Classic Chinese Cookbook Hardcover – December 25, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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- Item Weight : 1.76 pounds
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0756623510
- ISBN-13 : 978-0756623517
- Dimensions : 6.96 x 0.81 x 8.84 inches
- Publisher : DK (December 25, 2006)
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#3,051,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1,006 in Chinese Cooking, Food & Wine
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I am on a personal quest for a reasonably easy yet delicious hot-and-sour soup, and while I have a number of Chinese cookbooks of varying styles and authenticities, this is the one I'm starting with. And while perusing it, I've found a bunch more recipes I want to try...
The directions are very clear and well-described. Most have good photos. There is an excellent section in the beginning that not only lists things like the vegetables called for, but shows pictures of them to make them easier to identify in the wild.
It's not as comprehensive as Tropp's, but it's more accessible and has lots of delicious ideas!
Edited to add: We just made the hot and sour soup from this, and it is AMAZING. We did dress it with a bit of hot sesame oil. We just used canned low-sodium chicken broth, and even so- truly splendid! A little bit fussy to make, but not hard, and the results are gorgeous!
Unlike the 1998 American "DK Living" edition, where ingredients and recipes are printed in an easy-to-read bold typeface, the type used in the 2006 hardcover is small and thin; especially in the list of ingredients, the squeezed-together type is very hard to make out, and the fractional amounts can only be read (by me, at least) with a magnifying glass. Moreover, before I gave up, I found at least one instance where the centimeters-to-inches conversion was way off ("¼ inch" as the thickness of the pork cubes in that sweet-and-sour recipe).
Then there are the illustrations, usually the glory of a DK cookbook. In the "DK Living" edition, there are pictures of every dish, and they are breathtakingly styled and photographed; they are a lesson in how to make Chinese food look delicious and elegant without the vegetable cutouts or background chinoiserie of lesser publications. In the 2006 version, only some of the dishes are pictured; most of its best photos (the "ingredients" section at the beginning of the book) are those that appeared in the "DK Living" edition, and only the photo of Szechwan duck with lotus rolls is an improvement on the older picture. For the rest, the shallow-focus, hyper-colorful photos may be the current cookbook standard, but they don't measure up to the more austere beauty of the "DK Living" illustrations; they can misrepresent the recipe as given (for instance, the dark soy in the sweet-and-sour fish produces something much browner than the bright red sauce shown); and the sloppily shredded scallions atop the pang pang chicken look downright amateurish. Finally, the ingredient photos (and recipes) in the "DK Living" edition are accompanied by the names in Chinese, a useful addition for Chinese readers or when shopping.
Everyone interested in Chinese cooking should own this book; but the "DK Living" edition, a sturdy, well bound paperback, is the one to get.
A must have cookbook if you are interested in real Chinese cooking and not some watered down adaptation catered to the Western palette.
Top reviews from other countries
After trialing four or five recipes, I felt the results were good enough for me to cook a chinese meal of seven different dishes for a group of 12 friends. The verdict was an overwhelming thumbs-up from everyone.
There are some dishes I have cooked quite a few times now, and they are really simple and straight forward, and they don't have a long list of hard to obtain ingredients, though you will probably have to find a good oriental supermarket for some of them.
Forget the trendy books of the latest celeb chefs - this is a timeless classic that delivers!