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Jan 24, 2007 07:30 AM

Can anyone recommend good Asian cookbooks?

I'm looking for something good and authentic, but with reasonably straightforward recipes - like Mark Bittman but Asian. I've got Madhur Jaffrey's East Asian cookbook, which is good, but there are only a few recipes per cuisine. I have access to Asian markets but often am not familiar with most of what is there. Any advice? Chinese, Korean and Thai food is what I most like to try at home...I'm a reasonably confident and experienced cook but less so when it comes to non-Western stuff - but I love it and would love not to have to only get out for it!


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  1. I really love 'True Thai' by Victor Sodsook. At first read it looks ridiculously complicated, but on the second read it makes absolute sense. And the recipes are clear, well written and calibrated, and easy to follow. The trick is having the pantry ingredients, and a good wok.

    1 Reply
    1. All of the books written by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford are amazing. Might not be what you're looking for exactly (these are cultural/anthropological studies in addition to being cookbooks), but they are beautiful, authentic, and the recipes work.

      Here's a link to their website:

      7 Replies
      1. re: FlavoursGal

        This is my favorite recent cookbook purchase! It's fun to read, and the recipes are delicious.

        1. re: FlavoursGal

          Have to agree these books are by far the best I've found. Great recipe's and full of good information.

          1. re: FlavoursGal

            I love "Flatbreads & Flavors" by these two, I believe it won the James Beard Award the year it came out. It's not a simple cookbook by any definition, but definitely worthy of an honored place on the cookbook shelf.

            1. re: FlavoursGal

              As an added bonus, this cookbook is the February cookbook of the month. And, if you aren't willing to commit to any of the cookbooks, test drive them from your local library.

                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                  Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet is the February book.

            2. Corinne Trang's Essential's of Asian Cuisine, Kuo;s Key to Chinese Cooking, Cracking the Coconut, Land of Plenty, of course Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking are all books i use with regularity.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Candy

                I second Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table. I recieved it for Christmas and everything that I've tried has turned out really well. Many ingredients, but straightforward instructions. Delicious food.

              2. Charmain Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook for a former roommate, as part of a wdding gift. I had cooked on numerous occasions for him and his wife, and my gift was a collection of my favorite cookbooks. Except, I did not have any Asian or Chinese books that I loved, so I bought hers. Let's just say that it took my months for me to give them the gift after I bought it, and that this book was read and cooked from in the interim. It covers too many different Asian cuinsines for me to remember, Indian, Thai, Malysian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. and it does a great job of doing almost all of them. When i cooked Indian from it, I began with making my own garam masala, and it was good. I had to make more for a friend who wanted the mixture. And I also used it too cook a Thai curry that a woman I dated loved. If I was allowed to have one Asian cookbook, this would be it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Captain

                  I totally agree. What a fabulous cookbook. Particularly like the Inidan chapter.

                2. For Korean, I think Dok Suni's is a good beginner book although it isn't always comprehensive/detailed enough and is somewhat watered down. The Korean Kitchen by Copeland Marks is, despite the non Asian author, a good basic compilation of Korean recipes (although again, not super detailed). Growing up in a Korean Kitchen by hesook hepinstall is good as well, more detailed, but sometimes a little too elaborate and doesn't include all the more basic recipes.

                  I also like the Weichuan cookbook series which has pictures, and reasonably authentic renditions of every Asian cuisine. Hope this helps.