Fall in love with Asian cuisine

THE Red Spice Road Cookbook is a sumptuous collection of recipes from the kitchen of

the popular Melbourne restaurant.

Combining centuries-old recipes with modern ingredients and know-how, chef John McLeay shares his love of all things Asian in this cookbook.

He explains how travelling to Asia started his love affair with their cuisine: "I'm often asked what I find exciting about Asian food. I love the balance: take our most popular dish, pork belly with chilli caramel, black vinegar and cabbage mint salad. Pork belly is incredibly rich and so is the caramel, but when you add the black vinegar and the refreshing cabbage salad that has a citrus tang, it becomes balanced.”

Mouth-watering recipes featured in the book include prawn jungle curry, crispy five-spice quail, and chilli basil chicken.

The recipes are not too demanding of the average home cook, with John declaring: "I've tried my best to make these recipes easy to understand. I've not tried to bamboozle you with too many dressings, ingredients or pastes”, making this cookbook ideal for those just starting on their Asian cooking journey.

Scallop with smoked trout, green mango and crispy turmeric


6cm piece of turmeric, peeled and julienned

100ml vegetable oil

75g smoked trout, bones removed

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced

2cm piece of lemongrass, white part only, diced

50g baby shiso

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

1 large red chilli, seeded and sliced

1⁄3 cup coriander leaves

Flesh of 1 green mango, chopped

90ml hot and sour dressing

8 half-shell scallops, cleaned


Combine turmeric and oil in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, until turmeric

darkens slightly and becomes crisp. Remove from the heat, drain on paper towels and set aside until required.

In a bowl combine the trout, kaffir lime, lemongrass, shiso, shallots, chilli, coriander, green mango and half the hot and sour dressing. Stir to combine.

Remove the scallops from the shell and salt lightly. Wash the shells in cold water. Heat a little oil in a frypan and cook the scallops for 30-

40 seconds each side (cooking time will vary according to scallop size). Place the scallops back on to the shells, spoon over a little hot and sour dressing then place a little of the salad on each.

Top with the crispy turmeric.

The Red Spice Road Cookbook by John McLeay, New Holland Publishers Australia, RRP $35.

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