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Chinese Cooking


The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen

The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen Lowest new price: $9.32
Lowest used price: $2.80
List price: $32.00
Author: Grace Young

The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen, with its 150 recipes culled from a lifetime of family meals and culinary instruction, is much more than a cookbook. It is a daughter's tribute -- a collection of personal memories of the philosophy and superstitions behind culinary traditions that have been passed down through her Cantonese family, in which each ingredient has its own singular importance, the preparation of a meal is part of the joy of life, and the proper creation of a dish can have a favorable influence on health and good fortune. Each chapter begins with its own engaging story, offering insight into the Chinese beliefs that surround life-enhancing and spiritually calming meals. In addition, personal family photographs illustrate these stories and capture the spirit of China before the Revolution, when Young's family lived in Canton, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
The first part, "Mastering the Fundamentals," provides instruction on the arts of steaming and stir-frying; the preparation of rice, panfried, and braised dishes; the proper selection of produce; and the fine arts of chopping and slicing. Part Two, "The Art of Celebration," concentrates on the more elaborate, complex, and meaningful dishes -- such as Shark's Fin Soup and West Lake Duck -- that are usually made with rare ingredients, and sweets such as Water Chestnut Cake and Sesame Balls. The final part, "Achieving Yin-Yang Harmony," explores the many Chinese beliefs about the healing properties of ginseng, gingko nuts, soybeans, dong quai, and the many vegetable and fruit soup preparations that balance and nourish the body. The stories and recipes combine to demonstrate the range of Cantonese cooking, from rich flavors and honored combinations to an overall appreciation of health, well-being, and prosperity.
In addition to the recipes, Young provides a complete glossary of dried herbs, spices, and fresh produce, accompanied by identifying photos and tips on where to purchase them. Unique traditional dishes, such as Savory Rice Tamales and Shrimp Dumplings, are also illustrated step by step, making the book easy to use. The central full-color photo section captures details of New Year's dishes and the Chinese home decorated in celebration, reminding one that these time-honored traditions live on, and the meals and their creation are connections to the past.

Grace Young is a culinary sister to novelist Amy Tan. In The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen, along with sharing recipes from her family, Young immerses the reader in Chinese culture and the Chinese American experience of San Francisco's Chinatown, where she grew up. This personal book began with Young's wish to preserve the Cantonese dishes prepared by her parents and extended family. Since they cooked by instinct, the only way to record their recipes was by observing her mother, father, and aunties while they cooked, and by asking endless questions. These kitchen conversations also became a way to elicit untold family history from her deeply traditional and reticent parents.

Each chapter opens with an essay intertwining biographical stories with information about Chinese food and healing. The blending of culinary information and cultural observations is powerfully realized, perhaps because Young shows old-fashioned respect along with a contemporary perspective. The result is both affectionate and enthralling. You can vividly picture the meticulous choreography as her parents make dinner in their tiny kitchen, reaching over steaming pots and rushing the steaming food to the table.

Young delves into the hows and whys of Cantonese home cooking, with particular attention to technique and ingredients: Chinese broccoli with flowers should be avoided because the bright yellow blossoms indicate the stalks are too old. Steaming is valued because it draws out the intense flavors near the bone in chicken, fish, and meat, leaving them tender and moist.

Many dishes are elementally simple. Hot-and-Sour Soup is fired solely by aromatic white pepper. White Chicken is perfumed just with ginger and garlic. Some choices are quick and easy, as in stir-fried Bean Sprouts, while others require long and elaborate preparation, like savory Rice Tamales stuffed with pork, Chinese sausage, and duck egg yolks and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Anyone who enjoys eating Chinese food or has experienced the generational differences in immigrant families will get lost in The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen. --Dana Jacobi

Features:

  • Delicious book!

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Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking

Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking Lowest new price: $29.94
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Author: Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

This new masterwork of Chinese cuisine showcases acclaimed chef Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's decades of culinary virtuosity. A series of lessons build skill, knowledge, and confidence as Lo guides the home cook step by step through the techniques, ingredients, and equipment that define Chinese cuisine. With more than 100 classic recipes and technique illustrations throughout, Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking makes the glories of this ancient cuisine utterly accessible. Stunning color photography reveals the treasures of old and new China, from the zigzagging alleys of historical Guangzhou to the bustle of city centers and faraway Chinatowns, as well as wonderful ingredients and gorgeous finished dishes. Step-by-step brush drawings illustrate Chinese cooking techniques. This lavish volume takes its place as the Chinese cookbook of choice in the cook's library.

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Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province

Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province Lowest new price: $18.66
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Author: Fuchsia Dunlop

Authentic recipes and fascinating tales from one of China's most vibrant culinary regions.

Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed Sichuanese cookbook Land of Plenty, which won the British Guild of Food Writers’ Jeremy Round Award for best first book and which critic John Thorne called “a seminal exploration of one of China’s great regional cuisines.” Now, with Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, she introduces us to the delicious tastes of Hunan, Chairman Mao’s home province.

Hunan is renowned for the fiery spirit of its people, its beautiful scenery, and its hearty peasant cooking. In a selection of classic recipes interwoven with a wealth of history, legend, and anecdote, Dunlop brings to life this vibrant culinary region. Look for late imperial recipes like Numbing-and-Hot Chicken, Chairman Mao’s favorite Red-Braised Pork, soothing stews, and a myriad of colorful vegetable stir-fries. 65 color illustrations

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The Last Chinese Chef: A Novel

The Last Chinese Chef: A Novel Lowest new price: $2.00
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Author: Nicole Mones

This alluring novel of friendship, love, and cuisine brings the best-selling author of Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light to one of the great Chinese subjects: food. As in her previous novels, Mones’s captivating story also brings into focus a changing China -- this time the hidden world of high culinary culture.

When Maggie McElroy, a widowed American food writer, learns of a Chinese paternity claim against her late husband’s estate, she has to go immediately to Beijing. She asks her magazine for time off, but her editor counters with an assignment: to profile the rising culinary star Sam Liang.

In China Maggie unties the knots of her husband’s past, finding out more than she expected about him and about herself. With Sam as her guide, she is also drawn deep into a world of food rooted in centuries of history and philosophy. To her surprise she begins to be transformed by the cuisine, by Sam’s family -- a querulous but loving pack of cooks and diners -- and most of all by Sam himself. The Last Chinese Chef is the exhilarating story of a woman regaining her soul in the most unexpected of places.

Nicole Mones has mined the endless riches of China once again in The Last Chinese Chef. This time she hits the trifecta: the personal stories of Sam and Maggie, the history and lore of Chinese cuisine, and an inside look at cultural dislocation. Maggie McElroy is a widowed American food writer who is suddenly confronted with a paternity claim against her late husband's estate--by a Chinese family. Her editor offers her another reason to go to Beijing: write an article about a rising young Chinese-American-Jewish chef, Sam Liang. Having sold the home she had with her late husband Matt and reduced her possessions to only the barest necessities, with her life feeling as though it is contracting around her, Maggie embraces the oppportunity to sort out her feelings about Matt's supposed infidelity and do some work at the same time.

She and Sam hit it off right away, even though he is involved in a very important competition for a place on the Chinese national cooking team for the 2008 Olympics. They travel together to the south of China where she meets her husband's possible daughter--with Sam standing by to act as translator--and where Maggie meets much of Sam's family. He has been welcomed back with open arms, even though he occasionally feels that he has one foot in China and one in Ohio. The Beijing uncles and the Hangzhou uncle are a raucous, loving, argumentative bunch of foodies who advise Sam about menus, encourage a romance with Maggie, make him start over again when the dish isn't perfect, and alternately praise and criticize his cooking.

Maggie loves being in the middle of it all and finds herself more and more drawn to Sam. She begins, with Sam's help, to see food as "healing" and understands the guanxi or "connectedness" that takes place around food. At the beginning of each chapter is a paragraph taken from a book entitled The Last Chinese Chef, written by Sam's grandfather and translated by Sam and his father. Mones has written that book, too, which is an explanation of the place of food in Chinese history and family life. The novel is rich with meaning and lore and an examination of loving relationships. Don't even touch this book when you're hungry. The descriptions make the aromas and textures float right off the page. --Valerie Ryan

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Easy Asian Noodles

Easy Asian Noodles Lowest new price: $10.06
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Author: Helen Chen

A beautiful full-color collection of easy and delicious Asian noodle recipes from Helen Chen

Asian noodles are quick, easy to prepare, and versatile-and they're more popular than ever. A renowned expert on Chinese cuisine and Asian cooking, Helen Chen offers a wealth of fast and delicious recipes from all the major Asian cuisines. You'll learn to make your own stir-fried, pan-fried, and soup noodles, as well as noodle salads.

Chen includes recipes for all your favorite traditional noodle dishes, including pad Thai, yaki-soba, wontons, sesame noodles, udon, ph?, and more. And many of these recipes take no more than twenty or thirty minutes to prepare.

  • Full of quick-and-easy recipes for home cooks who are short on time
  • Small, full-color package is a perfect affordable gift for anyone interested in Asian cooking
  • Author Helen Chen is the founder of Helen's Asian Kitchen and one of America's best known experts on Asian cuisine

Packed with fun, affordable, and delicious recipes that you can make in a flash, Helen Chen's Easy Asian Noodles is the perfect cookbook for anyone who loves noodles.

Features:

  • Helen Chen Helen's Easy Asian Noodles Cookbook
  • Hardcover
  • 128 pages
  • Full of quick-and-easy recipes for home cooks who are short on time
  • Small, full-color package is a perfect affordable gift for anyone interested in Asian cooking

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The Chinese Vegan Kitchen: More Than 225 Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from the Culinary Regions of China

The Chinese Vegan Kitchen: More Than 225 Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from the Culinary Regions of China Lowest new price: $7.90
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Author: Donna Klein

Colorful, aromatic, and flavorful—and as simple as ordering in.

The harmonious blending of color, aroma, and flavor has made Chinese cuisine one of the most popular on the planet. As the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables, China boasts an impressive array of meat-free, egg-free, dairy-free dishes that has also made its cuisine one of the earth’s healthiest. From tasty appetizers to mouthwatering desserts, The Chinese Vegan Kitchen is a collection of easy yet authentic recipes from the various culinary regions of China—Canton, Hunan, Peking, Shanghai, Sichuan, Taiwan, Tibet—that you can prepare in your own kitchen with ingredients readily available in western supermarkets. This book features:

• 225 delicious and nutritious recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, noodle dishes, rice dishes, tofu and other main dishes, side dishes, and desserts
• Nutritional analysis of calories, protein, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, and dietary fiber for every recipe
• Cooks’ tips throughout
• A glossary of ingredients and where to find them

This is vegan cooking like you’ve never experienced it—but you will be coming back to this irresistible collection time and again.

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A Tradition of Soup: Flavors from China's Pearl River Delta

A Tradition of Soup: Flavors from China's Pearl River Delta Lowest new price: $13.93
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Author: Teresa M. Chen

Through recipes that use time-honored medicinal ingredients, A Tradition of Soup provides a fascinating narrative of the Southern Chinese immigrants who came to the United States in large numbers during the last half century, the struggles they faced and overcame, and the soups they used to heal and nourish their bodies.

Following the Chinese approach to health, Teresa Chen, who was born into a family of food connoisseurs and raised by a gourmet cook, groups the recipes by seasons and health concerns according to Cantonese taxonomy: tong (simple broths, soups, and stews), geng (thickened soups), juk (rice soups or porridges), and tong shui (sweet soups), as well as noodle soups, wonton and dumpling soups, and vegetable soups. Also focusing on dahn (steaming) and louhfo (slow-cooking) soups associated with good health, the book features fresh, natural, and seasonal food. A Tradition of Soup highlights recipes that serve a wide range of purposes, from gaining or shedding weight to healing acne and preventing wrinkles. While some ingredients may seem foreign to Western readers, most are available in Chinese grocery stores.

To help readers identify and procure these items, Chen provides a beautifully photographed ingredients glossary complete with Chinese names, pronunciation, and detailed descriptions.

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The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from around the World

The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from around the World Lowest new price: $24.21
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Author: Linda Lau Anusasananan
Brand: University of California Press

Veteran food writer Linda Lau Anusasananan opens the world of Hakka cooking to Western audiences in this fascinating chronicle that traces the rustic cuisine to its roots in a history of multiple migrations. Beginning in her grandmother’s kitchen in California, Anusasananan travels to her family’s home in China, and from there fans out to embrace Hakka cooking across the globe—including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Peru, and beyond. More than thirty home cooks and chefs share their experiences of the Hakka diaspora as they contribute over 140 recipes for everyday Chinese comfort food as well as more elaborate festive specialties.

This book likens Hakka cooking to a nomadic type of “soul food,” or a hearty cooking tradition that responds to a shared history of hardship and oppression. Earthy, honest, and robust, it reflects the diversity of the estimated 75 million Hakka living in China and greater Asia, and in scattered communities around the world—yet still retains a core flavor and technique. Anusasananan’s deep personal connection to the tradition, together with her extensive experience testing and developing recipes, make this book both an intimate journey of discovery and an exciting introduction to a vibrant cuisine.

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Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch

Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch Lowest new price: $13.50
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Author: Ellen Leong Blonder

In Cantonese, “dim sum” means “touch the heart,” and Ellen Blonder’s charming celebration of China’s famed tea lunch does just that. More than sixty carefully crafted, authentic recipes, each illustrated with Ellen’s exquisite watercolor paintings, put the key to re-creating these delectable morsels in every cook’s hand.
Anyone who has enjoyed the pleasures of a dim sum meal has inevitably wondered what it would be like to create these treats at home. The answer, surprisingly, is that most are quite simple to make. From dumplings to pastries, Dim Sum is filled with simple, foolproof recipes, complete with clear step-by-step illustrations to explain the art of forming, filling, and folding dumpling wrappers and more. Ellen Blonder offers her favorite versions of traditional Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai, Turnip Cake, and Shrimp Ha Gow, each bite vibrantly flavored, plus recipes for hearty sticky rice dishes, refreshing sautéed greens, tender baked or steamed buns, and a variety of pastries and desserts—all the ingredients required for an authentic, restaurant-style dim sum feast. Practical advice on designing a tea lunch menu and making dim sum ahead of time round out this irresistible collection.

Lovingly created from years of tasting, refining, and seeking out the best dim sum recipes from San Francisco to Hong Kong, Dim Sum is a gem that any student of Chinese cooking will treasure.

Who doesn't love dim sum, those enticing dumplings, buns, and pastries served in Chinatowns everywhere? But making it at home? This seemingly formidable business now proves infectiously doable, thanks to Ellen Leong Blonder's Dim Sum. Coauthor of the IACP-award-winning cookbook Every Grain of Rice, Blonder has found a way, through lucid explanation and her own telling illustration, to help readers reproduce dim sum favorites themselves. Ranging from Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai, Potstickers, and Chinese Chive Dumplings to Scallion Pancakes and Three-Mushroom Dumplings and more, these delicious nibbles--great cocktail fare as well as wonderfully tasty meals--are also fun to prepare.

Beginning with a discussion of the dim sum restaurant experience and the kinds of tea involved, the book then offers concise data on setting up a steamer, making doughs, and advance preparation. The 80 recipes follow in chapters that include breads and baked dishes, such as Steamed Char Siu Bao (barbecued-pork-filled buns), and rice and rice flour specialties, like Chicken and Sausage Rice Bowl and Rice Flour Rolls with Beef. Greens and pan-fried dishes are also covered with the tempting likes of Pea Shoots with Garlic, as are deep-friend and bean curd specialties, including Deep-Fried Stuffed Eggplant and Salt-Fried Whole Prawns. Recipes for dim sum sweets like Almond Pudding and Egg Custard Tarts are also offered, as are interesting sidebars--A Trip to the Luk Yu Tea House is one--and ingredient notes, menus, and supply resources. This is one of those happy cookbooks that tackle a potentially problematical subject beautifully, delivering the kitchen ease and good eating it promises. --Arthur Boehm

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Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China

Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China Lowest new price: $10.30
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Author: Fuchsia Dunlop

“Destined, I think, to become a classic of travel writing.”—Paul Levy, The Observer

After fifteen years spent exploring China and its food, Fuchsia Dunlop finds herself in an English kitchen, deciding whether to eat a caterpillar she has accidentally cooked in some home-grown vegetables. How can something she has eaten readily in China seem grotesque in England? The question lingers over this “autobiographical food-and-travel classic” (Publishers Weekly).

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