The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen {book review}

Every so often a cookbook comes along that truly fills a need in the food world. The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More, by Laura B. Russell is one such book.

As soon as this book was released I knew it was special.  And I shouted “halleluhah!”   As you probably know, Asian food is challenging for those of use who are gluten-free.  Conventional soy sauce contains wheat, the other sauces are a minefield of ingredients and may or may not contain gluten, and dumplings and pot stickers look delicious but are off-limits.  To be honest, our family stopped eating out at Asian restaurants (other than sushi) years ago—it’s too hard and too depressing.  But it doesn’t matter anymore—Laura’s book allows us to make all of our favorites at home.  D’Ahub is thrilled because his favorite food of all time is Chinese.

The thing I love about Laura’s book is that it is an excellent cookbook–the fact that is is gluten-free is the cherry on top.  Laura knows her stuff (she is the former associate editor of Food and Wine magazine).  And, she has done an amazing amount of research and has shared the results with us.  Even if you are an experienced cook, Asian food can be a bit daunting to prepare.  I can usually breeze my way through just about any recipe, but I find that I start feeling a bit stressed out when it comes to Asian recipes.  The ingredients are often unfamiliar, the sauces are varied and overwhelming, and the processes are somewhat confusing.  Laura takes all of this information, explains it thoroughly, breaks it down into easy steps, and as an added bonus, lists where the gluten might be hiding in the traditional version of each dish.  In fact, her 2 ½ page chart of ingredients, their gluten status, alternatives, and gluten-free brands is worth the price of the book alone.  As are the lists of common ingredients, equipment, and gadgets.

On top of all of this, the recipes are wonderful and appropriately detailed–and the photos are beautiful and helpful.  She includes techniques for making even complicated recipes easy to do.  I could kiss her for demystifying dumplings and for making them gluten-free.   And we can now have mu shu pancakes again!  So far, every one that I have tried has been perfect and delicious.  The book is helpful divided up into chapters devoted to each type of recipe—Sauces and Stocks, Dumplings and Savory Pancakes, Noodles, Rice, Meat, etc.  And she includes recipes for vegetarian dishes, as well as dishes containing seafood, poultry, and meat.  There is something for everyone in this book.

At the end of the book, she includes a fun chapter entitled, Sips and Sweets.  It contains recipes for Asian-inspired drinks and desserts.  One of my favorite recipes is the “Blueberry Drinking Vinegar,” which we would call a “shrub” in the United States.  It might sound weird, but it’s basically blueberry/sugar/vinegar solution mixed with club soda.  It’s the most delicious and refreshing drink you never heard of.  All of us at Canning Across America discovered shrubs this summer and couldn’t get enough of them.

Last spring, I was finally able to meet Laura in person and she graciously gave me a copy of her book to share with my readers!  In order to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of this book, leave a comment on this about what you miss about Asian food now that you’re gluten-free.  Be sure to comment by 11:59 pm, Pacific Time, on Wednesday, October 3rd in order to be considered for the giveaway.  I will do a random drawing of comments and pick the winner with the Random Number Generator.  Also, please note that the drawing is only open to readers in the United States (my limited pocketbook won’t allow for international postage).

The winner is Dawn!  I have sent her an email.  Thank you so much for participating!

PS: As you know, I rarely do reviews or giveaways.  But, I have decided to do a few more than normal in the upcoming months to call your attention to books and items that I find helpful or fun or that I like.

Note: If you buy the book via the above link to Amazon, I receive a tiny percentage of the sale.

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  1. Isa P says

    Oh my, Jeanne! This cookbook is the answer to my prayers! I miss not being able to eat dumplings, eggrolls, or my favorite lo mein. And most of all I miss going to dim sum and enjoying the amazing variety of dumplings, sweet rolls, sticky rice stuffed with barbecued pork and so much more! I’m salivating already…

  2. Kai-Ocean Wyndsong says

    Definitely gyoza, soy sauce and tamari!!
    The thought of not eating asian foods again is absolutely terrifying!!

  3. Erin says

    Thank you so much for bringing this book to my attention! I’m thrilled to learn that I don’t have to give up some of my absolute favorite dishes. I have been missing pan-fried pork Korean dumplings (mandoo) most of all…but also, Vietnamese spring rolls, Chinese egg rolls, and scallion pancakes!!

  4. Susan says

    Oh I miss everything- Dim Sum, Tempura- Egg Rolls- the delicious sauces…
    I cant wait to get my hands on this book- I need it !

    • Kai-Ocean Wyndsong says

      Tempura traditionally is made with sweet rice flour so you need not forgo removing that from a GF diet- just need to make sure it is made with RF only!!

  5. alice says

    That sounds *amazing*. We’re lucky in that we have some great thai and pan-asian places in town that get being gluten-free, but I haven’t had chinese food in ages, and really miss things like scallion pancakes and all of the good black bean sauce dishes. And moo shu veggies! (You’ve succeeded in making me very hungry with this giveaway…)

  6. tara says

    oh how i miss dumplings….sooooooo much !!!! with that incredible brown salty sauce that ALWAYS seems to contain gluten. sigh. this books looks great. i would love a copy!

  7. Jenni says

    Oh my daughter and I miss Asian food so much! She always looks sad when we pass our old favorite little hole in the wall restraunt!

  8. Hannah says

    Being Korean, I really love my glass noodles. They’re usually made with sweet potato or yams but they’re always made with a combination of wheat flour! ) :

  9. Ramona says

    I miss just being able to go to a restaurant & order whatever strikes my fancy, but especially paper wrapped chicken, orange chicken, & wonton soup.

  10. Cheryl says

    I miss gyoza & egg rolls the most. Teriyaki, Ramen, are also missed! We have a Teriyaki restaurant in Kent that recently started serving a few gluten free dishes, & that has been helpful. As someone else said, lumpia is also on my list.

  11. Linda J-H says

    Egg rolls, lo mein and Ponzu sauce. sigh. Thanks for the review of this book, Jeanne, and the giveaway.

  12. Kimberly Ovall says

    my sister in law is Asian and always made such great food. I can’t believe we could eat potstickers and egg rolls again!

  13. says

    I have been waiting for a review of this book because I miss Chinese food so much. It iss hard when places I know about because of my day job open up but are not gluten free. So it has been a long time since i have had egg rolls, crab rangoons, and other foods I love. Even if I don’t win, I plan on getting this book because my grocery chain is building a wonderful gluten free section, so yes, I need some great recipes. I know my fiaance will be happy because he gave them up because I had to.

  14. lmenz says

    this is a book that is sorely needed. and yes, i sense that my cookbook bookshelf needs to be expanded yet again….sigh.

  15. Lindi says

    I miss the joy of Chinese takeout family dinner night. I seriously cannot wait to get this book! This will definitely add to our adventures in learning to enjoy G-free meals “together”. Seriously, I could devour the cover!! (:

  16. says

    My 12 yo daughter would love this cookbook! She has multiple food allergies, gluten and dairy primarily! Asian food is her favorite! She’d love to open a restaurant some day for people with food allergies :-) This would be great for us! We try to convert recipes but it is challenging at times. Asian is good because it doesn’t contain dairy :-)

  17. says

    I am not gluten-free myself; however, as a personal chef, I do have a couple of clients who are and I am receiving more and more requests from potential clients who are gluten-free. This cookbook would certainly be a great resource for planning menus for those clients.

  18. says

    Oh I’ve missed dumplings so much! I can get hold of gluten free soya sauce quite easily but I’ve never been able to find gluten free dumplings. Even if I don’t win this giveaway, I’m positive that this book will be making it’s way into my collection!
    Thank you for the review!

  19. Natasha says

    This cookbook loves amazing! What don’t I miss? Egg rolls, potstickers, chow mein, fried noodles…um, everything!

  20. cori says

    i was recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant as well as systemic thrush….my 3 mos old and my 2 year old as well which is even harder than myself. So finding variety has been very difficult though we’ve managed. I MISS ORIENTAL foods and potstickers, egg rolls, soba noodles and such were a staple of ours. My toddler daughters would eat plateloads at a time; so this would be a major help in our limited life foodwise! What an amazing idea of gluten free oriental foods! Nom Nom Nom! C:

  21. Shaundrah Heck says

    I am so excited about this cookbook! I have been missing egg rolls so much! I also love the green beans in soy sauce with meat. Hoping for that recipe. :)

  22. Deborah says

    Dim sum! Potstickers! Lumpia (okay, just checking to see if you’re reading these comments. It’s Filipino but we still miss it.)

  23. Sabayon says

    It’s got to be dumplings. I spent a year teaching English in Shanghai, which is especially known for their dumplings, and I used to get dumplings from a different vendor on my way home almost every day after work until I picked a few favorites. Admittedly, no one in America makes any quite so sublime as those street vendors any way, but this dumplingless existence post-celiac diagnosis is sad.

  24. Shealyn says

    Soba & ramen noodles. Most everything else we have found a happy replacement, but there are many dishes that are just avoided.

  25. says

    I’m still trying to get used to be GF. I miss so many things that I used to eat but I’m slowly finally realizing that most things that I used to eat can be made GF.
    There is a coop a couple of towns over from me that make the best spring rolls. As long as I avoid their sauce, I can enjoy the rolls. If you like sweet sauce, the spring rolls are good with duck sauce. Now I’m getting hungry.
    One other thing that I’ve enjoyed this year is being part of a CSA share. I haven’t made too many Asian recipes but I did get a napa cabbage one week and I meet a sweet and sour stir fry.


    • says

      I love you, Laura! I just saw your link for crab rangoon. I aam home sick from work debating if I can text my fiance to pick up the ingredients I donnot have on hand. Lol

  26. Janine Jones says

    Not sure how to get into the contest but OMG – I have been GF for 3 years now and never realized there could even be a way to eat Asian foods again! My mouth waters just thinking of it! Mmmmm…eggrolls, dumplings, mmmmm!

  27. Jan Andrews says

    This sounds GREAT! I can’t wait until your holiday cookbook comes out. I’ve had it pre-ordered for months and months.

  28. Erin says

    We used to make our own dumplings, but haven’t in so long because I have to eat gluten free now! We miss dumplings and various fried meat dishes (like sweet & sour chicken) so much!

  29. Kath Phelps says

    These recipes sound mouth watering! What a joy it would be to fill my own kitchen with the smells and tastes of “safe” Asian foods….a cuisine that I’ve missed for much too long. Thank you Jeanne for your generous heart in providing this give-away.

  30. Brenda says

    I miss my beef negimaki. Chinese was our Fri go to dinner after a long week. I miss being able to find a new dish each week. I struck a deal with a local take out restaurant , they wash all pans & utensils and steam meat & veggies for me but no safe sauces. Not the same without sauce.

  31. Debbie Abbott says

    OMG! I miss everything! My husband and I have been married for 29yrs. For the first 15 yrs we’d get chinese take out and a bottle of champagne for our anniversary, even the kids looked forward to our anniversary! We’d get a little bit of everything, egg rolls, poo-poo platter, ribs, lo-men, chow mein…. as I began to realize my problem with gluten I tried to continue the tradition by choosing what I thought could possible be gluten free but paid dearly for days after. The kids are now grown and we haven’t had Chinese in yrs. This book would bring back a wedding tradition. Will put it on my Christmas wish list too! Thanks for sharing!

  32. Sarah says

    I have this book pinned on Pinterest! I miss sauces… being able to have noodle dishes with a tasty, spicy sauce.

  33. says

    I recently began hosting a teenage student from China. So being on a gluten-free diet makes meal times limited. I would love to add some Chinese meals to the mix. This book would be so helpful!!

  34. says

    Oh my goodness – really there are very few things I miss and haven’t been able to replicate but as lots here have mentioned potstickers and eggrolls are two big ones. I cannot wait for this book.

  35. Natalie Johnson says

    This makes me so happy! I have really been trying to get into cooking lately, and one thing I have never tried is making Chinese food. I have also been avoiding Asian restaurants since I’ve been gluten free and it is hard. I am always craving my favorite, orange chicken, and wish I could eat egg rolls again.

  36. Brenda Binger says

    I miss crab ragoons and teriyaki chicken the most. I follow Laura’s website but have yet to try any recipe. Everything sounds so delicious.

  37. Eloise Gaugler says

    I agree with the other comments – I miss eggrolls and potstickers so much! I love gf cookbooks that have been well researched and offer a lot of valuable cooking info.

  38. Andrew Casey says

    My wife is a newly diagnosed Celiac and I have been learning a lot about cooking gluten free ever since. We have a gf home now. I feel really bad that her fav food is Chinese food and we’ve been struggling with since we always have the classics like chicken balls, egg rolls and I love the spring rolls. We miss a lot of it, but I’d have to say so far maybe those delicious sweet and sour chicken balls.

  39. kelly baker says

    One of my all-time favourite foods are egg rolls. I’ve been able to find a substitute for everything else that I miss dearly like beer, pizza, hamburgers etc, but I have not had an egg roll since I was diagnosed and miss my egg rolls SO MUCH!!!

  40. Maggie says

    Packing my daughters lunch this morning in a thermos…homemade mongolian beef and rice I added two pot stickers to fill up the empty space and was so tempted to eat one….but I didn’t….oh this book is right on my schedule :)

  41. Annie says

    I would love the book to share with clients who eat primarily asian diets, so their children [with autism] could still eat traditional, cultural foods while on the gluten-free/casein-free diets! I personally [since going GF myself] miss the dumplings and other filled savory pastries! When I saw the front cover, my mouth watered! Oh, how I long for dumplings!

  42. Dina says

    I miss potstickers and dumplings the most. And tempura. It makes my mouth water just thinking about them. I definitely need this book!

  43. Tammy says

    Oh yum! I miss Asian food so much, with the except of a rare visit to PF Chang, we don’t get it too often.

  44. kelbel says

    My daughter is the celiac in our family. While a local Chinese restaurant has a pretty extensive gluten free menu, they don’t offer gluten free spring rolls or egg rolls. And their gluten ones are FABULOUS. I so wish she could try them. I should challenge myself to replicating them, gluten free, at home.

  45. Sofia says

    What an amazing give-away especially for those in GF diet. I do love Asian food and always looking for alternatives to cooking it GF.

  46. says

    I’m a fan of gluten-free foods. It’s amazing how much gluten is in everything we eat, even in soy sauce! I’d love to find out how to make gluten-free dumplings and sauce for my sister who was recently forced to switch to a gluten-free diet, as it turns out that she is allergic to wheat, corn, soy and a variety of other things!

  47. Andi says

    Oops I forgot to write what I miss! Being able to eat orange chicken. I also miss the green beans which have soy sauce in them, so I’ve love a recipe for those that I could make at home.

    • Ramona says

      San-J, makes a line of GF Asian sauces including soy sauce. Whole Foods & similar stores carry the brand. I have even found some of them @ regular grocery stores.

  48. says

    I have been looking for Gluten Free Chinese recipes for a long time! I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear about this book!

    Ever since my husband was diagnosed with a gluten allergy I have been trying to find ways to cook all the foods that he loves so that he never has to go a moment without. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes on him. :)

  49. Evalyn Yanna says

    Oh – I’d give my right arm for some good crab rangoon. I’ve tried to replicate it, but it’s just not quite the same.

  50. Mal says

    I really miss potstickers. I can’t make them worth anything, and I’ve tried using spring roll wrappers and just end up with a gloppy mess. I’d kill for good GF potstickers!

  51. Denise M says

    i have been eyeing this book for awhile, there really is nothing else like it in the gluten free genre. I really miss egg rolls and chow mein. I have a PF Changs near me and they do a pretty good job with replacement food but its not as good as the originals

  52. Lindsey F says

    My daughter-in-law from Hong Kong and I would have a great time making her delicious potstickers with a gluten-free recipe.

  53. Becky says

    Potstickers and dumplings most of all. If I don’t win, this book is definitely going on my birthday present list!

  54. says

    You’re correct, this book really does fill a gap in the gluten-free repetoire! My best friend is Chinese, and I’ve not been able to join in their (fabulous) family meals for some years now. (Her mother has learned to make me pad thai and sponge cake using rice flour, which is beyond sweet of her.) This looks like an amazing resource to get Asian cuisine back into our house.