Why buy it?
Islands haloed by white sands, dinner served on waxy-green banana leaves and market stalls piled with neon produce, My Feast is a tropical slideshow of colour, combining recipes from Peter Kuruvita’s Island Feast and My Sri Lanka television series. From the Philippines to Vanuatu, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and a little island hopping, too, these recipes let the produce take the lead with fussy cooking techniques kept to a minimum. A collection of curries, including many vegetable curries (a particular stand-out being the cashew nut curry, gilded with turmeric), leads into a more unusual assembly of meat and poultry, including the rather colonial-sounding devilled beef. What really stands out, though, are the street food-style recipes. A bundle of barbecued pork belly skewers, crispy egg rolls, a Pinoy empanada dripping with egg yolk, or delicate hoppers will spur you into the kitchen. Undemanding and laidback, the recipes in My Feast can be easily folded into weeknight repertoires.
These recipes are mostly straightforward and use ingredients readily available at Asian grocery stores. However, investing in a small food processor or coffee grinder will come in handy for grinding whole spices and making curry pastes.
Tartlet of braised oxtail with pears and bitter chocolate. A nod to Columbus and his discovery of chocolate.
Most surprising dish
Spanish-style chorizo, crispy pork belly and garlic breadcrumbs. This Filipino dish is interesting in its obvious Spanish and Mexican influence. Rich chorizo and pork with paprika served with a very Asian-style dressing.
Expanding your ingredients list and flavour combinations beyond the usual has the most remarkable rewards. It’s a reminder to be adaptable and creative in your cooking.
These recipes seem to belong in summer. Vegetarians will be in curry nirvana, too.
My Feast with Peter Kuruvita, Hardie Grant, $39.99, hbk.