The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook Review and Giveaway

September’s Let’s Lunch theme is foods our grandmothers cooked, in honor of the paperback launch of Pat Tanumihardja’s book The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook. And while, I don’t have a recipe this time, I have a little more about the cookbook and a chance to win a copy for yourself.

Check it out…

Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

I came across The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook long before I met Pat or joined the Let’s Lunch crew. About three  years ago, I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Wanting to incorporate some of our Taiwanese heritage into the traditional American feast, I really wanted to make yu fan (yu beng in Taiwanese), or sesame oil sticky rice, for the stuffing. Only I had just a vague idea of how to go about it. Of course, I watched my mother make this one-pot meal many times during my childhood, and I knew the ingredients and general proportions and techniques well enough, but for a Thanksgiving turkey for a table full of hungry relatives, I wanted some more concrete directions.

While my family may have had favorite foods, we didn’t really have family recipes. How I would have loved to have a tin full of handwritten index cards. My grandmothers both live in Taiwan, and my experiences watching them cook are main relegated to the Summer of Potato Salad. And like most Asian mothers, my mom cooked from her memory, mixing cornstarch with water until it looked like milk, and adding just enough oil to the pan to stir fry ingredients until they looked right. Even a phone call to my mother yielded only vague instructions.”Saute the meat and rice in sesame oil and then add a little water until it’s done,” she said.

When all else fails, I turn to my trusty friend Google. Typing in the keywords “sesame oil” and “sticky rice” led to many hits, but one website in particular caught my eye. The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook. Brilliant! I spent more time than I should have wandering around the site, I found recipes for lots of home-style foods– not just Chinese, but Singaporean, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino and Indian. From time to time, I would read Pat’s blog. So imagine my surprise last year, when she sent me an email on HapaMama! You see, Pat is also a HapaMama, the mother of an Indonesian-Chinese-Pakistani-White little boy who loves to play with toy trains.

The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook is now available in paperback, with all of Pat’s multicultural recipes, plus gorgeous color photos of many dishes. Here’s a video preview:


Win a copy of The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook

I received a copy of The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook for review from Sasquatch Press, and they are also offering a copy for one lucky winner. Just leave comment below for a chance to win. We’ll announce a winner on Friday, September 13.


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And if you can’t wait for the giveaway, you can order a copy of The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook by clicking on the link above. Your book will  be delivered to an independent bookseller near you, and a percentage of the profits will support Hapamama. 


  1. says

    I would LOVE to win b/c I LOVE Chinese cooking but don’t know how to do it and I LOVE recipes but most Chinese recipes I can’t execute. PLEASE PICK ME :).

  2. Wendy says

    I’m white, my husband is Chinese, and whenever I try to learn a recipe from my mother-in-law, it is EXACTLY as you say- “a little this, a little that-easy-now your turn!” Ahwww! Actual measurements for when she isn’t around would be really helpful! :)

  3. says

    I have this cookbook wishlisted on Amazon. It’s a book I’ve had my eye on for a while. I know the frustration of trying to pin down amounts and clear instructions from my mother!

  4. dorothy says

    I have the same experience of watching my mom cook but with her giving vague directions–sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t!

  5. says

    I’m sorry to say that I too lived too far away from my Chinese grandmother to pick up much in the way of family recipes, and my father is ridiculously vague about the “a pinch of whatever you feel like” business. Maybe that cookbook is the way to fill in the gaps!

  6. Clarissa says

    Would totally love to win this. Trying to learn how to cook Chinese food instead of just eating and writing about it all the time.

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