Have you ever left a terrific Asian restaurant both thoroughly satisfied and completely perplexed. The food was exceptional but you’re mystified about how it was created. You’d love to be able to create those flavors at home, but you feel too challenged. You’ve even walked the aisles of your local Asian market looking for clues. And that exercise made you convinced that the only path to those great noodles is to head back to the restaurant.
If you are hungry and already picking up your car keys, then head to your local bookstore and grab Noodles Every Day by Corinne Trang. Let me tell you first that Corinne is my friend and we’ve spent hour cooking together. It’s not that I’m jealous of Corinne, she’s wonderful, but, well, she can be intimidating in the kitchen. She’s one of those “doesn’t need recipes” persons. Just give her a kitchen, stand back, and watch a culinary whirlwind. When she’s done, your kitchen is filled with scents and sights that are just like that favorite restaurant of yours. And the best part is this: Corinne is a superb writer able to describe her dishes inrecipes that you and I can follow.
The author of five cookbooks, Corinne loves to focus on the ingredients, techniques, and background of Asian food. Sometimes she writes an encyclopedia: The Essentials of Asian Cuisines. Sometimes, she looks at every aspect of a key ingredient: Noodles Every Day.
Noodles are a comfort food for me, and I suspect for you too. The diversity of noodle flavors, colors, textures and culinary richness is essential to great Asian cooking. One simple dish can be the whole meal or the perfect complement to meat or fish. The ability of noodles to satisfy is unsurpassed. And so, too, are the recipes in Noodles Every Day.
The book is literally a primer on how to do noodles. Corinne begins chapters on basic Asian ingredients, equipment, techniques, condiments and stocks. Armed with that overview, you are ready for her Great Noodle Tour. Corinne offers chapters on the great noodle types: wheat, egg, buckwheat, rice and cellophane. Yes, she starts easy and builds your skills and confidence.
There isn’t a dessert chapter per se. But her closing chapter on buns, dumplings, and spring rolls is just the perfect end to this perfect book. Perhaps the only problem with the book is where to begin. I know that first noodle chapter is packed with delicious wheat noodle recipes, but I did jump ahead to the that egg noodle chapter.
When I saw the recipe for Crab-Flavored Noodles with Velvety Crab Sauce and Green Peas, I bought crab. Brian started to beg, so our next adventure was the Beef and Scallion Dumplings, served with her Chili-Garlic Sauce. Brian and I both suggest you have beer on hand.
To impress some culinary friends, I tried Egg Noodle Soup with Five-Spice Duck. As the picture on the sidebar shows, the dish is beautiful. When you taste it, you’ll be impressed too The best cooking is the one that brings a smile of satisfaction and accomplishment to you, the chef. If you are a Corinne in life, that’s easily done. If you are mortal, like me, then you need assistance. There is no better place to start than Noodles Every Day.