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Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking Hardcover – October 28, 2009
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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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Top customer reviews
I found her recommendation of specific brands particularly helpful, given that I'm not inclined to try all the different soy sauces at my Asian grocery. Even if it doesn't make much practical difference, at least I THINK I'm using the best, which makes me happy (although her recommendation on Mason jar brand might have been a bit too far). These aren't Americanized Chinese recipes, and if you want to make everything in the book some of the ingredients will be hard to come by, but really with a few relatively easy-to-find pantry items you will be set to cook most of what's in this or any Chinese cooking book.
While there are several delicious recipes in here, I don't feel it's "mastering the art" so much as it is learning several excellent Chinese dishes. I don't come away from this book feeling I know the theory behind Chinese cooking, like I've done with some of James Peterson's books on other subjects, for instance. Still, this book has plenty in it to keep me busy for quite some time.
The recipe for XO sauce deserves special mention. I've had it before but have had trouble coming across a version I could make on my own. The one in here was excellent (I don't think you're supposed to grind the peppers if you use the number she recommends, which I thought was a little unclear) and I try to make sure I have a big container of it in the fridge most of the time.