Simple, earthy, fiery, and fresh, Hmong food is an exciting but still little-known Southeast Asian cuisine. We have gathered more than one hundred recipes from Hmong cooks across America. They range from well-known items such as egg rolls and green papaya salad, to more unfamiliar dishes, such as Nqaij Qaib Hau Xyaw Tshuaj (Chicken Soup for New Mothers) and Dib Iab Ntim Nqaij Hau Ua Kua (Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup). Cooking from the Heart is beautifully illustrated with color photos of completed dishes (click your refresh button to view more dishes), black and white photos from inside Hmong kitchens, and provides descriptions of unusual ingredients and cooking techniques.
Cooking from the Heart is the first cookbook to clearly set out the culinary traditions of the Hmong people as well as the cultural significance such traditions hold. The recipes are accompanied by anecdotes, stories, and poems that demonstrate the importance of food and cooking in Hmong culture, and they offer a dramatic perspective on the immigrant experience. We explain diet restrictions and taboos as well as how herbs and foods are traditionally used for healing purposes. The oral tradition by which these recipes have been passed down has meant that Hmong cooking has not yet reached a wide audience in the United States. While designed for an American kitchen, Cooking from the Heart encourages readers to seek out Hmong herbs and vegetables only recently introduced in the United States. After all, the essence of Hmong cuisine is cooking with an adventurous and creative spirit - from the heart.
"This is a gem, a superb illustration of a piece of wisdom from long ago - to begin to understand a people you must first eat with them. Any serious collector of food books and anyone intrigued by the nearly unknown Hmong ways with food will want this book. The recipes draw you in, but it is the stories and the cultural portraits that keep you turning pages."
Lynne Rossetto Kasper - Host, "The Splendid Table®," public radio's national food show from American Public Media.
"This book is a wonderful blend of the Hmong American experience. The recipes feature not only traditional Hmong foods but also tastes from our journeys through China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. The recipes supply the base ingredients, but the narratives and stories provide the spices that truly flavor the dish!"
Mee Moua - Minnesota State Senator
"Cooking from the Heart is a comprehensive look into the Hmong community kitchen and a valuable key for so many born within it-for the return home."
Kao Kalia Yang - Author of "The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir"
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* Some Photographs courtesy of Cenveo: Robin Lietz photographer; Lara Miklasevics, food stylist; Rhonda Watkins, prop stylist.
Cooking From The Heart: The Hmong Kitchen In America is published by
University of Minnesota Press