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Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories [Hardcover]

Grace Young
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 4 2010
Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for International Cooking, this is the authoritative guide to stir-frying: the cooking technique that makes less seem like more, extends small amounts of food to feed many, and makes ingredients their most tender and delicious.

The stir-fry is all things: refined, improvisational, adaptable, and inventive. The technique and tradition of stir-frying, which is at once simple yet subtly complex, is as vital today as it has been for hundreds of years—and is the key to quick and tasty meals.

In Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, award-winning author Grace Young shares more than 100 classic stir-fry recipes that sizzle with heat and pop with flavor, from the great Cantonese stir-fry masters to the culinary customs of Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai, Beijing, Fujian, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, as well as other countries around the world. With more than eighty stunning full-color photographs, Young’s definitive work illustrates the innumerable, easy-to-learn possibilities the technique offers—dry stir-fries, moist stir-fries, clear stir-fries, velvet stir-fries—and weaves the insights of Chinese cooking philosophy into the preparation of beloved dishes as Kung Pao Chicken, Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, Chicken Lo Mein with Ginger Mushrooms, and Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans.

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Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories + The Breath of a Wok + The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen
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"With this extraordinarily inspiring and comprehensive book, Grace Young establishes herself not only as one of the world’s great experts in Chinese cooking but as one of its few genuine masters. Buy it, read it, cook from it—and soon you will be on your way to becoming a stir-frying master yourself."

--James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur and author of Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Sipce Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

“For Grace Young, poet-laureate of the wok, a way of cooking is a way of life. Through stories, practical kitchen advice, and eminently doable recipes, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge takes the art of stir-frying to a new level."

--Betty Fussell, author of Raising Steaks: The Life & Times of American Beef

“Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge is the essential cookbook for anyone who wants to stir-fry with confidence, even mastery. Grace Young has interviewed exceptional Chinese cooks from all over the world to document their stories and recipes and to reveal the many ways in which stir-frying has sustained the Chinese in cultures as far-flung as India, Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba, Peru, France, and America. Whether you are seeking a practical and inspiring Chinese cookbook or a beautiful culinary history, look no further."

--Paula Wolfert, author of Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking

"Trying to flip quickly through this book is impossible. Nearly every page turn caught me up with something I had to read. Grace Young brings us the entire being of the wok. Yes, she’s a gifted recipe writer, hand holding through each step, so success comes pretty effortlessly. But the revelation with Grace goes further. The wok is probably the most underrated (and underpriced) piece of equipment we have. Grace knows its life, its place not solely in China, but in the world. The wok is immediacy, tradition and maybe even an instrument of life force. Did I get carried away? Maybe, but that’s where Grace can take you. Follow her, you’ll love the trip."

--Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of Public Radio’s national food show, The Splendid Table®, from American Public Media

"Grace Young's masterful book reveals stir-frying as 'a cooking method of great subtlety and sophistication.' She provides a sense of spirit, of excitement, that makes stir-frying delicious fun. Recipes are clearly written and detailed; you'll get the requisite hand-holding to stir-fry your way to a delicious dinner....Young has done an admirable job showing how this ancient technique can be deliciously new and cool."

--Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune

"Young, whose expertise in wok technique has already enlightened American cooks, has now gathered recipes for stir-frying reflecting culinary traditions as far-flung as Indonesia and Peru.For the novice, Young offers lots of basic yet learned advice on shopping for unfamiliar ingredients and on assembling a Chinese pantry. Photographs and step-by-step instructions make fundamental wok tools and techniques accessible to even the least experienced. Her sidebars featuring talented stir-frying masters from all over the world add human dimension to the recipes."

Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

"If you've ever spent much time with the award-winning The Breath of a Wok, you know that Grace Young's cookbooks feel as personal as they are practical. Her latest is no exception. And if you're expecting food a la Panda Express, this book will be a revelation. Stir-fries, it turns out, can come from almost every continent, and a good one is no slapdash affair. Young reveals the many small techniques that add up to excellence."

--Katherine Miller Fran Walden, The Oregonian

"Grace Young is one of the very best cookbook authors writing today. Her newest book, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, With Authentic Recipes and Stories is essential reading for anyone interested in Chinese cooking."

--Erica Marcus, Newsday

"The new cookbook by Grace Young is an extended love poem to the wok. It has more than 100 fab recipes, from classics such as Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli to delicious hybrids like Chinese Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice and Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp and Rum. Young's travels take her around the globe and along the way, fortunate readers will learn how to rock the wok."

--Matt Schaffer, The Boston Herald

About the Author

Grace Young is an award-winning food writer and the author of Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen and The Breath of a Wok. Her work has appeared in Gourmet, Metropolitan Home, Copia, Gastronomica, Eating Well, More, Fitness, Home, and Health magazine. For seventeen years, Young was the Test Kitchen Director and Director for Food Photography for over forty cookbooks published by Time-Life Books. She is now a consulting editor at Saveur.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous - It's made us Stir-Crazy! Jan. 16 2011
Great book! It has taught me not only some incredible recipes, but also much about the culture and history of the wok. I have never used a cookbook as frequently as this one, and now I have my whole family hooked on stir-frying.

My only gripe is I find the recipe layout a bit muddled and disorganised. I need to re-read each recipe several times before finding out the exact combination of ingredients and order of cooking, and everything needs to be memorised beforehand because looking for information once the stir fry has started results in a burn-fry more often than not!

I have also adapted all the recipes to be spicier and not as salty. I understand the book is geared towards a North American audience so they tend to be a bit bland and very salty (To Grace Young's credit, she explains at the beginning of the book that the recipes are just guidelines and should be experimented with)

Other than that, the book itself is beautiful. The photography and writing are top notch and I have read it from cover to cover several times. It is as amusing as it is informative and I find it has enriched all aspects of my life because cooking dinner has now become much more of a philosophy rather than a chore. We eat healthier food which makes us feel better (not to mention the fact that our grocery bill is significantly reduced) and the care involved in preparing everything before hand reminds us how important it is to slow down and take the time to appreciate things properly.

I only wish she offered a digital version of all the recipes, because it pains me every time I spill oil or touch the book with wet or greasy hands.

Great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Odyssey
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, I've tried a few recipes so far and they we're delicious. My only complaint, which is enough to knock off 2 stars, is that the a Kindle version has no Table of contents. This is a pretty big recipe book and trying to navigate it without a Table of contents is a nightmare. I have to bookmark every recipe I happen to find interesting and use those to go back and forth.

If you're interested in buying this book, I would buy the physical version. You won't enjoy the Kindle edition, unless they update it in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic! Dec 21 2011
I enjoyed the book a lot! I used to use those crappy woks from canadian tire, but now, I'm buying a real wok to stir fry these delicious recipes!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a Great Source March 7 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Grace Young's recipes, notes and anecdotes make this the best, most interesting cookbook we have used (and used) for years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  155 reviews
165 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stir frying with confidence & inspiration June 16 2010
By Charles Gibbs - Published on
After purchasing this book, I have had a hard time cooking from any other. To date, I have made: minced pork in lettuce cups; stir-fried beef & broccoli; stir-fried chicken with pineapple and peppers; chinese trinidadian chicken with mango chutney; five spice chicken with sugar snaps; chinese jamaican stir-fried chicken with chayote; stir-fried chicken with carrots & mushrooms; chinese burmese chili chicken; stir-fried salmon in wine sauce; dry-fried pepper & salt shrimp; singapore-style stir-fried lobster; spicy long beans with sausage and mushrooms; fried sweet rice with mushrooms; and singapore noodles. No dish has disappointed. The recipes are clear and concise, the backgrounds giving more appreciation for each dish, and the photography approaches the pornographic for glorious color & close-ups of the food. That said (I may be biased), my dishes have looked remarkably close to the pictures.
I haven't had this much fun cooking from a book in a long time. So. . .buy the book, find those tiny Mom & Pop Asian grocery stores, & don't be afraid to ask questions. You're going to eat well!
111 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rediscovering stir-fry! June 17 2010
By KarenSantaFe - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Back in the 70s and early 80s, the wok was all the rage. Then in one of my many youthful moves, I lost mine and never thought about it again. Not, that is, until this book came along.

Grace Young's book is great for the first-time wok cook, or for those like me who are rediscovering Asian cooking. The opening section has clear explanations and color photographs on the different kinds of woks, how to season a wok, wok tools, and wok variations in different countries. She provides a very handy list of Asian ingredients, with explantions for each and substitutions that can be used for some. The recipes are clearly written, accessible to the western cook, and lots and lots of color photos which I particularly appreciate. At the back is a resource list of stores and web sites.

I called one of these -- The Wok Shop in San Francisco's Chinatown -- and the store owner, Tane, who is also featured in one of the pictures in the book, was very helpful in helping me choose the right wok for me and my stovetop. A mere sixty bucks and a few days later, I had my wok, wok cover, all my wok tools, and was ready to roll. (I bought a lot of extras but you can get a wok from Tane for as low as $15) Since then we've been using the wok several times a week, and really enjoying the many things that can be made in it, especially the vegetables, which I'm trying to eat more of.

what I appreciated most about Young's philosophy is that wok cooking is extremely inexpensive AND healthy. It is the chosen cooking tool for humans in most parts of the world, and once you learn how to use your wok, most of those other pots and pans really are not needed. Wok, heat source, something to move the food around (spatula or whatever), and some food from the garden or local market and you are good to go, anywhere on the planet! Highly recommended for novice cooks and chefs alike!!
80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW can I Wok Now June 4 2010
By Laura A. Cornaggia - Published on
I loved this book. Stir Fying to the Skys Edge. I have been cooking for 30 years with what I thought was a pretty good knowledge of stir frying. I love my wok and use it a couple of times a month. This Book without a doubt has helped me bring my cooking to a whole other level. The recipes are great but there is so much more to be learned in this book. Grace Young makes you want to run to the store and prepare a great healthy meal. She makes it interesting and easy to cook all your old favorites plus and ton of new dishes. Lets face it what cook does not love a one dish meal??? Great Book. I am buying this book for all my future wedding shower gifts.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest I have found on the subject of stir frying Jan. 6 2011
By David S. Goldy - Published on
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge is what a cookbook about stir frying should be. I have lost count of the number of such books on the subject which I have read through and I have cooked from at least ten and this is the finest for some of the reasons described below.

First, all recipes can actually be made; the ingredients used are available at most supermarkets and the few which are not are available at any metropolitan area asian grocer or from many mail order vendors for those of you living in rural areas.

Second, the quantity of ingredients and directions are detailed and straight forward. The author goes so far as to write up techniques and tools for preparing the proteins and vegetables such as the best ways to cut matchstick sized vegetables, slice proteins, etc. There is no guess work needed to make the recipes. The author avoids this very common failing of cookbooks.

As a consequence of the foregoing, even a novice cook can actually make the recipes as intended by the author and they are delicious.

Third, I have loved the flavors, textures and smells of all of the recipes which I have made. The dishes written up are excellent.

Fourth, there is a great variety of dishes covering all of the usual proteins and vegetables. Whatever one you favor, you will find a preparation including it, and most likely featuring it, be it chicken, fish, seafood, beef, pork, noodles, rice, and all sorts of vegetables.

I do wish that the recipes contained nutrition information. However, this is common among non-diet books.

I expect that I will make at least 90% of the recipes in this book and expect to love them all. This book is a keeper and worth adding to you cookbook collection. I am grateful to the author and anticipate that you will be too.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woket Science Aug. 23 2010
By Ed - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I probably should use this cookbook a few more times before writing a review, but my first meal turned out so well, that I am confident that the others will too. I am new to stir-fry, and this book is absolutely perfect, especially since I'm an older guy who's only real exposure to cooking is throwing burgers and chicken onto a grill, and getting into his wife's way when she is trying to get supper ready. The first 70 pages of this book are spent explaining what stir-fry is, and what equipment you will need. More importantly, she explains how to use and care for it. I found those pages indispensable. If I can follow her instructions and have the food turn out well, ANYONE can. There are no Chinese cooking classes available where I live, so I really needed to have all of the basics spelled out for me. Besides, her prose is very enjoyable to read; lots of good stories about how Chinese cooking developed as people emigrated from China to other parts of the world. My only difference of opinion with Ms Young is that she feels that most American cast iron Woks are too heavy for comfortable use. I bought a Lodge Wok at Amazon, and it is perfect for me. I don't plan on flipping food in the wok, so the extra weight is ok, and it does hold the heat well. Thank you Grace Young for this outstanding cookbook.
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