"Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking," "Healthy South Indian Cooking," and "Flavors of Malaysia: A Journey through Time, Tastes, and Traditions" share a common thread of beautiful photographs and delicious recipes. Each having a slightly different base, focusing on different Asian countries, the books are a perfect mix of novelty and practicality.
Take "Flavors of Malaysia," for example. The book serves as a looking hole into Malaysian culture, telling the history of the country as a tool for exploration into its extensive culture and food. The mix of cultures found in the country, with sociologists having classified some 180 identifiable ethnic groups there, according to the book, make for an incredible mixture of flavors found in the food. Combining flavors and recipes from East Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Malaysia is a melting pot of food history.
The book showcases this history through a variety of deliciously well explained recipes, each accompanied with an anecdote about Author Susheela Raghavan's experience with the dish.
Dishes to try: Cucak Sayur Vegetable Fritters, Bakuteh Pork Rib Soup, Nasi Minyak Ghee Rice, Mee Siam Siamese Noodles, and Cile Sotong Chile Squid.
"Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking" similarly delves into the history of the country, but in a much more brief manner. That shortness is bulked up by an included primer to traveling to and around the island of Sri Lanka. The chapter includes everything from pointers on sights to see and festivals to attend to tips for finding ATMs and using cell phones.
While the recipes in this book are all mouthwatering, what really got us excited was the full spice guide included. With gorgeous, full color photos, the key spices and ingredients in the Sri Lankan cuisine are fully explained, linking in their related family members and what other ingredients could possibly be used for substitution. This is a wealth of incredibly useful information, especially when approaching a new cuisine for the first time.
Dishes to try: Kadala Spicy Chick Peas, Kaha Bath Yellow Rice, Pol Roti Coconut Flat Bread, Kakuluwo Crab Curry, and Paripoo Sri Lankan Lentils.
"Healthy Indian Cooking" has a similar spice index in its introduction, including multilingual translations of all important ingredients. While this book has a less extensive look into the background of South Indian history, culture and cuisine, it has added recipe information including things like calorie count, potential substitutes and general cooking tips with all recipes.
Dishes to try: Bondas, Peanut Chutney, Black Pepper Rice with Cashews, Coconut Rice, and Chettinad Chicken Chops.