Cook the books: as easy as ABC

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Added
30 May, 2017

Fancy Korean, Mexican or Sri Lankan for dinner? We’ve got the recipes you need right here from the new Alphabet series, just arrived in your library. Food writer Imogen Rose cooked a dish from each book to see just how easy it is to introduce something new to your weekly menu.

Food for friends

I should start this by confessing I love Korean food, it’s one of my favourite Asian cuisines and tofu dishes are always my top choice when I eat it at a restaurant. But I’ve never had much success when trying it in my own kitchen, I either burn it, or it’s completely tasteless, so I was intrigued to see if my luck could change with these recipes. 
 
All the ingredients were super easy to find in my big high-street supermarket and didn’t break the bank either, which is always a bonus. Whenever I try a new recipe it always seems to take me twice the stated time so I had visions of not eating ‘til midnight. However, I am pleased to say that it was quite the opposite. The recipes couldn’t have been easier to assemble and the whole thing probably took about 30 minutes to make, which is absolutely perfect for a midweek dinner with friends. 
 
The meal itself was incredibly tasty. The tofu recipe calls for Gochugaru, which are Korean red pepper flakes and these give it a really interesting and unique flavour. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and sour, which is what I crave when it comes to Asian dishes. The Korean coleslaw went brilliantly with it and there was enough left over for lunch the next day. I am so excited that I now have a go-to tofu recipe that doesn’t take gallons of oil or numerous hours to make into a filling and flavoursome dish. 

Street food at home

To me, Fish Tacos are the definition of summer street food. Crispy strips of white fish in a crunchy taco shell with spoonfuls of fresh spicy salsa; it’s the perfect food for a hot day. Unfortunately we had a wet Monday evening to contend with so what better antidote than this sunshine food? 
 
The recipe took no time at all to prep and the cooking was even quicker. I’m always a bit dubious about deep-frying things because of the smell and mess that can occur but the recipe was so clear, I think it would have been very hard to get it wrong. 
 
In my house we really enjoy the kind of meal that involves a table full of tasty bits to assemble yourself and these fish tacos are case in point. The Mexican beer batter is beautifully light and the combination of the salsa and red onion provide the perfect zing. It’s a light meal so next time I would consider adding a guacamole or something similar, into the mix. I do enjoy a taco shell but they are a little tricky to eat so I might replace it with a soft corn tortilla nevertheless it really does work and judging from the content faces round the table, I will definitely be using this recipe again. 


The midweek curry

Living in London, as I do, I am exposed to such an exciting array of different cultures and cuisines. Yet the Sri Lankan cuisine seemed to have passed me by somewhat until this recipe book fell into my hands. Sri Lanka is a little island off the coast of South India and while the food takes some influences from India there are also vast differences. The dishes are much more punchy and aromatic and though the curry and rice style of the meal is the same, their array of flavour combinations is much more brave. This recipe is the perfect example. 

The curry powder is made from scratch, which was a really pleasing process. The aromas were amazing with the smell of cardamom and curry leaves really grabbing you. I also like the idea of knowing that the meal is entirely homemade, it gives it a much more authentic edge. However, if I wasn't so lucky with the area that I live in, I might have had to dig around online to get some of the ingredients.  The recipes may have taken a little longer to prep than a normal weekday dinner, they took no time at all to cook and the end result was remarkable. The recipes were incredibly clear and easy to follow which certainly resulted in an extremely tasty dish. The flavours were perfectly balanced and the parathas were a brilliant accompaniment. I have a feeling that I will be exploring a lot more of the Sri-Lankan cuisine. 
 





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