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Everyday Chinese Cookbook

by: Katie Chin

Clarendon VT: Tuttle Publishing, an imprint of Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd. 2016, $24.95, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-0-8048-4522-9

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2016 Issue: 23(3) page(s): 20

Subtitled: 101 Delicious Recipes From My Mother’s Kitchen, this author honors her mother, LeeAnn Chin, a fine legendary mid-American restauranteur who was also a TV and radio hostess, Chinese cooking teacher, and cookbook author long before this daughter grew up. Mom did write the (i)Betty Crocker Chinese Cookbook(/i) with later input from this daughter. First published in 1980, revised in 2000, her mom’s restaurant, favorably reviewed in this magazine in Volume 8(4), was also reviewed in dozen’s of other publications. The seeds she planted in Katie did not fall far from her own tree.

Mom pioneered and popularized Chinese cuisine, and her book is exceptionally popular coast to coast; her foods were popular, too. They sold in supermarkets in and around Minneapolis and further afield. Katie learned a lot from her, probably more than she realized. Raised in Minneapolis, in this book she tells about many experiences with her Mom and shows off her own talents, many appearing before and in each recipe. They are a joy to read!

Katie quickly learns that eating in a restaurant takes more time than cooking a meal, that preparing foods at home allows her as the cook to control what goes into a dish and control their tastes, too.

Every recipe begins with an experience or a food anecdote, all worth reading. Most show mother-daughter love. It is clear how and why they bonded and why this daughter prepares such popular, quick, tasty Chinese dishes.

With its more than a hundred recipes, Katie demystifies Chinese cuisine. The many step-by-step photos do, too, as the reader visualizes them all from Firecracker Shrimp to Five-Spice Chocolate Cake. By the way, Katie calls that shrimp recipe her 'signature dish;' we call it 'simply delicious.'

All ingredients used in this volume are widely available. We suggest selecting a large handful of staples, shopping for them, and treating family and friends to many quickly-prepared wonderful Chin-family favorites that will become your family’s favorites, too. They are healthy, varied, and more flavorful then usual Chinese restaurant dishes. They will help you understand why this daughter’s recipes are touted by Martha Stewart, Kate Workman, Andrew Zimmern, others; and by us!

Enjoy them all and any others you will make from your cupboard of ingredients including the include dim sum, salads, soups, poultry, beef, pork, and lamb, also seafood, vegetables, tofu, noodles, rice, drink and dessert recipes, too. They will be your family favorites for years to come!
Firecracker Shrimp
12 large shrimp, shelled but with tails left on, veins removed
½ teaspoon garlic salt, divided
2 spring roll wrappers
1 large carrot, cut into 3 x 1/4 inch matchstick shaped pieces
1 egg, beaten
oil for deep frying
4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1. Cut each spring roll into thirds making twelve narrow strips.
2. Place carrot pieces into a small bowl and sprinkle them with 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt and set them aside, sprinkling the remaining garlic salt with the shrimp.
3. Brush the top third of each spring roll strip with egg, and pace a piece of shrimp at its bottom, put a carrot strip on top of the shrimp, and roll tightly. The egg will hold them together, and let the tail and some of the carrot protrude resembling a firecracker.
4. Mix the mayonnaise and chili sauce and set aside as a dipping sauce.
5. Heat oil in a wok or deep pan to 350 degrees F, and fry until golden brown, about two or three minutes, turning them a few times, then drain on paper towels; and serve with the dipping sauce.

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