For all my pan-Asian, spicy-food lovers and curry fiends out there, I just stumbled on a great cookbook that you are sure to love and probably use a lot, if you, like myself, love to constantly experiment with new and spicy fare. Featuring contributions from a variety of authors, the book compiles authentic recipes from India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and even Africa, the Caribbean, Britain and Japan. The one notable omission, however, is Sri Lanka, and I can’t imagine why such an otherwise thorough book left out probably one of the tastiest cuisines in the world, but you always have Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking (www.blurb.com) to turn to.
Despite this huge oversight, I cannot sleep on Curry Cuisine because it does include a lot of amazing recipes, which are much easer to prepare than you might think. To me, most Asian food is about the right ingredients, anyway, and putting together a dish is more than likely quick and easy once you have done all the required prep work. Take for instance, Wether hin lay (Pork Curry with mango), a Burmese dish that I just tried which came out fantastic. Though it called for fish sauce, shrimp paste, and green (unripe) mangoes, three ingredients I do not generally use a lot, my motto is “Don’t be intimidated by new ingredients.” Once I had assembled everything, it took me just 20 minutes to bring everything together from the wok onto my plate. And, man, was I rewarded with a scrumptious feed. The sourness of the green mango, with the saltiness of the fish sauce and shrimp paste, along with the sweetness of tamarind, which was also included, had my tongue doing summersaults. Chalk up another victory for the kid, and another lip-smacking banger for the repertoire. Of course, the recipe only called for 2 large red chilies, seeded, so I had to lace it with some dry chili flakes, but improvisation is where the fun comes into cooking. No?
Next I’m going to try the Kerala lamb, the Desi murgh curry (special chicken curry) from Pakistan, the Malaysian Beef Rendang and Laksa lemak (curry soup with shrimp and tofu), Ngob pla data dtiaw (Grilled Halibut curry) and Geng bpaa gai (Jungle curry of chicken with vegetables and peppercorns) from Thailand, and of course, the Jamaican curry goat.
I don’t want to reprint recipes from a copyrighted work (you know how these corporate sharks roll), so go to your local library and check this out!
By Vivek Singh, Das Sreedharan, Mahmood Akbar, Corinne Trang & others
© 2006 Dorling Kindersley