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China Moon Cookbook [Paperback]

Barbara Tropp , Sandra Bruce
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 1992

Winner of an IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award

The "Julia Child of Chinese cooking" (San Francisco Chronicle), Barbara Tropp was a gifted teacher and the chef/owner of one of San Francisco's most popular restaurants. She was also the inventor of Chinese bistro, a marriage of home-style Chinese tastes and techniques with Western ingredients and inspiration, an innovative cuisine that stuffs a wonton with crab and corn and flavors it with green chili sauce, that stir-fries chicken with black beans and basil, that tosses white rice into a salad with ginger-balsamic dressing.

Casual yet impeccable, and as balanced as yin and yang, these 275 recipes burst with unexpected flavors and combinations: Prawn Sandpot Casserole with Red Curry and Baby Corn; Spicy Tangerine Beef with Glass Noodles; Pizzetta with Chinese Eggplant, Wild Mushrooms, and Coriander Pesto; Chili-Orange Cold Noodles; Sweet Carrot Soup with Toasted Almonds; Wok-Seared New Potatoes; Crystallized Lemon Tart; and Fresh Ginger Ice Cream.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this wide-ranging collection of recipes from her famed Chinatown cafe, the doyenne of California Chinese cuisine offers a "private cooking school" for cooks who want to enter the "world of traditional Chinese flavors combined with exclusively fresh ingredients." Beginning with the "pantry" chapter on basic condiments like five-flavor Oil and China Moon pickled ginger, Tropp ( The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking ) moves throughout the meal, offering signature recipes, like plum wine chicken salad with sweet mustard sauce, and Hoisin pork buns with ginger and garlic. An entire chapter is devoted to the meat that is "symbolically central to the entire Chinese culture"--pork. Not surprising for a book that is as much a course in method and culture as a collection of recipes, instructions are detailed and descriptive. True to her hybrid East-West cuisine, Tropp reveals eclecticism in her observations about cooking: In one chapter she praises traditional Chinese seafood cooking and presentation practices for following "the integrity of the fish"; a few pages later, she muses about that modern American invention, plastic wrap. Stylish illustrations that simultaneously recall a modern upscale restaurant menu and a 1950s Vogue are also true to the mixed nature of Tropp's cuisine. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Tropp, author of The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking and chef/owner of San Francisco's China Moon Cafe, is a talented and passionate cook. Her new book is filled with hundreds of creative, unusual, and fascinating recipes. However, "homestyle" does not quite seem the word to describe them. Many have lengthy ingredients lists, and many dishes require components from other recipes for their preparation--not necessarily complicated on their own, but in the end somewhat daunting for busy home cooks. Nevertheless, the recipes are inspired and mouth-watering. Tropp's sidebars--on every page--are filled with information about Chinese cooking and food in general. This unique book is recommended for most collections. BOMC HomeStyle Books selection.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars too time-consuming! Sept. 9 2003
The China Moon cookbook offers many wonderful and unique recipes for lovers of asian cuisine. However, this book is definitely NOT for the cooking novice or for people that desire dishes that involves simple preparation. Most of the China Moon recipes requires the use of several different types of aromatic oils and spices that you need to make YOURSELF - which consists of several different types of ingredients that A) may be difficult to find in your local grocery store or B) needs to be prepared in some fashion before using. After spending hours/days/weeks chopping and cooking spices just to prepare special oil(s) (that you'll use only a couple of tablespoons worth), you'll think to yourself: 'Is this really worth it?'. Not only that, but the book insists that you make your own chicken/vegetable stock! And yet again, this involves combining several hundred different oils, spices and ingredients to make X amount of stock that you will only use 1 cup worth in a single recipe. Sheesh! After being discouraged by how much preparation and labor it involved to make a single dish (the 'simplest' dish calls for 2 oils)-I've only used my China Moon cookbook twice in the past 6 years. The dishes are impressive and tasty, but I would only recommend this book for people that really LOVE to cook or have alot of free time.
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I have always had a love for Chinese food... real Chinese food... and when I finally got a good kitchen to cook in I started looking around for good Chinese cookbooks. What I found was that most recipes in most Chinese cookbooks are mediocre. In most of these books the authors have obviously "Americanized" the recipes, which invariably means making the recipes quick and easy and, invariably, inferior.
Then I happened to learn about the China Moon cookbook from online chat groups. I purchased the book and have been absolutely thrilled with it.
Now it's true that this is not a book of "15 minute recipes." But it is a book of great recipes, and preparation time will take from about 1/2 hour to a couple hours, on average. I don't think I have been disappointed with anything I made from this book.
It's also true that this is not exactly a book of authentic Chinese recipes. But who cares... the recipes are absolutely delicious, bursting with the essence of great Chinese food, the creation of a lady who obviously loves Chinese food too.
As one who likes to eat healthy, I also appreciate the author's emphasis on fresh foods and no MSG or other questionable ingredients.
Two great recipes I got from this book that just by themselves make it worthwhile: 1) the very best hot chili oil... way better than the stale stuff you buy pre-made... and 2) The best chicken stir-fry recipe. We make this basic recipe at least a couple times a month. It's so tasty it's hard to stop eating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite, Least-Used, Essential Cookbook Dec 6 2002
No contradictions, there. I read this book cover to cover in one sitting, and loved it. I also learned the techniques of modern Chinese cooking in detail, including how to shop.
The book's problem is that the recipes are designed for a restaurant kitchen, with staff on hand. I have made exactly one dish from it. It took me half a day, and contained endless steps that could easily be shortened or eliminated if you didn't happen to have, say, a staff of 5 on hand. The result was wonderful, and I've made an equally-good version of it many times since, but not before going through the recipe with a LARGE pair of pruning shears.
But buy it anyway. The advice in the side columns alone is worth the price of entry, and the pantry section...
The pantry section is where the fifth star comes from. The infused oils are amazing, the pickled ginger (right down to the brand names of the vinegars -- and don't even THINK about substituting!) is sublime...
The firmament of cooking lost a bright star when Barbara Tropp died.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite cookbook Aug. 17 2002
The China Moon Cookbook introduced me to high end cooking ten years ago and I've never looked back. Barbara Tropp manages to draw in complete novices with detailed step-by-step instructions of what to do and what not to do, dosed out with a good humored, you-can-do-it-too manner. This cookbook would be a worthwhile addition to anyone's set just for its instructions on how to buy and prepare fish or poultry, or for its instructions on making double chicken stock.
Barbara Tropp's recipes are Chinese influenced in the way of ingredients, so make sure you have a supply of good sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sichuan peppers, red chilis and ginger. In case you don't, the sidebars provide an introductory course in how to find, buy and store such ingredients, with brand recommendations. The main emphasis in each case is the notion of extracting a pure flavor in each dish. Rather than producing the kind of heavy, integrated sauces more typically associated with the Chinese kitchen, China Moon cranked out light, spicy, and brightly acidic dishes like my all time favorites, clear-steamed salmon with corriander pesto and gold coin salmon cakes.
The real strength of this book lies not in its excellent recipes, which can be adapted in numerous ways once you understand their principles. It's in the preparation of a pantry full of such goodies as ma-la oil ("ma" for the numbing spiciness of sichuan peppercorns, and "la" for the traditional burn of red pepper), and pickled ginger that takes 10 minutes to make and leaves you forever wondering why you hadn't done this sooner. There are recipes for stocks, sweet and sour dipping sauces, mustards, and other staples of the Chinese kitchen, that once created, allow the preparation of amazingly flavorful dishes in short order.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cookbook
I have five or six Chinese cookbooks and this is the very best. I have recommended it to all my cooking friends and I notice they all have a copy on their bookshelves!
Published 7 months ago by Charlotte Zahn
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book -- pleased my imagination.
I received this book as a gift, combined with a nice wok.
This is really a lovely cookbook - "basics" of gourmet Chinese cooking were well explained. Read more
Published on Oct. 4 2003 by Jane James
4.0 out of 5 stars USDA banned ingredient: Szechuan Peppercorn
The USDA has banned the Szechuan Peppercorn in the United States, so it is no longer available for sale or distribution. Read more
Published on April 19 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for the imagination only
These recipes read deliciously; I've pored over them again and again to feed my imagination while I fed my stomach pedestrian Chinese take-out. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2001 by Eric Krupin
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this Book!!
If you have to limit yourself to one cookbook, this has to find it's way onto your shelves. The recipies are straight-forward and delicious. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2001 by CJ Hafner
4.0 out of 5 stars A "Chinese" cookbook for Westerners
To start off: this is not a book for the hard-line traditionalist, in fact, it is a book for those who aren't fond of the neighborhood Chinese restaurant style. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2001 by "really-siobhan"
3.0 out of 5 stars The China Moon Cookbook
This is an interesting book, however my problems with this book lie in the highly complicated procedures. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbara's the goddess of home cooking and good, fresh food
I've spent about three years with this cookbook and I still go back to it again and again with a feeling of excitement. The titles of the recipes are truly succulent. Read more
Published on July 16 2000 by S. Livnat
5.0 out of 5 stars Tasty Food, Informative Sidebars, Clear Explanations
This is one of my top three cookbooks of all time. I have cooked dozens of recipes from it, and they are all raves. Read more
Published on June 8 2000 by drdebs
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