My husband and I like Asian food. We are slowly making our way through all the Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants in our town. We have sampled 4, and have about 16 to go. We may never accomplish this goal because we are poor and eating out is a rare and special occasion. So when I got The Slanted Door, we were very excited to try out the recipes.
was more then just a cookbook though. The Slanted Door is a famous
Vietnamese restaurant in California, and the book chronicles the
restaurant's origins to the present day. There is a lot of backstory on
the dishes, what makes it special and how they came to first serve it.
If you like history with your food, you'll really enjoy this book. We
were more interested in the recipes themselves, and not in the exposition.
most successful recipe we tried was the cashew chicken. It called for
ingredients we could easily get and didn't have any special equipment to
cook with. The combination of cashews and raisins with oyster and fish
sauce made for a savory meal, and we've been repeating those flavors in
our stir fry and rice dishes ever since. The least successful dish was
the rice cake. They were suppose to be crispy bite sized rice and mung
bean cakes with shrimp on the top. Ours turned out pasty and bland with
not a ounce of crispiness anywhere. The rice cakes called for a special
pan, the kind that you use to make escargot in, which we did not have.
Instead, we tried it with a mini-muffin pan. This is the source of our
epic fail. If you get this book and want to try the rice cakes, don't
use a muffin pan. Either skip it, or buy (or borrow) the special pan.
I'm certain the pan is the key to rice cake success.
factor in our recipe selection process was which ingredients we could
get a hold of. The preface says that most ingredients can be found in any
Asian market. This may be true if you live in a city, but if you're in a
small town, you may be ordering special ingredients over the Internet to make some of these work.
this is a gorgeous book. It has a beautiful cover, and each recipe is
accompanied by a full page glossy picture of the dish.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.