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Beijing Made Easy Recommended Cookery Books

Beijing Made Easy reviews Chinese cookery books: books set in China or Beijing, books about China, books about Chinese culture and history, books about the Chinese language and Beijing and China travel guides.

Authors and Publishers who wish to have their works reviews by Beijing Made Easy should contact us to arrange for a review copy to be sent to us.

The Chinese Kitchen

by Deh-Ta Hsiung

Deh-Ta Hsiung’s ‘The Chinese Kitchen’ approaches Chinese food from a refreshing new angle. It’s not just a cookery book but a Chinese cooking guide. It’s a readable anthology of Chinese food.

Rather than giving a list of recipes, it deals with the various ingredients used in Chinese cooking one by one, everything from rice to ginger to rice wine. It tells you what everything’s used for, how to find things and their history, but it also tells you what to make with them. Buy this book and you’ll end up with a much broader general knowledge of Chinese food than if you’d just confined yourself to stand-alone recipes.

Of course, recipes are not neglected either. When dealing with each ingredient, he also provides one or two easy recipes which use that ingredient.

The whole book is filled with well-shot, mouth-watering photographs.

Anyone interested in Chinese food or cooking will find it interesting to leaf through. Anyone who wants to cook will find about 200 straightforward recipes, from restaurant staples to classics unknown outside China.

At the very beginning of the book there’s a worthwhile overview of the philosophy and theory of Chinese cookery, (the yin-yang of cooking), put across in a really accessible way. These ideas are interesting to read about in their own right, and will give you an idea of how to make your meal authentic. They are also (more than coincidentally) very useful in making the meal taste good, which is the most important thing after all.

Sichuan Cookery

by Fuchsia Dunlop

Fuchsia Dunlop’s excellent ‘Sichuan Cookery’ is one of the most highly rated cookery books around, offering a window onto a school of cookery relatively unknown outside China, but adored within.

The Chinese have a saying: ‘For food, go to China, for taste, go to Sichuan’. The Sichuan school of cookery, renowned for fiery red chillis and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, is one of the most vibrant, varied, and enduringly popular in all of Chinese cookery.

Fuchsia Dunlop moved to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and was taught by some of the most respected Sichuanese cooks. In this book she shares the benefit of her knowledge through several hundred of the most popular Sichuanese restaurants.

Although Sichuan food has a reputation for spice, that’s not all there is to it. Spicy or not, hot or cold, veggy or meat, the book offers a range of dishes to suit all tastes. Gong Bao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding) and Pock Marked Mother Chen’s Beancurd (Ma Po Doufu) are renowned the world over and we strongly recommend you try them, but there’s also some lesser known dishes that are equally delicious. Try Lamp-Shadow Sweet Potato Crisps or Lotus Root in Sweet and Sour Sauce.

The only disadvantage, which can only be blamed on our supermarkets, and not on the esteemed author, is ingredients. A lot of the recipes require ingredients you won’t find down your local Tesco or Wal-Mart. But the food is well worth a shopping trip to China town.

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