Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from My Indonesian Kitchen

Bloomsbury. Oct. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781526603517. $35. COOKING
In her first book, Indonesian Australian chef and food writer Lee presents a tempting collection of Indonesian recipes from snacks and sweets to stews and the ever-present relish called sambal. Lee’s focus is on home cooking but she includes recipes for the country’s beloved street food snacks and sweets. Dishes include spiced corn fritters, spiced meatball soup, vegetable and tempeh fried noodles, accompanied by suggestions for hard-to-find ingredients. This book has a more rustic vibe than Eleanor Ford’s Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia but that doesn’t mean the food isn’t sophisticated; Lee thoroughly describes traditional techniques, along with sensible shortcuts and alternatives while instructing on the many influences on Indonesian cookery. Alongside each recipe is its country of origin, spice level, cooking how-to, and sometimes Lee’s personal reflections. Notably, many recipes include vegetarian or vegan variations, and beautiful photographs accompany most dishes.
VERDICT An excellent primer on an overlooked cuisine..
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