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Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking Hardcover – February 4, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“It's a home cook's cookbook, and it shows how with some good produce, a decent pantry, and some basic technique, Chinese cooking is no harder or more foreign than making a plate of pasta or building a salad.” (Max Falkowitz - Serious Eats: New York)

“[A] workhorse of a book for everyday Chinese cooking... There are so many treasures in here, you can hardly go wrong.” (T. Susan Chang - Boston Globe)

“The diversity of the dishes―and their simplicity―makes this a remarkable book.” (Jenn Garbee - Los Angeles Weekly)

“Masterly…a non-stop parade of easy-to-execute dishes.” (William Grimes - New York Times Book Review)

“Fascinating…brimming with important information…. Trust me, this is gold!” (Mission Food)

About the Author

Fuchsia Dunlop has appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Science Friday,” and “America’s Test Kitchen Radio,” and is a regular contributor to publications including the Financial Times, Saveur, the Wall Street Journal, Lucky Peach, and The New Yorker. She trained as a chef in China and has won four James Beard Awards for her writing about Chinese food. She lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393089045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393089042
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Byrd on January 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a pretty big fan of Fuchsias, having discovered her cookbooks when going through some nasty chinese food withdrawals in Texas after a move from NYC. Having been a chef, and not finding the Chinese food I craved, I set out to create, myself, what I needed. Ms Dunlop's books were by far above and beyond the other books I tried. Unlike most people, I preferred her second book Revolutionary chinese cookbook (Hunan recipes) over Land of Plenty (Sichuan), and when her first new book in seven years was coming out I pre-ordered it asap. It arrived two weeks before its release date (!) and I opened it up to...a recipe I already knew??
General Tso's chicken, on page 122, I didn't need. First of all it's already on page 120 of Revolutionary, and I know it by heart, having cooked it about eight times a year for years. The next recipe I see is Pock-Marked Old Woman's Tofu...Hmm, I know that one too. It's on page 313 of Land of Plenty. Then I read the introduction and she's retelling a story that's in her memoir Shark's fin and Sichuan pepper! Damn, her third cookbook is a greatest hits?
Not quiet. I was shocked at first, but the Pock-Marked tofu was a new vegetarian version, the book is a lot thicker than the last two (and I needed to dig more, I guess), and her General Tso's chicken is so good, it's ok to publish it twice. She noted in the end of her memoir she was thinking of going vegetarian, and a lot of these recipes are light on meat, or none at all. But the main emphases in this book are on lighter, healthier, more cost effective Chinese recipes, not on her own personal diet.
I've already cooked a few recipes, and have read a bunch more, I'm impressed. A lot of work has gone into this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a long-time Dunlop fan (my "Land of Plenty" is falling apart at this point). Given how much I adore her Sichuan and Hunan cookbooks, I really, really wanted to love this book -- I literally ordered it within five minutes of knowing about its existence! Having explored this book for the last couple of weeks, however, I am very sad to admit that I feel quite "meh" about it.

Most obviously (and as other reviewers have already pointed out), many recipes are repetitions or variants of those contained in her previous books. While this might make the book more complete as a stand-alone cookbook, it gets quite tedious for those of us with complete Dunlop collections.

This book has some minor annoyances, including weight measurements for small amounts of peanuts, ginger, etc. -- I find the teaspoon/tablespoon/ballpark approach from her previous books far more practical. Also, some directions are quite strange: wilting spinach before stir-frying seemed like an interesting idea, but yielded no practical difference (in my opinion).

More disturbingly, I have found that many of the dishes in this book just don't taste that good and/or are very uninteresting. Out of the dishes I've cooked from this book so far, I'd say that about 40% were "meh" (required additional soy sauce/vinegar/sesame oil/chicken powder to be palatable -- probably wouldn't cook them again), 40% were "alright" (will cook them once in a while), and only 20% were "great" (loved it -- will add to my list of frequently repeated favorites). In contrast, I would put the breakdown for Dunlop's other cookbooks at about 5% "meh", 25% "alright" and 70% "great".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was thrilled to see all the pictures upon opening this book! The photographs of many, many completed dishes helps with knowing great ways to present these tasty, tasty recipes. My family and I cooked our way through "Land of Plenty" and the "Revolutionary Chinese Cook Book." We preferred "Land of Plenty" and this book, "Every Grain of Rice," is a fabulous accompaniment because it has so many greens and vegie dishes. So far they have all been delicious and have not needed adjustments (which is not the case with other cook books!). Smokey Eggplant with Garlic and Spinach with Sesame Dressing are two recipes that my family wants to have a constant supply of in the refrigerator so they can snack on them whenever they can. We tried and loved the Stir-fried Black Bean and Chilli with Sichuanese Green Soy Bean Salad and Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce. In fact, we loved it so much we decided to make all of the recipes with cucumber (because it was unusual for us to cook cucumbers)in them and did not find a bad one. Finally, we use Nishiki Haiga rice instead of Thai Jasmine or the traditional short grain. It holds the sauces really well because, with haiga, the tough rice bran is removed, leaving the nutritious rice germ still attached to the kernel.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, a little background on me--I'm Chinese American. I grew up in Los Angeles in an immigrant household eating a lot of Chinese food, and being exposed to lots of different Chinese food. I've taken many trips to China, and I absolutely love eating and cooking Chinese food. I probably have no less than 10 Chinese cookbooks (well maybe fewer as I've gotten rid of a bunch over the years), and I've continued to hunt for a great one. Well, this is it--this is a fantastic book filled with a variety of recipes, ranging from highly classic dishes to more modern ones (e.g., tofu with avocado? (it's delicious))

What separates this book from many other Chinese cookbooks are what's beyond the recipes. There's what I call a glossary in the back with a comprehensive set of ingredients, sauces (sometimes specific brands to buy) with detailed descriptions. Also, many recipes have suggested variations. I also really enjoy some of the background/stories on some of the recipes (e.g., some were highly extolled by current chefs)

What this isn't is a broad survey of Chinese cuisine, but there are so many recipes that are simple and delicious. I must have marked/tabbed so many recipes for cooking!

Enjoy! Another great book from Fuchsia Dunlop!
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