Pros: Delicious results! Wide variety of recipes
Cons: Not quite what “Every Day” makes me think of; be sure you don’t mind hunting down a few ingredients
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review book (published 2009) courtesy of Chronicle Books.
When I read a book title like Corinne Trang’s Noodles Every Day, I tend to picture quick, simple recipes intended for working families. I don’t think that’s too far off from the assumption most cookbook buyers in the USA will make, so you should know first of all that most of these recipes are a little complex for a tired person just home from work. On the other hand, they also aren’t horribly complex. As long as you know that ahead of time, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by a mismatch of expectations.
The other thing to know is that there are definitely some ingredients in here that you’ll have to hunt down if you don’t have an Asian grocery nearby. I have a Whole Foods with an extensive international section, but it definitely isn’t enough to yield crab-flavored or green tea noodles, for example. As long as you don’t mind putting the effort into tracking down the ingredients, however, the results are delicious!
Let’s look at, for example, the wonton soup. This is one of those dishes that I’ve only ever had in restaurants before, and of course the quality varies from place to place. When it’s great it’s great, but it often disappoints. We couldn’t resist trying to make our own, and it was AMAZING. We used the book’s recipe for homemade wontons, which were so good that the word “sublime” passed our lips multiple times. Combine that with homemade stock and the rest of the recipe for the wonton soup, and you have something incredible! Honestly I’ve never had wontons before that were sooo good. Restaurant fare will never measure up again.
There are handy chapters and sections detailing basic Asian ingredients, cooking techniques, and details of different types of noodles. All of this is handy information—particularly perfect if you find yourself with an Asian grocery nearby and wish to make use of your wonderful resource! Chapters are organized by type of noodle: wheat noodles, egg noodles, buckwheat noodles, rice, and cellophane. There’s also a chapter of basic condiments and stocks, and one of buns, dumplings, and spring rolls.
You won’t find a huge number of photos, but the ones here are gorgeous and evocative. As is typical of most Chronicle cookbooks, the layout is clean and clear and makes it easy to pick apart a recipe on the go in the kitchen.
Recipes include Asian peanut sauce; basic Asian stock; Japanese kelp stock; somen noodles with shrimp curry and peas; udon with Japanese pork and vegetable curry; stir-fried egg noodles with beef and broccoli; crab-flavored noodles with velvety crab sauce and green peas; green tea soba and smoked wild salmon rolls; rice noodle soup with beef and herbs; steamed mung bean noodles and egg pate with ground pork; and much, much more! Each recipe we made came out perfectly—delicious and easy.
So as long as you don’t mind tracking down a few ingredients and spending a little time in the kitchen, have at it! Noodles Every Day will bring you wonderful results!