An Asian cookbook worth a look

The Book 

Adam’s Big Pot: Easy Meals for your family


Adam Liaw



What it says on the back cover

Simple enough for the novice home cook, affordable enough to feed the whole family and made from basic supermarket ingredients, Adam’s Big Pot shares recipes that will become new family favourites from just one big wok, pan, dish or pot.

What made me pick up this book?

The back cover’s inscription…

Seriously many a person does not want to pick up a book and go through it only to find there are only a few things that they have in their pantry and they may find themselves having to go out and get new ingredients for. Not everyone is adventureous and not everyone has the money to do so. Adam’s Big Pot is a book which aims to share with the reader a bunch of yummy recipes that have ingredients which may be found in our kitchens. OK I use that term ‘maybe’ loosely because there are many out there like myself who have a pantry filled with stuff that alot of people out there have no idea what to do with and then there are others who are new to this food business, they want to try something out because they have eaten it at some restaurant and are keen to replicate it in their own home… now thats called experimenting and for me, its one of the reasons I enjoy cooking because it allows me to play with my food a little, dabble in a bit of science and try something that is different to what I grew up on. I am a bit daring perhaps but in today’s world and with the population of my country growing (New Zealand) more and more people are flocking to my homeland to make it their land too.  Having travelled has been a bonus for me but for some, they have not been to some of those great places I love to visit – Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia.. yes they don’t just eat camel by the way.

Is this book worth buying?

This book was a book I borrowed yet again from my library. Seriously dear readers if you saw my home you would appreciate why I chose to borrow this book out. I will eventually buy a big enough to house my books but for now this home has a bookcase dedicated to my cookbooks, cookbook memoirs, historical cookbooks that date back to after the wars, books from famous places such as Raffles to the Titantic. I really do have a big fascination with food, it really is part of who I am. But back to the book…

Adam’s big Pot is a delightful read and even more delightful one to cook with. The first night I got it home I found myself whizzing up one of his pastes to add to my freezer for various dishes. The recipes are simple but confusing at first due to the layout. The ingredients are listed at the top of the page with the method and the name of the recipe and a blurb at the bottom… this is somewhat confusing at first when there are perhaps two recipes on the same page. Each recipe has a photograph but still I got a wee bit lost with it at first.

This book is an excellent starting point for someone who is just starting out and experiment with flavours. I was quite bemused when my Mum came over recently and I found her flipping through the book. That to me signals a great book for a novice and the back cover must have grabbed her attention much in the way it grabbed mine. But I am more of an experienced cook and have been using some of these things for years. One of the things that will most attract me to a book are the little condiments or the sauces that chefs or cooks add to their meals and how I could use these in other areas. Adam’s book has done that. In this book I found a recipe for a friend’s favourite dish of Tandoori Chicken and although I have several recipes for this dish I was very impressed on how Adam used this same recipe which he used for his Butter Chicken. Now that is my kind of book. Now as I have said, I have many a cookbook, many a book which is lovely, but one more wouldn’t hurt would it? And if I had the money right now, this would be it. I really enjoyed it and cooking the recipes from it which all turned out beautifully. For now I have handwritten out several of his recipes and will get the book when I can. Thank you Adam 🙂

“So many bits and pieces leftover from cooking can be put to excellent use, extracting flavours that might otherwise have gone to waste. Prawn shells are a great example. Instead of consigning them to the bin, just fifteen minutes of effort will produce a rich stock that will improve your soups, curries, or even stir fried dishes immeasurably”  (Adam Liaw, Adam’s Big Pot, 2014).

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