It was the aroma. The exotic scent of spices: rich, alluring, and almost magical. A scent that would sometimes overpower the freshness in the air and sometimes subtly mingle with it to create a tantalizing bouquet. A scent that would always bring me back to my childhood.
Growing up enveloped in the aromas of her mother’s spice stall in Kuala Lumpur, Christina Arokiasamy developed an artist’s sense of how to combine and use spices in traditional and innovative ways. In The Spice Merchant’s Daughter, she shares her family’s spice secrets, expertly guiding and enticing home cooks to enliven their repertoires.
Christina weaves evocative stories of cooking at her mother’s side with real-world practical advice gleaned not only from working in professional kitchens but also from tackling the nightly task of getting a home-cooked dinner on the table for her family of four using American ingredients. She shows how easy it is to build layers of complex flavor to create 100 tempting Southeast Asian–inspired recipes, including Lemon Pepper Wings, Spicy Beef Salad, Steamed Snapper with Tamarind-Ginger Sauce, Cardamom Butter Rice with Sultanas, and Coconut Flan Infused with Star Anise. She unlocks the transformative power of homemade spice rubs, curry pastes, and sauces, as well as chutneys and pickles, enabling home cooks to bring new depth and dimension to their favorite dishes.
With lush photography and a chapter identifying and defining key pantry ingredients and aromatics, The Spice Merchant’s Daughter both inspires and empowers, awakening the senses and unlocking the alluring world of spices.
Christina Arokiasamy, of Indian descent, was raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She began her culinary career working in her family’s kitchen and spice stall before cooking in various Four Seasons resorts throughout Southeast Asia. Arokiasamy opened the Spice Merchant’s Cooking School in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her family.