Saturday mornings Lee and I are often glued to the TV watching cooking shows. We each have our favorites and Lee’s is anything with Martin Yan. I can’t really blame him. Martin Yan is a real character. He zips around the kitchen like crazy and he never misses an opportunity to whip out the cleaver…chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop!

Lee likes to do Martin Yan impressions. You can too, just try out any one of several catch phrases:

“look at this, look at this, look at this!”

“add a little bit of this and a little bit of that”

“cut it like this, like this, like this, mmm!”

“set it aside and it’s done!”

But while I have watched his show for years, I really haven’t experimented much in my own kitchen when it comes to Asian cuisine. With so many choices just minutes from my door I’m more likely to choose to go out rather than cook Asian style at home. While Yan is always able to whip up a recipe in no time on the air, I can see a lot of prep is done ahead of time and sometimes he resorts to “the magic of television” to get recipes completed. Finally the lists of ingredients often seem to include a couple of items that I don’t have.

I have to admit, I’d never cooked one of his recipes until I got the companion book to the PBS series, Martin Yan Quick & Easy. Quick and easy is my style. Not only quick and easy to prepare, but there are many dishes that make for one-dish meals or need only a simple side dish to make a meal. No 10 course banquets!

The first recipe I tried was Tea-Smoked Salmon and not only did I have all the ingredients but this is a dish that can be prepared in under thirty minutes, start to finish. You marinate the salmon, make a mixture of tea, sugar and rice and smoke the fish in a stir fry or frying pan. Because the smoke mixture sits on a bed of tin foil there is very little clean up. Yan’s instructions were easy to follow and the resulting dish was great. If you’ve enjoyed watching Martin Yan or just always wanted to try cooking some Asian recipes, this book a good place to start. If you’d like see a few of the recipes, click here.

Martin Yan Quick & Easy 3 August,2005Amy Sherman

  • catherine

    I adore Martin Yan! He’s such a part of my childhood TV experience.

  • created by Rose

    I could spend all morning searching for this one particular device, but maybe you know…

    Martin Yan used a hand-crank, plastic device, a little like a “lathe for large carrots.” He stuck the carrot into the machine, turned the hand crank, and it produced one long, nearly endless, julienned carrot strand.

    I want one of those.

    But I have no idea what it’s called, or who manufactures it, or where to buy it.

    If you know anything about this, please contact me at

    I really want to buy one of those things.


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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