"NORI FLAKES, SHREDS, OR POWDER/AO NORI/AO-NORIKO (Japanese seaweed seasoning and garnish for salads and raw vegetables)"

MacLeod presents this book as an invitation to explore the art of Asian cooking. Like her other books, this is more than just a well-researched list of A-to-Z entries that offer a one-stop place to discover substitutes for recipe ingredients. Once again, the author’s goal for this reference guide is giving the reader the ability to substitute more vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, and low-salt ingredients. The health-conscious will find six pages on rice substitutes and sixteen other flour options. Some substitutions will just plain be a surprise. Who would have thought to substitute cauliflower puree and coconut extract for coconut milk?

For those who have been staying away from Asian food that is too salty, the book offers many homemade versions of all of the usual high-salt-content sauces from the store. There are several Teriyaki sauce variations, Thai hot chili sauce (sriracha), and less-salty soy sauce substitutions. These combinations can then be tweaked to perfectly suit the person on a low-salt diet and still please other family members. A unique feature of MacLeod’s books is the “Make Your Own” recipes. For example, one can learn how to make their own wonton wrappers or the Bengali Five-Spice mix, a much-appreciated aid for the reader living distant from any grocery market.

MacLeod’s guide makes it easy to try new recipes without wasting money on a one-time usage ingredient. And multiple substitutions, like thirteen entries for curry powder, allow families to tour the flavor profiles of a different Asian country every dinner time. Readers can also duplicate take-out favorites with help from a thrifty and wisely-stocked cupboard while never again being wary about one’s ability to make an Asian-inspired recipe. Online searching will now be limited to finding the desired recipe, grabbing this compact reference guide, and impressing the family.

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