4 Ingredients is a cookbook publishing phenomenon becoming the best selling cookbook in Australia and after recently being released in the UK reaching number one on the Amazon charts.
My Mum sent me a copy for Christmas (thanks Mum!) before it was available in the UK so I have had a few months to try it out. The premise of the book is that each recipe only needs four ingredients so you save time and money. The book itself is very low frills with no illustrations and is not really the type of cookbook that you take to bed with you to read at night. It is written in a fairly gushing tone with asides such as “Serves 4. These are SOOOO nice!!!” I can imagine though that the multi-tasking mothers (which is who this book is aimed at) may appreciate the books brevity and I can appreciate a recipe which you can cook without having to think about how you are going to track down a bottle of Indonesian kecap manis.
Still, it is not quite accurate to say that the recipes only have four ingredients. For example the recipe for Tangy Lamb Balls lists the ingredients as lamb mince, curry powder, sweet chilli sauce and lemon but then goes on to add “Optional: add a clove of garlic to the mixture. Serve with jasmine rice and a mint yoghurt dipping sauce“. Some of the recipes cannot even be really classified as recipes. For example, the recipe for Moroccan Salmon suggests spraying salmon fillets with cooking oil, sprinkling Moroccan seasoning on top and then baking for 15 minutes. On that basis I could come up with a whole host of recipes for Thai Salmon (sprinkle with Thai seasoning) or Italian Salmon (sprinkle with Italian seasoning). I think if you like to cook or are interested in food (which is probably just about everyone reading this post) then 4 Ingredients is not the cookbook for you.
I’ve tested a few of the recipes out and the one I liked the most is this one for Mascarpone and Coriander Chicken which I have adapted slightly using a cheaper cut of meat and adding a few extra ingredients – I just couldn’t cope with limiting myself to four!
4 chicken thighs
4 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup coriander chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
1. Cut the chicken thighs into medium pieces and dust lightly with flour.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and then add the chicken cooking until it is browned.
3. Add mascarpone and stir until melted and then leave to simmer over a low heat for around 5 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, add coriander and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
Serves 4. Adapted from 4 Ingredients by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham
If you liked this you might be interested in my review of my favourite cookbook of the last year Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. If you are searching for other recipes involving chicken here’s one for lemon chicken and cous cous.