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LowCarb Chinese Cooking

by: Charmaine Solomon

Sydney, Austrailia : New Holland Publishers Pty Ltd., Hardbound
ISBN: 1-74110-316-9

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2005 Issue: 15(1)

Limiting rice, not worrying about cholesterol, losing weight, and lowering triglycerides are results gained, the author says, by her husband, thanks to this book. Actually, its genesis was the result of a doctor advising limiting carbohydrates and reducing triglycerides.

The book begins discussing how a low carbohydrate diet works, shows utensils for Chinese cooking, wok techniques, and a guide to weights and measures. Then the recipes follow. After them, a three page ingredient glossary, four others detail carbohydrate values of Western foods, and one provides equivalent terms crossing national borders. The book ends with a four-page four-column index.

Many recipes have a color photograph (by David Marshall). Some are low-carb versions of common Chinese dishes, some revised to meet the dietary requirements. The Seafood chapter, the author hopes will be used the most. It is the longest, and in some ways, the best. However, the Steamed Fish Fillets with Crab Sauce or the Stir-fried Fish Cake and Cabbage simply reduce carbs simplistically, removing some cornstarch or another thickener. Mermaid’s Tresses, namely Garlic Scallops, looks the best, tastes divine, and should make it to everyone’s table, and often. However, reducing carbs and pigging out on this or any of the great ones in this book makes for poor partnerships.
Steamed Rice Sticks and Spare Ribs on Lotus Leaf I
1 dried lotus leaf
1 teaspoon corn oil
1/2 pound spare ribs, cut into one inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
1/2 Tablespoon corn starch
1 Tablespoon corn oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper shreds
1 teaspoon fermented black beans
1 teaspoon green scallion tops, shredded
1/2 pound fresh rice sticks
1. Boil lotus leaf for ten minutes, drain well, and use it to line a bamboo steamer basket, folding overhanging edges onto the sides of the basket.
2. Mix spare ribs with sugar and vinegar and set aside for half an hour.
3. Add soy sauce, corn starch, the tablespoon of oil, and the pepper, and mix well and allow to set for ten more minutes, then add garlic, chili, black beans, and greens of the scallion, and mix well.
4. Put rice sticks on lotus leaf and spare rib mixture on top of this. Bring steamer with two inches of water in the bottom to the boil, Put bamboo basket into the steamer and steam for fifteen minutes, then serve.

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