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Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province Hardcover – February 17, 2007
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The Sichuan and Hunan cuisines differ from each other as New Orleans Southern food differs from South Carolina Southern cuisine, and yet both of Dunlop's cuisines are clearly hotter and spicier "Chinese" to our tastes. Hunan folks are said to like food with chilies "fire-hot-hot" whereas Sichuan's dominant style is a mix of chili hot and the peculiar "mouth numbing", from the Sichuan "peppercorns".
The Hunan recipes in this Revolutionary Cookbook are straightforward, nearly all ingredients can be obtained from a local Chinese or Asian grocery store. The only one I can't find is "purple perilla", for which Asian basil is not quite a substitute. Not a problem.
The 120 recipe instructions are for preparing simple, straightforward "comfort food", and the food comes out tasting very good. It's lighter, and not gooey, like the cornstarch-laden Americanized Chinese food.
Delights include: Spicy steamed pork buns, BBQ'd lamb chops, Changde Clay-bowl chicken, yellow cooked salt cod in chili sauce, with most fish dishes steamed. Try Chairman Mao's red braised pork, or one of it's 7 supplied variations. I think Ms. Dunlop overdoes the Chairman Mao bit, putting his cheery face on many, many pages for no good reason; it contributes little to understanding of him, or of the Hunan cookery. I'd rather have had more beautiful photos of food and other aspects of Chinese culture and people, instead of so many of Mao's images.Read more ›
Together with Dunlop's previous book on Sichuanese cooking, it is a refreshing change from the typical "Chinese" cookbook offering sticky-sweet Americanized versions of the real thing.
Dunlop provides interesting commentary on the origins of particular recipes and Hunan cuisine throughout the book, making it enjoyable to read in itself, especially for those of us who love food. In addition, the book is printed on glossy paper and has many more photos than Dunlop's previous book. Highly recommended.
I think that _Land of Plenty_ is still her best book, but this is a close second. The essays in _Land of Plenty_, for instance, are just superb, particularly the one about tea.
I'm wishing this cook & author a LONG life so she can continue to explore the food & food culture of China, and write many more books to share her learning with us.
There are two recipes for General Tso's Chicken in this book, and a good deal of text about the history of the dish. By far it seems to be more researched and (hopefully) more accurate than it is available on the man "fan pages" for the dish that the internet offers up. One recipe is for a Hunan-style General Tso's, and the other is for an American-style General Tso's.
There is also a recipe for pock marked grandmothers tofu. Another favorite, and it comes with a suprise. In this book, pork is substituted for the more traditional beef in the dish. I've never even seen the dish made with beef.
All in all, I'm already getting impatient for her next book to come out. There is lots more of China to explore culinarily, and I hope she manages to explore it all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this cookbook as a gift for my boyfriend, and we both love it. Every recipe we've made has been delicious and easy to follow. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Ingredients too hard to fond. Book clearly for advanced Chinese coolPublished 2 months ago by andrea gaynor
fuchsia is a great writer and her books are always welcome. great stories and history.Published 8 months ago by Gordon Quan
I've wrote a number of reviews over the last few days on some of my favorite cookbooks in my collection. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Brett Leonard
Excellent book on Hunan cuisine. A must have for lovers of authentic Chinese food. There are so many great recipes to choose from.Published 11 months ago by Malyn Moreland
Bought this as a Christmas gift for my husband, and now I'm the recipient of all the wonderful meals he has cooked from it! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Susan D
I've lived in China and was amazed by the flavors of the cusine. When I came back, I was no longer able to enjoy what I had formerly known of as Chinese food. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Golden M. Onkey