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Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts by Paul Yee

by: Paul Yee

Northhampton MA: Crocodie Books, an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, Inc. 2015, $25.00, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-1-56656-933-4

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2015 Issue: 22(4) page(s): 26

Interpretations of classic Chinese folklore and original stories make up the thirteen tales between its covers with delightful illustrations by Shaoli Wang and recipes by Judy Chan. Some of its stories are humorous, others haunting or magical, all worth knowing and reading to yourself and to your children.

Each tale has a recipe for a classical dish that is related to the story, each illustrated with folk-art-illustrations, all dazzling. All offer lots of cultural detail to delight all ages. They have scholarly and cultural detail and a wealth of information by an award-winning Canadian young folks author who now lives in Toronto. The illustrator, born in China, now lives in Vancouver. Her efforts garner much critical acclaim, too. The recipes are by an accomplished cook and home economics teacher. She is a Vancouverite who tempts us all to prepare her dishes.

This is a literary cookbook, part of a series with another about Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts. They show and share known foods and well- and lesser-known tales about their cultures that have a long history of oral and written literature. Many are stories told to and by grandmothers to their children and grandchildren, all are popular and loved, generation to generation.
Beef Lettuce Wraps
1 pound ground lean beef
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 scallions, chopped
8 ounces canned sliced water chestnuts, draned and chopped
8 - 12 leaves iceberg lettuce
2 scallions, chopped
Make a sauce with: 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil, mixed
1. Mix ground beef, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar, and set aside.
2. Heat wok or fry pan, add beef mixture, and stir-fry until no longer pink, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon draining and discarding any excess fat.
3. Put one tablespoon fat back into the wok or fry-pan, stir in the onions and cook until translucent. Then add ginger, garlic, and the scallions, and stir them a few times before adding the water chestnuts, beef, and the sauce mixture. Stir this for two minutes.
4 Put some of the beef mixture on each lettuce leaf one per person), wrap, and serve.

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