Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Bill's Everyday Asian Cookbook Review

If you read some of my other entries in this blog you will see how much I love Bill Granger! So when there's a new Bill book, I'm there with my order. Doesn't mean I use the book straight away though! I got this for my birthday in September and have looked at it lovingly from time to time and then put it away again. I can't explain why I get all these books and then not cook from them straight away! But the time finally came when I gave this book some love. Bill often has Asian influenced recipes in his books so it's great to see a whole collection of them, and you know that if it's a Bill recipe then it will (hopefully) easy enough to make. There are 10 chapters including Starters, Soups, Seafood and Noodles and Rice, and a nice dessert section which might not all be authentic but would complement an Asian meal extremely well.

The photography is absolutely beautiful and most recipes are illustrated. Every dish looks very colourful and inviting, you can almost taste all the dishes just by looking at them. The recipes are very well laid out and although some ingredient lists are quite long, most of those needed are herbs and spices you probably already have, if your cupboards are anything like mine! There's a useful pantry guide at the start of the book for those wanting to stock, items such as mirin, star anise and dashi powder.

The first dish I made was the Hot and Sour Soup with Prawns. I made this as a quick and healthy tea one evening. The recipe was really easy to follow and it was made in 10 minutes so a great one to keep to hand. I added rice noodles for the soup to be more filling as I wasn't having anything else, it did the trick. It was pretty spicy but the lime juice balanced it nicely. I love fresh and spicy soups so this was perfect. Tick one.

The other dish I made was Barbecued Pork Fillet with Vietnamese Caramel Sauce. The ingredient list is pretty short and we had some pork fillet we'd just bought on offer so thought it was a perfect time to try this dish. The pork was marinated for only 10 minutes in fish sauce, sugar and garlic and then fried. I have to admit it smelt rather off-putting, fish sauce never smells that great but it's usually mixed in with other things, this was pretty much just pure fish sauce. Somewhat worried! While the pork was cooking I made the caramel sauce, just as you would for a sweet dish but then adding chilli, lime, more fish sauce (!) and oil. It sounded like the dish would be a little too sweet with a caramel sauce but it was absolutely delicious and luckily the fish sauce scent waned a little. The dish was a big hit with those eating and I'd definitely make it again. Yum!

Looking forward to the next Bill book now but in the meantime I'd like to make the Beef Rendang and the Sticky Pork Chops with Peach Chutney. And I'm sorry that I didn't go to Bill's new restaurant in Notting Hill, I'm afraid I was put off by the reviews I found online about waiting times and prices. Not a very good super-fan am I?! Maybe next time Bill!


  1. I have to say that I flicked through this book as I am a great fan of authentic Asian cooking and this looked a really good book. Lots of things I would like to try.

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