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China the Cookbook
by: Lum Chan
Phaidon Press Limited 2016, Hardbound
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(3) page(s): 18
This book has seven
hundred and ten
recipes written in
standard style. Its
methods are detailed
and wordy; and they
are in chapters titled: Appetizers and Salads; Soups; Fish
& Seafood; Poultry; Meat; Vegetables, Tofu, and Eggs;
Rice, Congee, & Noodles; Desserts; Guest Chefs. All
recipes are one or two to a page, and titled in Chinese
and English. Each one tells its region of origin, the
cooking time needed, number served; and the needed
ingredients, often in both ounces and grams. Its project
editor is Michelle Meade, the many photographs are by
D.L. Aiken, both tended to carefully.
An introductory chapter discusses the history of the
Chinese food culture, regional cuisines including China’s
eight great ones and others, their twenty-three cooking
techniques, and twenty-one equipment items; all on
twenty-two pages. At the book’s end are a hundred
and sixty-three Chinese and English Glossary items
discussed on fourteen-pages, the same number of pages
have a three-column cross-referenced Index, a single page
gives a forty-three item Bibliography. One more
page provides recipe notes.
The recipes are detailed, many are unusual such as one
for goat and eel, another for unusual mushrooms. Each of
three of the chapters (Fish & Seafood; Meat; and Vegetables,
Tofu & Eggs) include more than one hundred recipes.
Some of the photographs, all in color, are of places in
China, and most all are of its completed dishes. Some
are not where expected as they are where the Chinese
eat them including some of the forty-three soups in the
Desserts chapter; the Chinese do eat many soups at the
end of their meal.
|Mushrooms with Peach Kernels|
2 ounces/50 G dried black mushrooms
1 cup (15 ounces/150 G)) peach kernels
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil and extra for deep frying
2 teaspoons sesame oil
½ ounce /20 G ginger, about an inch in length, half sliced, half chopped
1 cup (8 FL ounces/250 ML)vegetable broth
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
steamed rice, to serve
1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl, cover with cold water,
and soak for at least twenty minutes or until softened.
Remove the mushrooms, squeeze dry, and discard the
2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the peach
kernels, and blanch for four or five minutes until the
skins begin to wrinkle. Drain and rinse under cold
running water. Peel and dry the peach kernels throughly
using paper towels.
3. Put the peach kernels into a wok or deep saucepan,
add enough vegetable oil to cover them, and deep fry
over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes until the kernels
are crunchy. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove
the kernels from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Discard the vegetable oil.
4. Heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the
ginger slices and stir-fry for one minute until fragrant.
Put in the mushrooms and vegetable broth, bring to the
boil, reduce to low heat and simmer for one hour. Stir
frequently to prevent burning. Transfer the mushrooms
to a bowl.
5. Heat the remaining two tablespoons oil in the wok
over high heat, then add the chopped ginger and stir-fry
for one minute until fragrant. Mix the mushrooms and
peach kernels, add the soy sauce, sugar, and salt. After
mixing the cornstarch with one tablespoon water, stir
everything into the wok. Bring to a boil, stir for thirty
seconds to thicken the sauce, then transfer to a serving
plate and serve with rice, if desired.