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Foolproof Chinese Cooking

by: Ken Hom

New York : Dorling Kindersley 2001, $19.95, Hardbound
ISBN: 7894-7140-0


Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2001 Issue: 8(2) page(s): 24 and 25

This first US edition, published to be a companion to the television series on PBS called 'Great Food' singles out forty of the most popular Chinese dishes; it was originally published by BBC Worldwide Ltd. (2000) to share with American readers.

Each recipe has three or more photographs of ingredients or items in preparation and another, a gorgeous one, of the finished dish. D.K., as this publisher is known, produces books with gloriuos photography. This one, thanks to Jean Cazals and the stylistic efforts of Sue Rowlands, uses the Home Economics expertise of Linda Tubby, a Family and Consumer Scientist. The recipes in it are easy to read and easy to prepare. To help the novice, each of them provides preparation and cooking times, and every step is clearly delineated. What better material to make easy and wonderful recipes.

We owe a special thanks to Ken Hom for including that Family and Consumer Scientist. She reveiwed and clarified all the recipes. His TV programs have educated us before and we are now delighted with this comprehensive beginner's guide to help those who have yet to take the plunge into Chinese cookery. The recipes are easy to cook, and the book begins with simple ones and progresses to the more complex making it valuable for the novice Chinese cook.

We love his Crispy 'Seaweed' made of bok cai leaves, the Northern-style Cold Noodles and the Crispy Fried Wontons for starters. At a fancy meal, they show off a new Chinese cook's expertise, and everyone can enjoy them. The Stir-fried Chicken with Black Bean Sauce, the Sichuan-style Green Beans, Classic Lemon Chicken, and Perfect Steamed Rice can be served with them for main courses. With no desserts or sweets, readers can eat their meal Chinese-style, and enjoy the Corn and Crab Soup at the end, as soups are served in China.

The recipes are more than foolproof, and they are better than easy. They are delicious and jump off each page into your heart. We and all will salivate and can hardly wait to make every one of them.
Crispy Seaweed
Ingredients:
2 and 1/2 pounds bok cai
4 cups peanut oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly roasted in the oven until pale tan
Preparation:
1. Separate stalks from the leaves and set aside for another use.
2. Wash the leaves well, drain thoroughly, and dry in a salad spinner. Then roll them tightly and finely shred them.
3. Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F, and put the shredded leaves in for fifteen minutes. Remove and cool, then divide into four batches.
4. Heat oil and deep fry one batch for half a minute, no longer, and remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all are done.
5. When cool, toss with salt and sugar and the pine nuts, then serve.

                                                                                                                                                       
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