3 Women-Authored Cookbooks To Whisk You Away to Asia This Spring Break
Travel halfway across the world and celebrate Women’s History Month all from your kitchen
March is Women’s History Month, and it also includes Spring Break, which makes it the perfect opportunity to explore new and exciting recipes in the kitchen to celebrate women, travel, and food — without your boarding pass.
If you’re yearning to catch a bit of the travel bug with delicious recipes, personal stories, and gorgeous photographs, these three cookbooks have a lot to offer for your wanderlust and your appetite, with Asian food in the spotlight.
1 | Indonesia
Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from My Indonesian Kitchen
While Indonesian cuisine largely resides in the shadows of its neighbours of Thailand and Vietnam, Lara Lee’s debut cookbook Coconut & Sambal helps to expose the beautiful intricacies, sensibilities, and delicacies of the island nation. Above and beyond the title’s requisite ingredients of coconut and sambal, Lee’s recipes will inspire a whirlwind of a tropical culinary adventure: You’ll be cooking up the likes of Balinese sticky glazed pork ribs, Gado Gado (Salad with Peanut Sauce), ginger beef satay, and more.
As with any rewarding trip, a flip through her cookbook will leave you with a richer understanding and appreciation of not only Indonesian cuisine but also of the cultural dimensions that inform it. The cookbook is further seasoned with introductory passages and personal narratives, cooking techniques and notes, and beautiful food and travel photographs that speak to her connection with her family’s heritage and her personal food experiences.
2 | Thailand
Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home
Pailin Chongchitnant has graced the YouTube sphere with her profound passion, knowledge, and experience of Thai cookery for now over a decade — and I’ve been with her ever since day one. With the launch of her cookbook of the same name in 2016, Hot Thai Kitchen continues to reveal itself as an excellent authoritative resource of, and a mesmerizing escape within, the Thai culinary landscape. Well decorated with professional experience through San Francisco’s Cordon Bleu stream and a degree from UBC’s Food Nutrition program, Pailin has a wealth of knowledge, and it beautifully culminates in her cookbook showcase of Thai cuisine.
While Pad Thai, Red Curry, and Tom Ka Gai are the familiar staples of your favourite Thai restaurants, Pailin’s cookbook elaborates upon such vibrant and enchanting flavours for the home cook, without the intimidation factor. Punctuated by details of key ingredients, techniques, and traditions of Thai cookery, the cookbook further features QR codes to video tutorials, which cleverly bring you closer to her story and her food. Just as personable and engaging as her videos, her recipes warmly invite you in to a multisensory experience of Thailand.
3 | India
Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India
If you love Food Network’s Chopped, Indian cuisine, and idyllic train rides as much as I do, Chaat has your name on it. From the show’s resident judge and James Beard Award-winning chef Maneet Chauhan, Chaat is a cookbook that invites you on a journey by train through the country’s food markets and street hawkers. You’ll encounter 80 delicious recipes and intriguing anecdotes, inspired by the snacks and the street foods of her travels.
Hop on board a trip that’ll take you in every cardinal direction of India, with savoury and sweet bites along the way, featuring Tokri Chaat (Potato Baskets Stuffed with Vegetable Patties), Prawn Rissóis (Fried Shrimp Turnovers), Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding with Saffron and Pistachios), and more.