Culinary gifts from local resources


We are very lucky to have a large number of outstanding chefs, authors, and culinary specialists right here in Minnesota. They also like to share their passion for food by writing books, giving classes, running restaurants, or importing Asian ingredients….and sometimes all four. Here are a few ideas for holiday gifts from folks next door. Another great idea is a gift certificate from your favorite restaurant. It offers a nice treat for the recipient and a way of supporting our wonderful restaurants. Happy holidays!

 Raghavan Iyer’s “660 Curries” Here’s the definitive cookbook on creating the foods of India in your own kitchen. Published in 2008, it is now in its second printing and was named the Outstanding Asian Cookbook in the U.S. by the Gourmand Awards. Recipes run the gamut from really easy to let’s take some time to explore the multi-faceted flavors of India – good for the beginning cook and really good for the experienced chef. Published by Workman the 809-page hard cover edition has a price of $36.95 and the soft cover is $22.95. Available at local bookstores and through His two other cookbooks are also good gifts…Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking and Turmeric Trails.

 250 Teas at TeaSource Years ago Bill Waddington set out to learn about tea and wound up becoming an expert who travels the globe seeking out special teas and importing more than 250 different varieties. He sells them via his website – – and in his two TeaSource stores. What fun to step into the exotic world of tea and try one, or two, or three then select a gift assortment of interesting teas or something used in the making of tea. Teapots, tea strainers, cups, whips, cookbooks – almost anything tea related is available from TeaSource including classes to expand your appreciation of tea. Visit the TeaSource at 2908 Pentagon Drive NE, St. Anthony, MN, or at 752 Cleveland in St. Paul. Call for information at 612-788-7842 or toll free 877-768 7233.

 Leeann Chin and Katie Chin’s “Everyday Chinese Cooking” The late Leeann Chin and her daughter Katie Chin published an easy-to-use cookbook “Everyday Chinese Cooking”. Still in popular demand, this colorful book filled with 150 recipes and helpful cooking techniques was designed to bring Chinese family cooking into your home. For the many students and fans of Mrs. Chin it is a great reminder of her influence on the appreciation of Chinese cooking in this area. And with Katie’s contributions and suggestions it makes cooking a fun family affair. Published in 2000 by Clarkson Potter Publishers it has a hard cover price of $22.00.

 “Cooking from the Heart…” The University of Minnesota Press last year published the first Hmong hardcover cookbook “Cooking from the Heart: the Hmong Kitchen in America.” It is an exceptional book by Sami Scripter and Sheng Yang, two neighbors who, for years, exchanged recipes and then compiled these traditional Hmong recipes in a cookbook. From whole fish steamed in banana leaves to special chicken soup for new mothers the book provides an extensive look at the Hmong cuisine seldom seen by people outside the culture. Here is a treasure of recipes never before made available in printed form and an excellent resource for Hmong traditions and cooking. Hard cover price is $29.95.

 “Crying Tiger” by Supatra Johnson This very talented cook, teacher and restaurant owner published recipes of her native Thailand in 2004. Filled with easily prepared Thai dishes, “Crying Tiger” uses ingredients readily available in Asian markets or at specialty stores. Combining sweet and sour, salty and bland, Thai cooking is one of the most delicious and freshest of the Asian cuisines. Limes, fish sauce, Thai basil, and shrimp paste are some of the typical Thai flavors that give each dish its unique style. From the signature dish Crying Tiger to the popular Pad Thai, Stir-Fried Pork in Peanut Curry Sauce, Thai Grilled Chicken, and more, recipes are easy to follow for delicious results. There is also a section of recipes for young cooks. At $14.95 in soft cover, “Crying Tiger” is available in Asian markets and through the author’s website She also offers Thai cooking classes in her St. Paul restaurant. For more information visit her website, cal 651-222-5859 or visit Supatra’s at 289 5th Street East, St. Paul.

 Coastal Seafoods’ Sushi Classes We are so fortunate to have markets specializing in all the areas of food necessary to cook truly authentic Asian dishes. Coastal Seafoods is among the best with its amazing array of fresh and frozen seafood. But it also offers seafood cooking classes throughout the year including sushi, outdoor grilling and more. For complete information visit their website at, call 612-724-7425. Visit their Minneapolis store at 2330 Minnehaha Avenue South or their St. Paul store at 74 S. Snelling Avenue, 651-698-4888. They also offer gift certificates and a variety of gift items.

 Phyllis Louise Harris is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher specializing in Asian foods. She is founder of the Asian Culinary Arts Institutes Ltd. dedicated to the preservation, understanding and enjoyment of the culinary arts of the Asia Pacific Rim. For information about ACAI’s programs call 612-813-1757 or visit the website at www.asian