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SuffolkNews food columnist, Lilian Hiw, launches first cookbook to give a true taste of Asia

A SuffolkNews food columnist who runs a highly-popular cookery school has launched her first cookbook, sharing her love of Asian cuisine.

Lilian Hiw, who teaches her classes at her Culford home, officially released Lilian’s Kitchen – Home Cooked Food at Waterstone’s in Butter Market, Bury St Edmunds, on February 29.

The former West Suffolk College catering lecturer, who also worked at Raffles Hotel in Singapore where the Singapore Sling cocktail was created, said the book will give the reader recipes she loves and stories from her own culinary journey.

Lilian at her book launch in Waterstones in Bury St Edmunds. Picture submitted
Lilian at her book launch in Waterstones in Bury St Edmunds. Picture submitted

On the book’s release, Lilian said: “I am ecstatic that it is finally here for people to see and try my take on some Asian dishes without the complications of the cuisine.

“When I started Lilian’s Kitchen seven years ago, people were telling me back then that I needed to bring a cookbook out and it had always been in the back of my mind, but building up the business took time, so I am glad I finally sat down and wrote it last year and I hope people enjoy it.”

The book, which is available to buy at Waterstone’s Butter Market store and the Lilian’s Kitchen website, has around 50 recipes includes dishes from nations such as India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, as well as Lilian’s home country, Singapore.

The cover of Lilian's cookbook. Picture submitted
The cover of Lilian's cookbook. Picture submitted

Lilian said: “I am very grateful to the huge team behind me that have made this book possible, they were my cheerleaders, .

“Doing everything from the book design to my army of testers who helped me make sure the recipes were just right – I can’t thank every single person enough.”

Suffolk News columnist and award-winning food writer, Nicola Miller, gives us her opinion on the book:

Singapore-born Lilian Hiw was destined to work in the hospitality business, born to parents who operated a food stall in the city's Princess market.

'This was my first apprenticeship in food and customer service,' she writes in the introduction to her first book, Lilian's Kitchen, which offers us extremely well-tested recipes from ten different Asian countries and useful hints and tips on how to cook with ingredients and equipment we may be less familiar with.

It is an excellent primer for beginners and more experienced cooks using what Lilian describes as 'readily available ingredients': You can find most of them in a good supermarket, online, or in independent international stores.

Recipes are divided by country and have headnotes telling you about the dish's origins (A Peranakan Chicken Curry flavoured with ginger, turmeric and coconut milk is named for the Peranakan people of mixed Chinese and Maly or Indonesian heritage, for example).

Recipes that stand out? Lilian's famous Malay-inspired Curry Puffs are a favourite of mine, and her recipe for extremely pretty and fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls is the one I learned at her cooking school.

The Smoked Salmon Nigiri Balls are a clever marriage between Japanese cooking and a famous British ingredient: a Lemongrass Mojito is a zingy Asian-Cuban fusion; her refreshing Thai Som Tum uses mango instead of papaya; a classic Singaporean roti is stuffed with Sambal-scrambled egg and minced lamb to become an utterly-delicious and genius 'Asian Burger'; and a bowl of Korean Japchae uses sweet potato noodles in a dish that can be eaten hot or cold.

There's puddings too: I particularly love the sound of Miso-Toffee Pineapple, and a simple Mango Sticky Rice.