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Jan 4, 2005 11:05 AM

Need recommendation for cookbook--exotic taste combinations

  • s

I have a German friend who is an adventurous eater. As a wedding present, she asked for a set of American measuring spoons and cups, plus an English-language cookbook, possibly Asian, Caribbean, or Latin American, that would contain recipes, she says...

"that involve unusual taste combinations - sweet and
salty, exotic spices, combinations of meat and fruit, such as Thai, Indian, Chinese, Cajun, Caribbean, sometimes Mexican (chicken fajita with banana and coconut, mmm!)"

Does anyone have a favorite cookbook that fits this description?

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  1. Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Includes recipes for Thai, Viet, Cambodian, Lao...

    Also has wonderful narrative text and beautiful photographs.


    1 Reply
    1. re: GG Mora

      Thanks so much for the recs. I picked Hot Sour Salty Sweet--I think she will love it!

      I used to work as a hostess at the East Coast Grill, and I adore eating there. My friend probably would love Schlesinger's Big Flavors of the Hot Sun too, but my local bookstore didn't have it, and I like to support small bookstores rather than :)

    2. c

      Big Flavors of the Hot Sun - Chris Schlesinger

      1. "Oriental- Appetizers and Light Meals" authored by Susan Fuller Slack for HP Books. See link as it is a 1987 book.

        The book includes just what you are describing yet bound by the title. Great pictures, too.

        Malaysian-Style Satay
        Yam and Peanut Cracker-Bread
        Chinese Almond Cookies
        Vietnames Pickeled Julienne of Vegetables
        Szechuan Marinated Vegetables
        Mongolian Barbeque
        Curried Pear Chutney with fresh ginger
        Oven-baked Cranberry-Cardamom Chutney

        Thousand Year Sauce Chicken preambled by "Long ago in China, a treasured crock of "master sauce" was sometimes included in the trousseau of a new bride . . . for "red cooking" or braising meats and poultry. . .."

        Turkey Kebabs in Creamed Spinach
        Spanish-Style Chicken Pies with Laurel Leaf Pastry (great picture)
        Glazed Walnut Sushi Roll
        Cinnamon-Scented Roast Duck Salad with Egg-Flour Wrappers
        Lemon-Chicken Pate with fresh basil on a fresh, flakey croissant (sandwich looks like a crab)
        Steamed Pork and Rice Chrysanthemums (picture one pastel pink and one pastel yellow ball of rice, each shielding a spicy, sake, gingery pork mixture and served on a plate askewed mint leaves and long sprig of chives).

        and more . . .

        It has instruction (and pictures) of decorative serving, including entertaining with flair with a "Thousand Flowers Appetizer Basket" that even includes "celestial bread dough butterflies" and gives the basics of making veggies into flowers - to what have maybe evolved into the creations at

        It's a simple book of 157 pages before references and index.

        Maybe you can find it at the library? but it is a paperback edition from HPBooks.


        1. s

          New Food of Life - Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking is a favorite of mine. The cuisine features fruits and nuts and interesting syrups, flower waters, and spices. It's by Najmieh Batmanglij. Her new cookbook - Silk Road Cooking - is good too. It's vegetarian.

          1. This book is the classic...Gentleman's Companion vol. 1. Also good reading.