I've cooked Asian for many years now, and have owned at least a dozen different Asian cookbooks, but I've always found them lacking in desserts, or other sweet recipes. This book fills the void in my cookbook collection.
First of all, it is a beautiful book, with lots of color photos. It has more recipes then I thought possible, some being traditional Asian desserts, and others being more American with Asian infusions.
There is a short introduction in which the author agrees with me that Asian desserts have been quite overlooked in America. There is then a section on bakeware needed, most of which should already be in every decently supplied kitchen. Finally there is a chapter entitled The Sweet Asian Pantry, which not only describes different ingrediants used, (some of which should already be on hand in your kitchen, others which may need special ordering,) but also recommends brand names to get.
The first chapter of recipes in the book is devoted to cakes, which is further divided by type of cakes. It starts with loaf and sheet cakes, of which there are four recipes, including an olive oil and yogurt cake. Next there are three steamed cake recipes, which I had never heard of before this book, including steamed pandan layer cake. Next are five recipes for individual cakes including ginger date pudding cakes with rum-walnut toffee sauce. The next section of cakes is devoted to layer cakes, of which there are four recipes, including carrot cake with lime cream cheese frosting. The last section of cakes is cheesecakes, and there are three recipes, including a recipe for Grand Marnier tofu cheesecake.
Chapter two is devoted to cookies, begining with six recipes for drop cookies including ginger oatmeal raisin cookies. There are then eight recipes for Chinese-American cookies, which includes two recipes for what is probably the best known Asian dessert to America, the fortune cookie.
Pies and tarts are covered next, first with seven well known American pie with Asian twists, including a scrumptious coconut cream pie with a jasmine rice crust. There are then four recipes for desserts with Chinese puff pastry, including caramelized pineapple turnovers.
Next is a chapter for my favorite type of desserts; Puddings and Custards. There are ten recipes included, and unlike the other chapters, this one is not divided by type. Included are recipes like spiced chocolate pudding with caramel crisped rice cereal and coconut bread pudding.
There is an entire chapter devoted to candy, which is not found in many of the dessert cookbooks I own. This is divided by style again, but the first recipe, milk chocolate and peanut bars, seems to have no category. There are then five recipes for candy with caramel, including spiced caramel popcorn. That is followed by two recipes of candy with rice, which is a staple in Asia, including seasme balls with a fig filling.
Next is a chapter of desserts with fruit, which is a topic I'm very familar with, owning several books on the subject. The twelve recipes in this chapter have not been divided by type, but its not really needed anyway. Recipes including the cover picture sake-sauteed plums with ginger and star anise and fried bananas.
The last true dessert chapter in the book is devoted to frozen desserts, mainly ice cream and other similar items. Fourteen recipes are included and include fruit creamsicle pops and a very unusual sounding shaved ice with corn, avocado, and red beans.
The final chapter of the book, which I was suprised to see in a dessert book, is Drinks. There are seven recipes, including another unusual sounding "dessert" avocado milk shake.
Mr. Ong has also listed mail order sources for the ingrediants needed, including Amazon.com, of which I've searched, and found many of the more unusual ingrediants.
This is a great book, and I had needed it for my ever growing Asian cookbook collection.