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Everyday Chinese Cooking

by: Chin, Leeann and Chin, Katie

New York NY: Clarkson Potter Publishers 2000, $22.00, Paperback
ISBN: 0609-60586-0

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2001 Issue: 8(4) page(s): 8 and 9

The authors advise that this collection of fast, easy, and naturally healthful recipes are such that the whole family will love them. Daughter Katie, and the rest of Leeann Chin’s children ran home most nights to enjoy them eating dinner together devouring their mother's delicious dishes. Since then, Katie has learned to cook them and using this book, so can you. Many can be pre-prepared before going to work, all are simple, and the authors promise virtually no stress when cooking them.

We adored the Bean Curd Rolls, prepared them early, froze some, and steamed the others at dinner. We did likewise with the Beef with Scallops and many other dishes. They were great for company and for family meals. The Barbecued Chicken is another great dish; and to our surprise, it is made in the oven. The marinade is simple, the leftovers--should there be any-- made a luscious lunch box treat or a chicken salad the next day. The Roasted Duck with Beer, the Stir-fried Chicken with Mango, the Asparagus with Wild Mushrooms, and the simple and savory Hot-and-sour Stir-fried Celery make a fine feast.

You can feast when your supermarket has turkey breast on sale. Grab a few and freeze Lettuce Cups with Turkey for other days. This fancy finger-type food serves as appetizer, delicious and simple lunch, or a divine dinner main course. If you are tired of ordinary sweet and sour dishes at your local Chinese eatery, make Ginger Pineapple Chicken and a salad, and your dinner will be competition to their fattier food. Serve them and Salmon with Tofu to make the competition tougher. End such a meal with Almond Float with Lychees, Walnut Banana Wontons, Mango Pudding, or Poached Peaches with Ginger and Honey and your table can become everyone's restaurant of choice.

Should any item seem less than ordinary, a ten-page glossary of ingredients precedes the recipes. Three sets of color photographs interspersing the recipes visualizes what many of the recipes should look like; and cooking any of them allows you to share and savor family food traditions from the Chin family. Their mother, Leeann, is a very successful Chinese business woman who helped her children and now her grandchildren prepare and delight in the fine Chinese food of her Cantonese heritage. In this book, she helps you do the same. For more about her see the article on Minneapolis/St. Paul: A Place for Asian Tastes in this issue.

Most of the recipes are quick and delicious. Most are from the Leaann Chin Restaurants she founded in Minneapolis and environs, and most will provide you with culinary talent Chinese-style in your very own kitchen. They will allow hostessing delicious dinner parties and feeding your own family tasty Chinese food.
Bean Curd Rolls
1/2 pound shrimp, shells removed and deveined
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 round bean curd sheets
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, soaked for twenty minutes, remove stems and cut them in very thin slices
2 ounces bamboo shoots, cut into very thin strips
2 scallions, shredded
8 ounces bean sprouts
2 Tablespoons corn oil
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1. Cut shrimp lengthwise into two pieces, then mix with salt and soak them in two cups of water for five minutes. Then rinse and dry them.
2. Mix shrimp with sesame oil and set aside.
3. Cut each bean curd sheet in half then half again and wipe both sides of each of them with a wet towel. Ten make a paste of the flour and half cup of water which will be used to seal the rolls.
4. Mix shrimp and all the vegetables including the bean sprouts and divide this mixture into sixteen batches.
5. Put one batch of filling in the center of a bean curd wedge moving some to about an inch of all of the edges, and brush some flour-water mixture down the long sides. Roll from the outside of the circle towards the point folding in the sides to make an enclosed four-inch cigar-shaped roll. Before you get to the point, brush it with the flour-water mixture. Repeat until all sixteen rolls are made.
6. Heat a fry pan, add the oil and reduce the heat slightly, then half of the rolls and pan fry them, two minutes to a side. Drain on paper towels and do the second batch. Serve.

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