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Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking Hardcover – October 28, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yin-Fei Lo's latest cookbook is visually stunning—with brush calligraphy, decorative borders, and full-page color photographs—as well as a comprehensive and educational guide that fulfills the promise of how to master Chinese cooking. The Chinese-born author includes 150 classic recipes as well as essays exploring regional and cultural traditions and Chinese history. The Chinese pantry section is a must-read guide to ingredients, while illustrated techniques demystify processes including stuffing bean curd cakes and forming dumplings. Recipe notes lend expert advice for freezing, preparation, and serving. Divided into three parts that can be slightly confusing (The Market as Classroom; The Market Becomes Regional; The Market Particular), the book offers recipes including popular dishes such as pot stickers, spring rolls, and General Tso's chicken, in addition to more adventurous selections including sea cucumbers braised with steamed black mushrooms. This is a gorgeous holiday gift. (Jan.)
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"The only thing better than having Eileen Lo cook for you is having her teach you how. She takes you on an incredible journey as you build your Chinese pantry and master the basics. Eileen carefully explains the steps of every important Chinese cooking technique, while also communicating a profound respect for flavors. She is the Chinese godmother every chef wishes he had." Daniel Boulud, Chef-Owner, Daniel, Caf Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud, DBGB Kitchen and Bar

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (October 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811859339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811859332
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.5 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Eilie on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This cookbook, like most of Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's cookbooks, is focused on authentic Chinese cuisine and is not a Chinese takeout cookbook. As the book does not cut corners, it includes the presence of some Chinese ingredients which may be difficult to find outside an Asian supermarket. For example, the cookbook includes a number of recipes which would be considered banquet or special occasion foods and include ingredients such as Shark's Fin and Bird's Nest. Nevertheless, this book does include a number of everyday recipes such as Ma Po Tofu and Hunan Hot and Spicy Shrimp, which can be made after a trip to the Asian foods aisle of most supermarkets, and provides useful recipes for Chinese sauces, such as XO sauce, which are usually purchased prepared. This cookbook is definitely geared toward people who are more accustomed to traditional Chinese cooking or are interested in how Chinese food is outside the local takeout place. Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking includes a number of beautiful pictures of the prepared food and provides a taste of what Chinese home cooking can really be like.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Serena Wu on January 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been using this book for a month now, and I really enjoy it. Asian food in general can be intimidating because it requires ingredients that are almost impossible to find if you don't have access to an ethnic grocery or aren't willing to order some of the staples off the internet. I live in San Francisco and have access to both great Chinese stores and a lot of live produce both in italian markets and in Chinatown and this book has really helped me use obscure ingredients that otherwise I wouldn't know what to do with. And the receipes are REALLY GOOD.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Rudy L. on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, she had me at shark's fin soup. I ordered this book and expecting elaborate chinese dishes and the author delivered. There were dishes that I was so excited to see and just cannot put the book down. The author does not take short cuts in any of her dishes. Though you may find some recipes that you can make on a typical weekday, there are also recipes that you may want to make on special occasions as well, such as Chinese New Year. For example, she shares the techniques on how to cook abalone, bird's nest, and she even shares recipes on the most popular dim sum dishes - the shrimp dumpling! I would say that if you enjoy cooking, you should want to at least have the knowledge of how to start from scratch. This book shares many recipes that I've always dreamed of learning. I'm glad I found this book!!!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Chapman on November 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've had this book for nearly two years now. I use it once a week on average. Over time, I've learned to make small changes, substitutes, OMISSIONS, and so forth. I've never let a lack of a local ingredient stop me from enjoying a particular combination of ingredients. I use dry sherry for my Chinese cooking wine, and I was shown this trick by several Chinese graduate students I lived with. I will tell you this: The hot and sour soup is wonderful. The Cantonese dishes are delicate and subtle. They are simple to prepare. If you assemble and prep all the ingredients at your leisure prior to cooking for a group, you can have a nice social engagement. The Cantonese dishes remind me of my time in Hong Kong, where I ate the most wonderful and satisfying meals of my life. I am so pleased to have this cookbook, simply because it saves me the 17 hour flight to Hong Kong.

You'll find the hotter, Sichuan dishes to be delightful. Of course you can cut back on the heat. The rice preparation is fool proof. We do have a clay pot, and it is fun to use, but you can use an enamel coated iron skillet as the companion for your wok. I now scramble eggs and a few other ingredients for breakfast in my well-seasoned wok. It is quicker than using a non-stick omelet pan and is much cleaner.

Here's the deal - the book is excellent. I have about 30 cookbooks. This is in my top three. I use this book the most. It is true that I have had professional training and ran a resort as a younger man, but I haven't been in this business for years. My wife has no training, and she has no problem with the dishes. If you are completely unfamiliar with the basics of cooking, this book can present challenges. However, pick up the simple dishes, like "Chicken with Chicken Legs". You don't need fancy special mushrooms - just substitute come cremini or even those canned mushrooms. Just get in there an COOK! Buy this book, and NEVER have soy sauced American Chinese food again.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ju on February 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am enjoying this book and anticipate that I will continue to do so for a long time.It is not a complete Chinese cooking book in itself but supplements my collection. Of particular interest to me are many recipes for condiments and the boxes of additional information about a product or a method. It provides background information and history about cooking methods and specific dishes. The information about raw ingredients and equipment is detailed and helpful. The recipes are easy to follow with well set out lists of ingredients and clear methodologies. They are also delicious. The book is a large one. It is attractive and has many interesting photos.

Much is good about this book but I do have reservations. I find it frustrating that the photos of markets were not labeled with their location. I like to know where these places are. The author describes taking students to Chinese markets to familiarize then with products and buying in this way. While this no doubt works well in her cooking classes, I find her constant apparent praising of her own methods irritating and unhelpful, although a reader unfamiliar with these markets may gain valuable information. My final niggle is the inclusion of shark's fin recipes. The harvesting of shark's fins is unsustainable and cruel. Chinese cooking can stand tall without this exploitation.
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