Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cookbooks: The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell

At first glance The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen (Celestial Arts) seems too esoteric for words. But this book by the “Gluten Freedom” columnist for the Oregonian takes something esoteric and makes it delicious: not just for those battling gluten-related health issues, but for anyone. As author Russell says in her introduction: “Gluten free or not, I want everything I eat to be delicious.” The increasing number of people with gluten sensitivities will find comfort in those words.

There are 100 recipes in The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen. Russell says that all are based on the Thai, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines that she loves. The recipes are not fusion, rather they are gluten free adaptations of the classics of these cuisines. And so we have Vietnamese-Style Sizzling Rice Crepes, Thai Seafood Salad, Chilled Tangy Soba Noodles in the Japanese style and Chinese style Seafood and Glass Noodle Casserole.

Russell begins her book with a careful section on how to identify sources of gluten in common Asian ingredients and there are some skills here that will translate to other types of gluten free cuisine.

The author is a former associate editor of Food & Wine cookbooks and it shows. She writes clearly and recreates even complicated dishes without fuss. Those with an interest in Asian cuisine will find The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen to be a useful addition. ◊

Aaron Blanton is a contributing editor to January Magazine. He’s currently working on a book based on his experiences as an American living abroad.

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