Cooking The Books: Dhals, traditional delicacies and veggies


  • Food News
  • Saturday, 10 Aug 2019

Get the Sunday Star paper tomorrow, Aug 11, for a 25% discount coupon on No-Nonsense Nyonya Treats and The Flexitarian Cookbook . Look for the coupon in StarLifestyle.


No-Nonsense Nyonya Treats

Author: Allan Albert Teoh

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Cuisine

Price: RM54.90

FOR many Malaysians, there is no kuih quite like nonya kuih. Whatever your ethnic makeup, if you’re Malaysian, you’re likely to have grown up sampling delicious nonya sweet treats like kuih lapis and ketayap. While Western-style cookies and cakes may be all the rage these days, these local kuih still play a pivotal role in the local food mosaic, although the art of making them has, arguably, become a rapidly dying one.

Cooking The Books offers recipes for dhal, nonya kuih and vegetarian dishes

In this book, author Allan Albert Teoh hopes to help intrepid modern home cooks master the art of making these kuih, in part to revive interest in them and in part to pass on his knowledge.

Interestingly, Teoh himself is not of Peranakan lineage; he learnt how to make nonya kuih from his mother, who collected many nonya recipes over the years.

In this book, you will find recipes for all the old familiars, such as pineapple tarts, kuih ubi kayu, steamed kuih lapis, kuih salat, kee chang, huat kuih and bubur cha cha, among others.

All the recipes are fuss-free and include precise instructions to help you along the way, so if you’re looking for a good introduction to nonya kuih, you’ve come to the right place.


Cooking The Books offers recipes for dhal, nonya kuih and vegetarian dishesThe Delicious Book Of Dhal

Author: Nitisha Patel

Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small

Price: RM78

In India, dhal is a meal staple that can take on many incarnations, from the south Indian sambar to the Punjabi urad dhal makhani to the Gujarati dhal dhokli – indeed, many recipes have been part of the Indian diet for centuries.

The range of pulses and beans used to make dhals include chickpeas, red kidney beans, split pigeon peas, split red lentils and black gram – most now readily available throughout the world.

In her sophomore cookbook, author Nitisha Patel documents these various recipes and adds some of her own, tapping into the global shift towards more plant-friendly diets.

The recipes all sound delicious, from simple gingery masoor dhal to moong dhal with fried lotus roots, rajma Mughlai dhal, doodhi channa dhal and five-lentil soup.

The one major omission in this book is the lack of images of all the different lentils used – this would have been very, very useful for neophyte cooks unable to tell the difference between pigeon peas and yellow split moong beans (and let’s face it – there are many of them!).

Otherwise, the book is a treasure trove of dhal recipes and the sheer range of what’s on offer will ensure that those looking to incorporate more pulses into their meals will have plenty of ideas to play around with.


Cooking The Books offers recipes for dhal, nonya kuih and vegetarian dishesThe Flexitarian Cookbook

Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small

Price: RM103.74

Across the globe, there is a growing call to adopt a plant-based diet, one that many people have heeded, especially given the environmental and health concerns surrounding meat consumption.

But going from omnivore to herbivore isn’t something that just happens overnight. Which is why there are people trying to bridge that gap by becoming flexitarians.

Flexitarians are essentially people looking to include more plant-based meals in their diets while also reducing – though not entirely giving up – their meat intake.

For these individuals, finding tasty plant-based meals to make at home can be difficult, especially given easier-to-obtain meat-laden fare.

This book aims to give flexitarians an outlet for experimentation and a resource for plant-friendly everyday meals, like asparagus risotto, spiced almond pilaf, aubergine lasagne and tangy tomato tacos. The recipes are all very pretty and Instagram-friendly, so you’ll find yourself immediately enticed by what you see.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to amp up plant-friendly meals in your diet, this will be a great addition to your cookbook collection.


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