A Singapore native of Chinese descent, Tanumihardja has a background in classic Asian cooking techniques and a taste for multilayered, contrasting flavors. When she came to the US, she used these culinary chops to incorporate unfamiliar vegetables, like beets and asparagus, into her kitchen repertoire. Meat plays a “peripheral role” in the Asian diet, and this vegetarian cookbook reflects this, focusing instead on the wealth of fresh produce that home cooks are increasingly dishing up from farmers markets, community-supported agriculture shares, and their own gardens.
The first chapters highlight ingredients to stock the pantry, including items found at local markets and make-at-home versions of various sauces, pickles, spice blends, and shortcut prepped versions of tofu and tempeh. Kitchen purists and adventurers, as well as those with food allergies, will rejoice in the instructions for whipping up homemade hoisin sauce, vegan fish sauce, and adjust-to-your-own-heat-level chili pastes. Photographs, sidebar tips, and easy-to-understand descriptions of how to use these ingredients are helpful, as many may be unfamiliar with how to use some Asian ingredients, such as black vinegar or preserved radish.
Vibrant photographs accompany nearly all the subsequent recipes, organized seasonally to ensure best use of produce when it is freshest and cheapest. The table of contents also notes which recipes are vegan and/or gluten-free. From spring recipes that awaken hibernating taste buds, like Vegetable Soup with Rhubarb and Wokked Romaine Lettuce, to summer and autumn dishes that incorporate the riotous profusion of the harvest, like Butternut Squash Pot Stickers, this cookbook offers many imaginative, healthy, and delicious ways to eat more veggies, Asian-style, throughout the year.
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