Cooking around the world

From a book that celebrates Harlem to one that celebrates citrus, we eat curbside around the world before coming back to the Tartine home kitchen.

The Red Rooster Cookbook

Author: Marcus Samuelsson

Publisher: Pavilion

Price: RM203.68

Red Rooster Cookbook

I've watched Marcus Samuelsson on television for years, loving his understated elegance in the kitchen and ability to dole out constructive criticism with kindness and patience as a judge on shows like Chopped. Which is why this book had so much to live up to.

And in so many ways, it does – in the sense that much like Samuelsson, it isn’t a conventional cookbook at all. On the contrary, this part docu-journal, part cookbook narrates Samuelsson’s love affair with Harlem.

The book details how he started his famed Red Rooster eatery in Harlem based off an eponymous 1920s restaurant cum club that was all the rage back in its heyday. The recipes in the book aren’t your average fare either – there are pig’s ears with hot mustard, bird funk and chicken liver butter, marrow dumplings with charred broccolini and chillies, and ham buns with chocolate gravy, among others. It’s the sort of stuff you may or may not make at home, but is at least tempered by things you probably will make at some point, like corn-oyster soup and coconut flounder ceviche.

Although there are cute illustrations peppered throughout, pictures of dishes are few and far between, so you’ll often have to go by what you think each dish tastes like. What you’ll almost immediately understand about this book though is that its overall pulse is on Harlem – its people, places, culture and food.

The recipes are there to add colour and life to the city, but really it’s the city that breathes life to this exciting addition from Samuelsson. – Abirami Durai

CitrusCitrus: Recipes That Celebrate The Sour And The Sweet

Author: Catherine Phipps

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing

Price: RM119.90

This ambitious cookbook from food writer Catherine Phipps documents – as its titles suggests – citrus. The book encompasses the basics of lemons, limes, mandarins and other citrus fruits with useful information about each one as well tips and tricks for zesting, juicing and preserving them. Then there are the recipes – each one putting citrus elements on a pedestal of sorts – from glorious sounding concoctions like deep-fried citrus slices to lemon pizettes, bergamot and lemon roast chicken and black bean cakes with lime and mango salsa.

While many of us are guilty of under-appreciating citrus (it really does seem quite ordinary, after all) this book both celebrates it and opens your eyes to the different – and often inventive – ways you can use lemons, limes and other citrus fruits in cooking.

The only negative is the fact that the ingredients and methods for all the recipes aren’t listed close enough to each other and are in fact, separated by introductions which get in the way when you’re in the kitchen frantically trying to execute the actual recipes. – AD

Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook

Tartine All DayAuthor: Elisabeth Prueitt with Jessica Washburn and Maria Zizka

Photography: Paige Green

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Price: RMRM214.83

From the owner of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery, Tartine Manufactory and ice cream shop Tartine Cookies and Cream, comes this book looking to convince the harried, contemporary adult that flavour, wholesomeness, nutritional value and interest need not be sacrificed on the altar of convenience.

Elizabeth Pruiett’s 200+ recipes are structured to take you through the day, so there are basics like salsa verde, applesauce and preserved lemons, and a slew of recipes that are clearly mix-and-matchable, such as savoury bread pudding with wild mushrooms and bacon, spring risotto and Champagne gelee with strawberries. There’s a special section on menus for larger gatherings or parties. I find that last section very useful, because coming up with just the right combination of dishes isn’t always easy when cooking for others.

I like that this book teaches you to make from scratch things that many of us have no qualms about plucking off a supermarket shelf, like chicken liver mousse and gravlax. The mix-and-match aspect of the dishes means you can create lots of varied meals – making this a pretty comprehensive book for the home cook.

A note on the baked goods especially: there’s a distinct angling in the recipes towards going gluten-free, probably because Pruiett herself has been eating this way for a few years. She uses an array of non-gluten flours like tapioca and sweet rice, which makes this a great go-to for gluten-free baking. – Suzanne Lazaroo

MasterChef Street Food of the World

MasterChef Street FoodAuthor: Genevieve Taylor

Publisher: Absolute Press

Price: RM139.90

The title plonks two of the trendiest words of the moment together: “Masterchef” and “street food”. But hold on, are they not in different leagues and don’t quite belong together? Street food is the domain of the unskilled, the unprofessional. A masterchef is one at the top of his game.

Well, the premise of the book is getting Masterchef champions to share their street food recipes. Among others, Ping Coombes, Christine Ha, Adam Liaw, Luca Manfe, Andy Allen and Marc Boissieux share recipes from beignets and quesadillas to pad Thai, char siu bao, pepes ikan and daigaku imo.

So there is that big authenticity question here. But get real, that hawker making his living on the street is not about to share his recipe with the world. The book’s selection of recipes and food styling hit all the right spots and you’ll find yourself saying, “I want to try that!” And that, and that, too.

A gozleme with spinach, feta and pinenuts, also known as a Turkish stuffed flatbread, is fairly bursting with wholesome goodness. Meet Nigerian jollof rice, precursor of Creole classic jambalaya. Never heard of muffeleta? It’s a glorious sandwich of Italian origin on the streets of Louisiana. And chiko rolls are the Aussie equal of spring rolls, grown in size. It’s street food gone round the world and back again, in its enlightened avatar. – Julie Wong

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Cooking around the world


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