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Helen Chen Cooks International

by: Helen Chen

Billerica MA: Joyce Chen Products 1995, $4.99, Paperback
ISBN: 0-94320049-2

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 1998 Issue: 5(2) page(s): 21

Available at my local supermarket, this sixty-four page soft-paper pamphlet features Joyce Chen International Sauces and discusses seven and provides forty recipes. They are in categories of beef, chicken and other poultry, seafood, pork, vegetables, and noodles and rice. Called 'Magic in a Bottle,' the sauces are interesting blends of common ingredients easy to mix for those who prepare lots of Chinese food.

The Beijing Tangy Peppercorn Stir Fry Sauce is a wonderful marinade for steak and good in a Chili Beef with cubed meat, plenty of onions, and a cup of corn. The Shandong Garlic and Stir Fry Oil worked well as both cooking sauce and accompanying dip for the Chicken in Lettuce Wrappers. I also tried the oil, mislabeled as sauce in the ingredients list, with some plum sauce in a dish with three kinds of beancurd trying to emulate a dish I had in Washington D.C. Though I adored the results, must confess it was not what I was aiming for.

What did win was the Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Onions, and Cilantro. This used the Bombay Curry and Ginger Stir Fry Sauce and showed it off to perfection. It tasted close to something I had in Macao many years ago. Easy to make, it uses very little meat and did feed four of us heartily for lunch. Must tattle and say that I added a drained can of mandarin oranges as I do love them and fennel together.

Aside from the recipes and details of the sauces, there is a glossary, some advice called: Techniques and Preparation, a page on How to Cook Rice, and a pair of pages headed: Other Joyce Chen Products. Though small in number, the recipes are well-written, one to a page, and some will become art of my 'use them often' collection.

Truly good things do come in small packages. Though international in concept, most recipes taste like foods from many regions of China. Do try that Pork Tenderloins with Fennel, Onions, and Cilantro recipe; you will be won over!

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