Most home cooks at some time or another find themselves getting interested in ethnic cuisine. The impetus might come from their heritage … maybe grandma was a German immigrant or grandpa came from Vietnam. Or it could just be simple cook’s curiosity. All of us get tired of cooking the same old recipes over and over, and decide to move beyond, frequently into ethnic food recipes.
However, and this is especially important if you don’t already know anything about the particular cuisine you’re after, it can be hard to figure out if the recipes you’re cooking are authentic, or are even worth trying. You might pick an Asian recipe that sends you out hunting exotic ingredients for three days only to find that either the recipe was written poorly or the flavor is something you just can’t stomach.
Unless you want to sink a lot of money into cookbooks, your best source of recipe information is going to be the Internet. However, searching for Internet recipes can be fraught with peril. How do you know this recipe will work? Do you have any clue what it tastes like? Do you maybe have a picture of what the finished dish should look like?
This is where sites that allow user reviews of recipes are invaluable. We foodies are a verbose bunch, forever ready to share good recipes and tips and warn others away from the bad ones. On sites such as Allrecipes or Cooks.com, you’ll find ethnic food recipes with hundreds of reviews from users. Often, these reviews will include possible ingredient substitutions, problems inherent in the preparation and possible solutions and all sorts of other great information. It’s very similar to having a kitchen full of cooks ready to teach and advise you at all times.
While you might not want to trust just one or two reviews, you can feel fairly safe when you see certain ethnic food recipes have been cooked successfully by dozens of people. Pick the recipe, read the comments and forge ahead!