Welcome to Bite This Book! Each month, I feature a cookbook of my choosing, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book, good reads on Simple Bites.
When it comes to ethnic foods I am happy to step back and take a few leads from the experts. Jaden Hair is one such individual, and she’s on a mission to make Asian cooking possible for real home cooks.
Her latest cookbook, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites: 100 Recipes That Are Fast, Fresh, and Simple Enough for Tonight’s Supper, is one I know you will appreciate for its simple techniques and family focused dishes.
Jaden won my family over with her recipe for Healing Chicken Ginger Soup last month when we were on the mend from colds. Then my kids tucked into heaping plates of her Dan Dan Mien – egg noodles with ground turkey, napa cabbage and a killer sauce – and never looked up until it was finished.
This cookbook in guaranteed to be sticky with fish sauce in no time, and we’ll be all the more versed in our Asian-style dinners. Next up is kimchi!
Read on for an interview with Jaden and a chance to win a copy of Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites.
Q & A with Jaden of Steamy Kitchen
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your cooking style/philosophy.
I am all about keepin’ it simple! One of my general rules about creating recipes is that it has to be easy enough for anyone to follow it at home. My 8 & 9 year old kids are in the kitchen with me all the time, sometimes I’m just the conductor and they’ll take over cooking. I guess if they can do it, anyone can!
2. With this new book you really make Asian food accessible to home cooks and families. Can you suggest a few recipes for the novice to warm up with?
The Asian slaw makes a crunchy salad with a tangy dressing and will change the way you think about slaw forever! I also love the Korean Beef Bites – a simple marinade, quick grill and serve on top of rice crackers. For super-simple, the 5-minute Tofu Miso Soup is a warming way to start or end any meal.
3. What does cooking healthy mean in the Steamy Kitchen?
It means four things:
- Holding back the high calorie, dense sauces and instead focusing on fresh herbs, fragrant spices.
- Learning cooking techniques that cut down the use of oils and fats – correct stir frying technique only uses a couple teaspoons of oil to feed four!
- Using meats sparingly, as in the Asian tradition.
- Focusing on recipes that are gluten-light or gluten-free.
4. You have a homestead (like us!) where your children name the chickens and pick produce from the garden. How important is it for children to know where real food comes from? What’s next for your homestead?
I always have my kids bring fresh eggs, vegetables, herbs to their classroom to share with their friends. I so wish that schools would offer “Nutrition and Home Ec” classes for their students.
We’ve just started an aquaponics garden with 3 grow beds and 120 koi fish. The system is amazing. Scott is working on automating the aquaponics monitoring – to get it to text him if the temperature or some other factor changes drastically. I love that he’s a geek!
Our next project is to build a greenhouse for the aquaponics garden!
Editor’s note: Thank you Jaden! That aquaponics garden sounds so cool! Thanks for sharing with us. Readers, be sure to watch Jaden’s SUPER cute cookbook trailer starring her sweet family – and the chickens.
All photos by Jaden Hair.
Thanks to the publishers at Ten Speed Press, we have a copy of Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites to giveaway to a lucky reader.
To enter this giveaway leave a comment on this post and, just for fun, tell me an Asian ingredient you have in your kitchen right now!
Giveaway ends Sunday, April 7, at 8:00 AM EST. Good luck to all!