At Christmas and birthdays, I always hint about one or more cookbooks that I’m interested in. This year one of my Chrissy pressies was The Asian Grandmothers cookbook! It has to be one of my favourite cookbooks in my collection at the moment! I don’t know about you but when I receive a new cookbook, I’ll have a flick through, check out what recipes I’d like to cook, then close it until needed. But with The Asian Grandmothers cookbook, I am reading it from cover to cover!
This cookbook is all about how the art of Asian cooking at home is being lost with the younger generations and the modernisation of Asian cooking at home a thing of the past. Patricia Tanumihardja, the author/recipe writer of this cookbook, interviewed, cooked and connected with “grandmothers, mothers, aunties and numerous people . . . contributed their time, recipes and stories.” All of the people who shared their recipes have been either passed down from generation to generation or are family favourites or have been improvised or evolved over time. Some of the recipes in this book are not found in print anywhere in the world. Most of the recipes collected are from memory only.
How exciting! To have some age old recipes that no one has ever seen or heard of before! Recipes that are being shared with the public for the very first time! I am just so excited! Not only will I be learning traditional Asian (recipes have been collected from China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos) cuisine that I’ve never seen on any website or cookbook before, but learning ‘old-school’ techniques – the real way!
In case you didn’t know, or you’ve forgotten, I love Asian cuisine! The reason I love cooking Asian food is for quite a few reasons. The simplicity of Asian food – there is normally only a handful of ingredients in a recipe that make a dish so delicious. Secondly, Asian food is so healthy for you! Using only the freshest ingredients and herbs, the flavours are come together to create a truly remarkable dish. And the main reason I love cooking Asian cuisine is there is no other cuisine in the whole world that gets me quite so excited about cooking! People who I cook these dishes for, my husband included, think that they’re better than what they would get from any Asian restaurant! Now that’s a big call and a really big compliment for me 🙂
IMPORTANT TIP: The only thing that I cannot stress to you enough about Asian cuisine is that preparation is the key! Everything for Asian cooking needs to be ready, set to go. You don’t have time to chop ingredients as you go along – everything cooks too quickly! My tip to all of you is spend the time organising everything in small bowls so you can just tip them into the wok, fry pan or skillet. If you don’t have your preparation done before you start cooking, you will burn or dry out ingredients. Please follow this.
My first recipe I want to share with you all, is adapted from The Asian Grandmothers cookbook, page 178-179. Hope you all enjoy this easy and wonderful tasting dish. It’s going to become a regular weekly meal for us! Hope it’s something you put into your meal plan too. Love to hear your thoughts on this dish.
PREP: 30 minutes COOKING: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons canola oil 1 brown onion, halved and cut into thin crescents
3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
4 button mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
A pinch of white pepper
1 tablespoon brandy
1 spring onion, thinly sliced on diagonal
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 birdseye chilli, thinly sliced
10-12 green beans, cut in half
1/2 head broccoli, cut into long florets
1 bunch Pak Choy, stem removed from leaf and leaves finely sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Preheat a large wok over high heat for 1 minute. Add oil and heat until it becomes runny. Add onion, stirring frequently until it becomes translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Then add ginger & garlic, mixing with the onion until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add the chicken, stirring until the chicken is no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, oyster and soy sauces and white pepper. Continue stirring until sauce coats everything. Take off heat and stir through brandy.
While the chicken rests, start on the vegetables. Place oil into a fry pan/skillet on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chilli until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the broccoli and beans, stir frying for 3 minutes. Then add the Pak Choy stems and fry for a further minute.
Add the soy and oyster sauces to the Asian greens, stirring until well combined. Add the Pak Choy leaves and turn heat off. Place in a large bowl, drizzling with the sesame oil.
Serve the chicken in individual bowls with rice. Everyone can help themselves to the Asian greens.
Serves 2 (very hungry adults)