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Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes

by: Liu Chun-gen, Lan Peijin, and Sun Shuming, editors

Beijing China: Foreign Languages Press, Hardbound
ISBN: varied

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2002 Issue: 9(1) page(s): 23

This is actually a series of nine cookbooks, each with a different focus, author, ISBN number, and date of publication are:

Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Seafood, edited by Liu Chun-gen, 1999. ISBN 7-119-01130-8
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Bean Products, edited by Lan Peijin, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02489-2
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Cold Dishes edited by Lan Peijin, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02517-1
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Family Banquet edited by Lan Peijin, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02628-3
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Meat Dishes edited by Sun Shuming, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02491-4
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Poultry edited by Sun Shuming, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02492-2
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Rice and Flour Food, edited by Liu Chun-gen, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02488-4
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Soup edited by Liu Ghun-gen, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02493-0
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes: Vegetable edited by Sun Shuming, 2000. ISBN 7-119-02490-6

Each of these nine books in this series is a hardcover with internal spiral binding. Each volume has eighty-eight laminated pages so that spills made when trying the recipes can easily be wiped up, the pages left unsoiled. The recipes are in Chinese and English, forty in each volume. Each book includes a page titled: 'Foreword' discussing the book and the cuisine. Most of the nine volumes have seven pages detailing cutting and cooking techniques, a few ingredients, and how to use chopsticks. Individual volumes have a color photograph of some equipment. All the recipes are clear and with metric and American measures, each with a full-page color photograph of its completed dish.

As the general title indicates, they are intended for learning to cook Chinese food; and as such they do a fine job. Every book is a delight to cook from. Each recipe provides a few notes after it with items such as where it comes from, some other background, or how to prepare a particular item; there is also a comment about the taste.

To obtain copies, contact the publisher directly at: info@flp.com.cn and with luck you may get a reply, we did not. Our copies were purchased at: China Books and Periodicals at 2929 Twenty-fourth Street in San Francisco, CA 94110. They can be reached by phone at (415) 282-2994.

A sample recipe, from the Learn To Cook: Vegetables volume follows.
Scallops with Black Bean Sauce
2 pounds sea scallops
3 Tablespoons salted fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 large slices fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons corn oil
2 scallions, cut into half-inch lengths
1. Rinse and drain the scallops, pull off any hard white muscle, if there is any.
2. Mix black beans, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy and oyster sauces in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Heat a wok and add the oil and heat until just before it smokes. Stir-fry the scallops for just one minute, then add the scallion pieces and toss well. Put this mixture in a strainer and drain any juices that may come off.
4. In a clean wok, stir-fry the black bean mixture for one minute until it comes to the boil. Add the drained scallops and scallions, and heat through for no more than one minute, then serve.

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