a weeknight – my pan held about two pieces of naan comfortably, but this recipe made 10.

However, this is a recipe that I would do again.

Thailand: Mango and coconut rice

This was one of my favorite desserts when I lived in Thailand. It was perfect late night street food that satisfied your sweet tooth with simple and basic ingredients. I have made this recipe several times at home and the premise between her recipe and mine are the same – coconut milk, sugar, a pinch of salt, some sticky rice, and some mango. Talk about perfection.

The difference with this recipe versus what you typically get in Thailand is that she candied the mango. To me, that really didn’t add anything to the dish. I prefer the mango to be fresh and uncooked – there’s something nice about having a cold or luke warm mango paired with warm sweet coconut sticky rice.

China: Dan Dan Noodles

This was a very interesting dish. I have never had it before, but my husband had. So I decided to try it. The flavors of this dish were really good. I’ll admit, some of the ingredients were a little difficult to find, but it was well worth the hunt. This was a simple Chinese noodle dish that was perfect to make during the weekday.

Overall, this is a good book. The flavors of the dishes are spot on! However, it is not a great book for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to spare in the kitchen as a lot of the dishes are time-consuming. It’s also a book that unless you are comfortable in the kitchen and with some more “exotic” ingredients, you may be a little intimidated in trying many of these dishes.

If you want some adventure and some great weekend dishes, though, this is the perfect book!