View Full Version : recommend a good chinese cook book

11-02-2011, 06:00 PM
Hey guys. Well I've been a long fan of Chinese cooking (although lately not so much with work) but I have a few Martin Yan cook books, which are good don't get me wrong, but I feel that I don't not, there kind of missing something almost. I'm sure that they are a little more geared towards the American taste, so I've come a calling to see what other books you guys can recommend, especially one with really good authentic sauces. (If one such is out there that is) Thanks again all.

11-02-2011, 07:14 PM
The breath of a wok

11-02-2011, 07:21 PM
I've used Eileen Fei Lo's Chinese Kitchen (http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Kitchen-Yin-Fei-Lo/dp/0688158269/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1320276775&sr=8-11) a few times and it's been pretty good. Overall when I go through it the recipes sound about right. I've only used it for Cantonese recipes. Though it's been a while since I've used it, I think it focuses on Cantonese recipes anyways.

If you like Sichuan food, Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty (http://www.amazon.com/Land-Plenty-Treasury-Authentic-Sichuan/dp/0393051773/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320276875&sr=1-1) is a must-have. Great read, good selection of recipes in it, and the ones I've tried were really nice.

Burl Source
11-02-2011, 07:40 PM
I think this one is mostly seafood.
OK, I'm easily amused.

11-02-2011, 08:08 PM
One I recently aquired and looks pretty good is The Complete Asian Cookbook.

Eamon Burke
11-02-2011, 08:48 PM
Whats a good book for those interested in, and knowing good chinese taste, but need a course on the basics. What's a good book to get into chinese food in a thorough way?

11-03-2011, 04:23 AM
Whats a good book for those interested in, and knowing good chinese taste, but need a course on the basics. What's a good book to get into chinese food in a thorough way?

I saw the show to this book awhile ago and I found it quite nice. http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Food-Made-Easy---find/dp/0007264984/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1320309334&sr=8-16

11-03-2011, 05:30 AM
I would recommend any of Grace Young's books Stir-frying to the sky's edge or Breath of a Wok,love both.Also Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Daguid's book Beyond the Great Wall.

11-03-2011, 06:36 AM
I also enjoyed Breath of a Wok, I have not really looked for another book in that cuisine sinse getting it.

11-03-2011, 09:17 AM
Breath of a Wok is a good book. It's a great source for information, some good story telling too. I think my only criticism would be the constant use of cornstarch; I don't feel it's needed everywhere she has it in recipes.

11-03-2011, 10:09 AM
I have to agree on Fuschia Dunlop's book. It's really been helpful in understanding how to create those wonderful Szechuan flavors, and it's just a fascinating to read in general.

11-03-2011, 11:46 AM
Actually, corn starch or potato starch really is used practically everywhere for Chinese cooking - at least for Cantonese cooking anyways. I haven't gone through the book, but it would surprise me * not* to see corn starch used everywhere. It's ubiquitous, but add to much and you end up with what many would consider cheap diner food :)

Curious about Breath of a Wok though...

11-03-2011, 02:13 PM
"The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cook Book" by Gloria Bey Miller was my first asian cook book, and I think that it is a great primer as well as good for more advanced stuff. I think that I bought my copy in the mid seventies, so it may be considered an antique now.

11-03-2011, 03:16 PM
Fuschia Dunlop, hands down, no contest.

11-03-2011, 11:55 PM
I had many Chinese cookbooks but i cant recommend to you coz they are all in Chinese:oops: Sorry

Actually, I am Catonese so I dont know much about szechuan. I only know a few....

For Potato starch and Corn starch
Potato starch
Pros: Give you much more "shiny look" for thicken sauce, less sticky so more control for consistency.
Cons: Sauce will become "watery" faster than using corn starch

Corn starch
Pros: more sticky, Sauce can hold longer
Cons: less shiny, it is easy for you to apply too much
so that almost all Catonese restaurants are using potato starch for thicken sauce, I know some Chef will mix Potato and Corn Starch for thicken soup.

By far, the most famous Holland Windmill Potato is named no.1 in Catonese restaurants.

Yes we apply starch almost on everything. If you use properly, you can make restaurant food at home. For example, stir fry peas or Chinese broccoli doesnt absorb taste easily unless you overcook them.If you apply proper amount of potato starch, it will give you a shiny loook also the sauce will cover on the vegs(locking the water coming out frm vegs). Honestly, I cant apply right amount for peas everytime, it is easy to do it over or less.

I use potato starch at home and i like it personally. there is no problem you use any kind of starch at all.

when you apply starch, you first prepare a bowl of starch with cool water(could be room temperature but not even warm)

Hope this help

11-04-2011, 07:19 AM
That's very true about a very many *good* Chinese cookbooks being exclusively in Chinese. Unfortunately, I can't read Chinese and my mom and aunt love to poke fun at me about how they have good cookbooks that I can borrow anytime I want!

My aunt lately recommended some cookbooks by Annie Leong that are in both Chinese & English, and I've ordered the English editions. They should be arriving soon, and I can let folks know how they are later on.

11-05-2011, 12:03 AM
Interesting about the starch... I suppose where I run into problems with starches used is mixing it with meat before browning -- which, in my mind, burns the starch before the meat really browns, and made it so that I had to clean my wok out after browning, before adding the aromatics. So I've dropped the starch in a lot of the meat based recipes, instead using it to the vegetable ones because most of the starch is called for in the "sauce" part of the dish (maybe I'll start adding it back to the meat dishes, just in a different spot). I might also clarify that I'm cooking on a stove that maxes out at about 6k BTUs, maybe 8k...

sachem allison
11-05-2011, 02:17 AM
I love the Culinaria China cook book, actually all of the Culinaria series. You not only learn about the food, but the culture as well and the photos are beautiful.

Noodle Soup
11-05-2011, 09:51 AM
I don't know if it is a good or bad thing but I already have all the books mentioned! What, no unknown sleepers? :)

11-05-2011, 07:20 PM
I suppose where I run into problems with starches used is mixing it with meat before browning -- which, in my mind, burns the starch before the meat really browns

Ahhhh! As my instructor used to say, "No browning! No fond! That's so gwai lo. We're not cooking French here." High heat is necessary for good flavor in a wok and some Maillard reaction must take place, but it's not an "intentional" browning the way we'd let the meat sit on a saute pan/fry pan and let it brown and release. There's certainly no fond intended.

I remember "arguing" with my mom (unsuccessfully, I might add) about browning and fond. The sit-and-brown thing just isn't part of cooking with a wok, I think.

I don't think you have to use starch in the meat marinade. As I understand it, its purpose there is to give the meat a silkier texture. However, if it's a matter of sauce thickening, just add the starch slurry almost last before plating the dish.

11-06-2011, 07:45 PM
I like Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking here (http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Chinese-Cooking-Eileen-Yin-Fei/dp/0811859339/ref=cm_cr-mr-title) It incorporates much of her earlier work, and the recipes were generally what I'm looking for. Plus it had XO sauce, which is a plus.