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Indonesian Cuisine Cookbooks

by Nancy Freeman

introduction  |  recipes  |  cookbooks  |  glossary  |  restaurants

Relatively few cookbook authors devote themselves exclusively to Indonesian food and the results are mixed. However, the South-East Asian cookbooks available all have extensive sections on Indonesia, which increases your range of choice.

Because of extensive chopping and grinding, Indonesian cooking is labor-intensive and designed to be done by more than one set of hands. Contemporary cookbook authors fall into two camps. The purists favor grinding by mortar and pestle to retain the old textures and seek out original ingredients while abroad. The modernists update the equipment, using food processors and spice grinders, and substitute more accessible local ingredients. Choose what's best for you.

The Cooking of Singapore
by Chris Yeo and Joyce Jue
Emeryville, Harlow & Ratner, 1993
Singapore? Yes, Singapore, the great meeting place. Here four great cuisines merge and thrive: Chinese, Indian, Nonya and Indonesian. Find excellent Indonesian recipes in this book by Chris Yeo, owner of the San Francisco-based Straits Cafe.

Cuisines of Southeast Asia
by Gwenda L. Hyman
New York, Thomas Woll, 1993 Softbound, 197 pages, $14.95
This book devotes as many of its pages to history, geography and ethnology as it does to recipes. It covers all of Southeast Asia except Cambodia. As a result it provides much useful background about all of the other countries against which to place the recipes.

Indonesian Food and Cookery
by Sri Owen
London, Prospect Books, 1986, hardboard, 268 pages.
The best all of Indonesian cookbooks because of its extensive descriptions of ingredients and techniques and delightful memories of growing up in Sumatra and Java. Sri Owen is an expatriate of mixed Javanese and Minangkabau descent which gives her an unusual insight into more than one tradition. She is a fine writer to boot.
Anything published by Prospect is usually a winner, but not always easy to find in the US. Not to worry. If you're interested in the book, contact Johan or Kay Mathiesen at Food Words (800) 880-4314 or e-mail them at foodword@spiritone.com.

The Indonesian Kitchen
by Copeland Marks with Mintari Soeharjo
New York, Atheneum, 1981, softbound, 278 pages.
A perfectly serviceable book with brief descriptions of techniques and ingredients, but relatively little overview. Marks and Soeharjo tend toward the modernist camp, prescribing peanut butter instead of fresh ground peanuts for their satay sauce, something you'd never see in Sri Owen.

Southeast Asia Cookbook
by Ruth Law
New York, Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1990 Softbound, 452 pages, $16.95
This book surveys the cuisine of all of the accessible countries in Southeast Asia. Because it is based on repeated visits by a Chicago-based author, it leaves out Burma, Cambodia and Laos -- the more difficult sites. Law leans toward the modernist school -- she consistently uses macadamia nut instead of kemiri because it is easier to find -- but her book is extremely useful and a worthwhile investment.

more on Indonesian Cuisine...
introduction  |  recipes  |  cookbooks  |  glossary  |  restaurants

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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