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The Best of Both Culinary World: Asian Kosher

Keeping kosher doesn’t mean giving up favorite dishes, but innovating and transforming international recipes into exotic kosher creations. Shifra Devorah Witt and Zipporah Malka Heller, a mother-daughter cooking and writing team, put this principle into practice when they wrote The Complete Asian Kosher Cookbook.

This compact, elegant volume is a well-need improvement on the traditional bulky Asian cookbooks busy with detailed instructions and light on readily available ingredients or helpful photographs. The Kosher Asian Cookbook cuts through the verbiage and contains easy, clear instructions on how to prepare popular dishes from China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Southeast Asia and India. Beautiful, full-color photographs guide the reader through familiar recipes in which non-kosher ingredients are replaced with beef, chicken, tofu and vegetarian versions.

Shifra Devorah and Tzipporah Malkah Heller’s love of Asian food has been a family tradition. Tzipporah Malka’s mother, known to all in Tzfat as “Bubby Esther” was famous in her native Petosky Michigan for her Sweet and Sour chicken. Asian food was often a fast, fresh and easy dinner choice when Tzipporah Malka was working and raising her daughter, Shifra Devorah who invented the Chinese baked chicken recipe when she was only ten years old. Menachem Mendel, Shifra Devorah’s two year old son, enjoyed Pad Thai and sushi among his first foods and has already mastered the art of eating with chopsticks.

This is the second book written, by Shifra Devorah who is an instructor with an MFA in creative writing and is author of Inside Secrets to the Craft of Writing.” Putting together a cookbook is a unique experience from writing other books, not only because the kitchen is the venue for inspiration and many of the first “drafts” are edible, but also because “You define the creative process in measuring cups…you build something and take it apart so someone else can create it.”

The book is intended for novice and expert cooks alike; “You can make something and feel you are in a restaurant.” It answers the question ‘What do I make for Shabbos? What do I make for Yom Tov,” said Tzipporah Malkah.”It fits into our value system. It’s healthy. It’s easy.”

The Complete Kosher Asian Cookbook is published by Targum Press and will be available in bookstores in the coming weeks. It can be ordered by at the Targum website at www.targum.com.