Cooking The Books: 4 from the fire to the frying pan

  • Food News
  • Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Open Sandwiches

Whether it’s cooking over a fire or assembling a Danish sandwich, you’ll discover lots of useful new culinary tips and tricks in these cookbooks.

Fire Food

Fire Food: The Ultimate BBQ Cookbook

Author: DJ BBQ

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd

Price: RM89.90

A popular YouTube star, DJ BBQ is a barbecue master who has been working the pit since he was six years old. After giving up his job a few years ago, he started his “catertainment” company, where he and a group of other passionate individuals build a restaurant and sound system on the festival circuit, serving up burgers and spit-roasted beef legs, among other delicious offerings.

In this cookbook, he shares all sorts of these recipes, ranging from butterflied wild venison in oyster sauce, beach bar grilled octopus, orange-smoked trout and miso steak kebabs to side attractions like harissa roasted cauliflower, grilled okra and poutine. BBQ has a quirky sense of humour, which you’ll find peppered throughout the book, and his easy style makes for equally easy reading.

If you like the idea of being outdoors and barbecuing up a storm on lazy Sundays or just because you feel like it, you’ll love this entertaining cookbook. – Abirami Durai 

Open Sandwiches

Open Sandwiches

Author: Trine Hahnemann

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd

Price: RM79.90

In this fascinating cookbook, Danish food writer Trine Hahnemann shines a spotlight on smorrebrod, which is Danish for “butter on bread” and literally translates to an open sandwich. In Denmark, smorrebrod is something of an institution that dates back to the Middle Ages. It has evolved over the centuries and current iterations often include artisanal rye bread with an assortment of toppings, which can include cold cuts, cheese, vegetables and fruits.

In her book, Hahnemann includes lots of historical information as well as dos and don’ts for eating smorrebrod, like the fact that cheese always comes at the end in terms of topping placement; and fish and meat can never be combined on a sandwich.

Recipes include delicious concoctions like dried fig paste, raisins and apple; Russian salad on rye; smoked herring and egg yolk, and freshwater prawns on sourdough caraway bread. Each recipe is prefaced by interesting anecdotes and useful information, so you’ll learn as you go.

Most of the ingredients can easily be sourced locally, which means you can make authentic smorrebrod right here in sunny, tropical Malaysia! Although sandwiches may not be as popular locally as they are in Europe, this book – and its vast repository of sandwich ideas – might just make a convert out of you. – AD

Street Food

Street Food: From The Street To Your Table

Author: Cinzia Trenchi

Publisher: White Star Publishers

Price: RM63.55

Some of the best food in the world can be found along the streets. Whether it’s a hot dog in New York or a samosa in India, these are the sort of hedonistic delights that reel you in time and time again.

In this cookbook, author Trenchi – a naturopath and freelance journalist – offers healthy variations to traditional street food. Her recipe for ginger samosas, for instance, features samosa that are baked in lieu of being fried. Not all recipes are repackaged under a healthy guise through – fish and chips in this cookbook are deep-fried as per the traditional requirement.

While the book offers an admirable range of global street food recipes like Moroccan kefta kebab, Chinese spring rolls and Louisiana cookies, the ingredients in each recipe are not listed one after the other in a vertical fashion as is normally the case, but instead are bunched together from one end of the page to the other horizontally with only a dash to separate diffe-rent ingredients, making it extremely difficult to read and follow.

It’s a pity because the recipes look enticing, but given the sheer volume of cookbooks out there with ingredients listed vertically in clear, legible font, this oversight is hard to ignore. – AD 

The Curry Guy Easy

The Curry Guy Easy: 100 Fuss-free British Indian Restaurant Classics To Make At Home

Author: Dan Toombs

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd

Price: RM74.50

What's an American doing writing a cookbook on British Indian food? Californian Dan Toombs fell in love with Indian restaurant dishes – which are developed for the English palate – when he moved to Britain 20 years ago. He set about trying to recreate these dishes and started a blog called Curry Guy to record the recipes.

Last year, he published his bestselling The Curry Guy cookbook after getting queries from his fans on how to make the curries like the ones from takeaways. In his second cookbook, Toombs focuses on “easy” recipes – those that cut down on tedious cooking processes without compromising on flavour.

One of the features of British Indian Restaurant, or BIR, dishes is the use of a base curry sauce. Toombs includes a couple in this book, as well as four famous classic sauces for tikka masala, korma, jalfrezi and phaal.

While I was sceptical when I first got this book, I have tried a couple of recipes and have been pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to pull off, but more important was how good they tasted. If you’re looking for authentic recipes from South Asia, this is probably not the book for you. But if you want (British) curry in a hurry, I’d give this a try. – Jane F. Ragavan

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