on July 31, 2012
I have been cooking Chinese food for nearly 50 years. At first, I relied on Buwei Yang Chao (1962), then on Kenneth Lo, on Pei Mei, and most recently, Fuchsia Dunlop. There are receipes in each of her books that don't duplicate any other. Last night, I tried red-cooked pork with potatoes (not the most ubiquitous of Chinese ingredients). Superb!
Fuchsia's lists of ingredients are complete and accurate. Her suggestions reflect actual kitchen usage. You need not worry that everything will be redolent of soy, sesame, ginger and garlic.
Oh ... the photographs are quite superb. They make the dishes appear nearly as tasty as they actually are.
A wonderful book by a wonderful chef!
on July 30, 2013
I have been building my collection of Chinese cookbooks over the last few years and have often been disappointed with cookbooks claiming to have recipes for Chinese dishes, but what they *really* mean is "Asian Inspired" (think whole chicken breasts with some sort of Asian-like sauce on them). I also have many that have great, authentic recipes that I don't use too often because they rely too heavily on frying or making massive quantities of food.
That's where Fushia's book really shines. The recipes are authentic and delicious with a focus on vegetables and reasonable portions. Every dish that we have tried from it has been extremely flavorful (thanks to her keen interest in Szchuan food) and easy to throw together. I absolutely love the menu section that pairs up dishes so that you don't accidentally choose four dishes that need to be stir-fried in a row.
The tofu section is amazing, I've made most of the dishes from it. So far my favorites are the hot & sour tofu and the tofu with avocado. We eat a mix of veggies, tofu, and meat for most meals and this book works perfectly for us. It doesn't hurt that she has mad talent when it comes to creating balanced and interesting flavors almost effortlessly. One of my favorite books so far!
Other book Recommendations:
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories by Grace Young <-- So far, every dish has been a winner for us
The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home by Diana Kuan <-- best of the Quick/Americanized books. Lots of simple and delicious dishes
on September 11, 2015
Great cookbook, authentic without being too intimidating.
Mostly Sichuan cuisine, but also includes popular dishes in all Chinese household. Ingredients are adjusted for international audience. Some dishes such as spinach with fermented tofu would have been a lot better with tong choy, but it is hard to find in many places even with Asian stores. Most of the dishes are very delicious with humble ingredients, some people might be disappointed by the lack of popular Cantonese dishes that rely on fancy ingredients. Most non-Chinese would be surprised that the most Chinese dish is scrambled eggs with tomatoes.
Since it is a home cooking cookbook, most dishes are quick and simple. It also explains the typical Chinese dinner structure with sample menus. The instructions are so easy to follow that even a novice in the kitchen would be able to look like a genius. Definitely a great cookbook to have not only for Chinese food, but also great dishes to save money.
on January 23, 2016
I was impressed with this book because not only did the recipes I tried turn out, but there is an extensive ILLUSTRATED glossary of the special ingredients called for. I live in a city where it's not actually that hard to buy "Sichuanese ya cai (ya cai)". HOWEVER, it is really difficult to COMMUNICATE to the mandarin-speaking salespeople that I am looking for something called "Sichuanese ya cai". Because of the photos of the packages of each speciality ingredient called for in this book however, I was able to take the book to the shop and show the shop assistants a picture of the package I was looking for.
In a world where publishers are looking to increase the value proposition of print books, Fuchsia Dunlop has hit the sweet spot.
So far, my favourite recipes from this book are teh "egg-fried rice" and the "black bean chicken". I'm looking forward to trying the "beef with cumin" and the "classic dan dan noodles" soon too.
on January 7, 2014
I picked this up as it appeared in the Globe & Mail top 10 cookbooks for the year. It went with my daughter to university. Good pictures, simple explanations, and uses basic ingredients in Asian cooking. I was only able to glance through and read the intro. I may pick up another copy. My daughter says that the only negative is that the recipes don't indicate serving sizes.