Title: Taste of the East
Author: Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murry
266 pages; Softcover $18.95 US/$24.00 CAN
Publisher: Da Capo Press Lifelong Books, 2010
Reviewed by, Sarah A. Kurobe, November, 2010
Veganism is a diet that
excludes all animal products, differentiating from vegetarianism
in that vegans also exclude dairy and have a much more strict
and rigid diet. This cookbook has various recipes of Asian
cuisine that are transformed into vegan meals in excitingly new
ways. This cookbook is comprised of five main parts: The cuisine
of India, The cuisine of Thailand, The cuisine of China, The
cuisine of Japan, and Asian Fusion. There are a lot of recipes
in this book, but it is also important to note that most of
these recipes need various ingredients that may not be found in
the common kitchen. For each cuisine, “The Asian Pantry” is an
index that explains ingredients that are listed in the recipes.
This index makes it helpful for cooks who may not be familiar
with Asian ingredients. That being said, unless one has access
to an Asian market, it may be very difficult to find the
ingredients in your everyday supermarket.
themselves are organized in a clear and concise format. There
are chef’s tips listed at the bottom of many of the recipes,
which can be helpful for newer cooks. There are 14 color
photographs of various dishes created from the recipes. The
photographs are attractive and of good quality. Based on the
selection of photographs, I decided to try making Lotus Root
Salad and Tempura Vegetables. When making the lotus root salad,
I found that the lotus root itself was hard to locate in a
grocery store and I found myself having to go to three different
stores before I finally found it. The rest of the ingredients
call for everyday supermarket ingredients such as ginger, orange
juice and sesame oil. The dish was quite easy to make, although
I thought that the end result could have had more flavor. I
think it is important when cooking vegan cuisine to add as much
flavor as possible and to incorporate some type of meatless
protein. The vegetable tempura was very similar to the ones I’ve
eaten back home in Japan. The vegetables used in this recipe
were onions, zucchini, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms, which
were very easy to locate. The end result of this recipe was
crispy golden brown pieces of vegetables that are much healthier
than most fried food with no cholesterol or trans fats. Overall,
the cookbook lends an informative guideline to those who are new
to being vegan. However, for non-vegans the recipes may be a bit
bland and overly difficult in terms of locating ingredients.
Photos Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Warfield, Sarah Joy Davis.
Though deep-frying and
healthy living do not go hand in hand, we think you may enjoy
this recipe every now and again And choosing the best-qualy
ingredients makes a big difference.
Cut the vegetables as
flat as possible this makes them easier to fry in shallow oil.
You may wish to lightly pre-steam harder vegetables such as
potatoes, squash, or car ram. Please keep in mind that the
smaller variety of vegetables you use, the quicker the
preparation time will be. Serve with soy sauce, Sweet and Sour
Sauce (page 103), Ponzu Sauce (page 148), Mango Ginger Sauce
(page 61), or one of the following dipping sauces.
4 cups mixed vegetables
(onions, zucchini, broccoli,
carrots, mushrooms, etc.)
2 cups safflower or sunflower oil
or other oil for frying (16 fluid ounces)
2 1/2 cups flour
(try wholewheat or white spelt flour
or for gluten-free
tempura use brown doe flour)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Cut the vegetables and set aside near
the stove. Pour the oil into a large, deep saute pan, pot, or
wok. Heat the oil over medium heat for a few minutes while you
prepare the batter.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir the
flour and salt. Add the sparkling water and stir again to
combine. Test if the oil is hot enough by dripping a little bit
of the batter into it. If it sizzlles and the batter remains at
the top, you can begin.
3. Dip the vegetables in the
batten shaking off the excess if necessary, and use tongs to
place them into the oil one by one. Fill the pan with as many as
can fit without sticking together.
4. Fry on each side
for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with the
tongs, allowing each piece a few seconds to drip off excess oil.
Transfer to a baking tray lined with paper towels. Serve
Photos Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Warfield, Sarah Joy Davis.
Lotus Root Salad
The root of the majestic lotus
flower, prevalent throughout South and East Asia, is perhaps
equally captivating in the culinary world—as far as unique
shapes go. When you slice the root, an intricate mosaic pattern
is revealed. It is crispy, slightly starchy, and slightly sweet
in flavor. Serve on a bed of thinly sliced naps cabbage and
grated purple cabbage Fora colorful presentation.
4 to 6
1 large fresh lotus root, peeled and thinly
sliced (about 2 cups) (see below)
1 carrot, peeled into thin
ribbons or sliced thinly on the diagonal
1/4 cup diced red
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
feshly squeezed lemon or orange juice
1 tablespoon rice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sesame oil or 2
tablespoons of water for an oil-free version
1/4 teaspoon sea
salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder,
1. Place all of the ingredients in a large
mixing bowl and gently mix well.
2. Allow it to marinate,
tossing occasionally, until ready to serve. The longer the dish
has to marinate, the more flavorful and harmonious your dining
experience will be.
Chef's Tips and Tricks
root contains a lot of fiber, which can be a bit starchy and
slightly bitter. Here is a tip for working with, this
fascinating ingredient. Peel the root, slice, and place it in a
bowl of water with a few drops of vinegar to prevent
discoloration. We actually enjoy the root In its raw form.
However, remove some of
the bitterness you Can steam the
root for 5 minutes, or boil it for a few minutes in the water
From the book The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of
the East by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. Excerpted by
arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books
Group. Copyright © 2010.