Publisher: Hardie Grant Books
Given the abundance of restauranteurs writing books, mostly being pretentious, self glorifying essays, it is nice to come across one where the author is self-effacing and modest. To me, the aim of a cookery book is two fold. Firstly, I like to understand why the author is presenting the recipes, and, secondly, I like the making of the recipes to achievable at home. Lets face it, while we all have different cookery skills and equipment, we want to take the recipes and make them ourselves.
Chui Lee Luk’s book, Green Pickled Peaches, takes us through the five senses of Scent, Sight, Sound, Touch and Taste to bring her unique take of the recipes from Malaysia and ones created by infusing those distant Malaysian tastes with modern styles and techniques.
Diving into the different sections, we find that each section starts with a little introduction, full of presonal memories that give us a glimpse into Chui’s early life. So, within Scent, we learn about the early memories of smells from the kitchen, and how they were associated with cooking. Then, we have the delicious recipes, in this case the likes of Mullet Steamed with Salted Cumquat, Fish Fragrant Watermelon and Coconut, Gula Melaka and Sweet Potato to name but a few.
While I won’t list every recipe in the book here, I can say that Green Pickled Peaches is Asian infusion cooking at its best. We have recipes that are simple and recipes that are more complex, but they are presented in a manner that would allow you to cook them successfully. This alone sets it above many apparitional cookery books that are more to do with ego that sharing knowledge and technique with the reader. Malaysian food, with its unique blend of local and Chinese has been less in the limelight than Thai and Chinese cookery styles. This book may just turn things around, and allow us to fully appreciate the delights that Malaysian ingredients and techniques have to offer.