Author: Adam Liaw
Hachette RRP $39.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

Last year I watched an episode of Destination Flavour Japan, an SBS cooking series hosted by Adam Liaw (of Masterchef Australia fame). The episode was set in Okinawa and the recipe I thought my family would most like was Taco Rice. The American-Japanese dish was created in the 1960s as a “creature of convenience from military surplus rations of packaged taco seasoning and salsa” and is now one of Okinawa’s iconic foods. I never got around to it, but when I flicked though Liaw’s latest cookbook, Adam’s Big Pot, I knew I had to make it a priority.

A cookbook for modern families, Adam’s Big Pot is chock-full of easy family meals that can be made (mostly) in one big wok, pan, dish or pot. Most of the ingredients are affordable and easy to find in supermarkets, so you don’t look at a recipe, decide you want to cook it and then realise it uses super-expensive, gourmet products. I hate that! Flicking through this book, you’ll find a good range of recipes from fresh Vietnamese salads and simple South African curries, to Korean grilled pork belly and one-pot Japanese classics. Best of all, they’re not difficult to master. Style-wise, the book is attractive, with eye-catching photographs – good job by the styling team. The recipes are easy to follow and include tips and anecdotes to add Adam’s personal touch; however, the placement of the recipe name at the bottom of the page distracted and confused me. It didn’t feel natural for my eye to have to travel back up to the ingredients and method.

I’m always looking for new dishes to bring to the family, and on weekdays I need them to be fairly quick. This cookbook meets that brief and I can see it won’t gather dust in my house. I’ve already made the following two dishes: Chicken and Cashew Nuts (this included making a batch of what Liaw calls Chi-Thai sauce) and Taco Rice.

Chicken and cashew nuts
Taco rice

They were both delicious! We even had leftover taco rice, which reheated perfectly. This dish really appealed to the kids. The recipe in the book is slightly different to the one highlighted in the intro, so I’m going to make the other and compare … but that’s just me. There was enough Chi-Thai sauce, made as part of the Chicken and Cashew Nut dish, to keep in the fridge for a couple more dishes. Note, Liaw suggests making this sauce (among others) but also offers alternatives if you want to keep things even faster. I’m looking forward to making Thai-style braised pork next (and Blue Eyes has just put in a request for the Big Red Curry).

If the words “easy” and “affordable” speak to you as much as “creative”, this cookbook would be a handy addition to your shelf. It gets a thumbs up from me.

Available from good bookstores and Hachette. My copy was courtesy of Hachette Australia.



Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

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