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4.2 out of 5 stars171
4.2 out of 5 stars
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263 of 267 people found the following review helpful
These recipes really do work. My family have been cooking
Asian food for 15 years, and over that time, have accumulated
many Chinese cook books.There are no silly recipes in here.
Just quick and easy. The Chow Mein was plain sailing. I had
never seen a version of sweet n sour cooked like the
recipe, but it was so tasty. I like the way Ching
explains which sauces are essential in her cupboard
collection. There are no recipes which tell
you to marinate for 24 hours.Its all NOW,
and that is life....
If you have one Chinese cook book in your collection,
make sure it's this one, and ...impress friends with your
cooking. Ching makes it look easy, and it is!!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2008
I already had and liked Ching's China Modern but this is easily the better book. I've got a library of chinese cookery books, but if you bought only one I'd recommend this one. It's even replacing my trusty, bespattered and dog eared Ken Hom. I find the most appealing thing about Ching's recipes is that they offer a very personal, modern 'take' on many traditional recipes. I also find that hers tend to be punchier with more flavour and pizzazz than many other versions. Maybe it's my despoiled western palate but I prefer her flavoursome approach. The Chili Chicken sauce will become a mainstay of my repertoire (and yes it can be distinctly lively); ditto the Dan Dan noodles and our favourite the Gong Bao. Her approach gives you confidence to take ownership of these recipes and even add your own twist. There's a good range as well, this book is equally useful as a everyday weekly reference with many recipes that fit in easily with a busy workaday lifestyle and aalso as a resource for entertaining friends, special occasions and for party food. I can't think of many books that are so down to earth useful and can take much repeated traditional recipes and yet reflect the author's personality and tastes. The errors cited in the Singapore Noodles are well pointed out though, it should definitely be 2 teaspoons of tumeric (not tablespoons). I'd go one further though and substitute a mild or medium curry powder. All in all I'd rate Ching as the new Ken Hom for the modern cook.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 29 July 2008
I always steered clear of cooking chinese...till now. After seeing the excellent TV programme, this book is a delight. Great recipes, easy to prepare and very tasty. If you like chinese food don't hesitate to add it to your collection.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2008
As a big fan of chinese food I had high expectations of this book. I wasn't dissapointed. Fantastic chinese recepies all laid out with simple step by step instructions.
I'm not skilled in the kitchen by any means and one of the best things about this book is that it really makes tasty chinese food accessible to anyone.
A great accompaniment to the tv series.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2009
It is not perfect by any means but I would still recommend this book to anyone, it provides inspirational, quick, simple and healthy recipes with generally clear instructions that make cooking Chinese food very easy indeed.

There are two main strengths to this book, the first is that each recipe only requires a few ingredients which are used often throughout the book. At no time are you expected to go out and buy 20 different exotic spices or ingredients to make one dish. This is something which would appear to have upset the 'seasoned' travellers who would rather have an unusable book that reminds them of their journeys than a working book that will find a home in many family kitchens.

This leads to the second strength in that it tries to make use of ingredients that will be available locally throughout the UK. The only ingredients I have been unable to find are yellow bean sauce, fermented black beans and dofu.

The Tofu/Dofu thing is what cost the book that last star. In her recipes she works on the principle that everyone will already know how to use this ingredient properly, I have enjoyed it when used at Wagamama but have failed on every occasion to make the tofu recipes in this book taste anything but unpleasant. This is without any doubt due to my own skill but perhaps when this volume is reissued this would be a good place to revise.

I feel many of the posters dismissing this book are really being a bit silly, if you are a professional or highly accomplished cook then why on earth are you buying a book clearly aimed at amateurs? I know it is fun for elitists to bash something that is popular but the comments of dishes being bland or everything tasting the same are complete nonsense.

I also appreciate the subtle flavours used throughout this book which I think were sadly lost on some of the reviewers. Here are some of my favourites from the book:

Radish and Sesame Soy Noodle Salad
Zesty Chilli and Garlic Tiger Prawns
Sichuan Orange Beef
Dan Dan Noodles
Singapore style noodles
Spicy Tangy Chilli beef

I bought this book last year and have used it at least once a week since, consider this review 4.5 stars.

I look forward to her next book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2009
I bought this book a few months ago and have been cooking out of it ever since. What I love most about it has given me ways to cook dishes I probably never would have tried without these recipes. This book offers me the chance to cook with some of my favourite ingredients in fresh, easy and ultimately tasty ways!

It helps if you have access to a chinese supermarket for some of the ingredients but the author always offers an alternative so this is not exclusive cooking.

I read some of the reviews on here saying it was too simplistic - but for me that is sort of the point. I'm still slightly amazed that I can make left over rice so delicious by adding just 4 ingredients (see Beijing Rice); and I wouldn't necessarily have had the confidence to choose those combinations otherwise.

I have been cooking this food for my friends and all of them have commented on how good it is, so as I recommended this book to them, I'm recommending it to you. It's really brought an extra dimension to the often dull job of deciding what to have for dinner after a long day at work and it really has made me think twice about ordering takeaway when I know I can make something just as nice if not better!
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2008
I am of Chinese heritage and I can proudly recommend this book. It was about time someone came up with this book for those of us who grew up on Chinese cuisine but find the traditional recipes too difficult to tackle on a day to day basis. Ching's food is typical of home-cooked Chinese food, with exceptions, the recipes here are those you will not normally find on the menu of any Chinese restaurant because these are the recipes that are passed down from generations of home cooks. Some reviewers said the food was bland and I beg to differ. The combination of flavours and ingredients are subtle at times but in no way bland. People forget that when eating out in Asian restaurants, the food is richer because of all the additional flavourings (eg msg) and also because restaurant cooking involves specialist utensils (such as very high heat woks with swirling amounts of cooking oil !) and that's why it tastes different to home Chinese cooking. Most Chinese people don't eat those kind of food on a regular basis. Also, the British are too accustomed to letting spices and flavourings cover up less than good quality ingredients whereas in real Chinese cooking, the fresher your ingredients, the better the outcome of your dish. Ching's book embodies this principle by letting the ingredients speak for you rather than overwhelm, say a fresh fish, by lashings of flavours. I loved her steamed fish with beer ! Excellent and a recommended buy.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 25 September 2008
I entirely agree with the first reviewer, in that these recipes are among the tastiest food I've ever eaten - and I've been cooking for over 30 years, including Chinese food. The only criticism I would make is that in some places the text is somewhat light on detail. Anyone tackling the "Spicy dofu & edamame beans" needs to be aware that you will need a non-stick saucepan to fry the dofu. Since I cook with cast iron saucepans, and stainless steel is widely used, the injunction "careful not to break the bean curd" needs to be supported by this information. There are a number of other lacunae of this sort in the text which give rise to doubts and ambiguities regarding timing and technique. In case anyone thinks that this somewhat petty, I should note that I'm currently using these recipes four days out of seven. More importantly there will be those coming to this kind of cooking for the first time, so that a little extra detail would not go amiss.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 9 August 2008
I've been guilty of just slamming anything into the wok and see what it tastes like for quite some time so I thought I'd venture into asian cooking a little more.

First off, there are some tough ingredients to get (without substituting) but since they are used several times throughout it's easy enough to get them from a specialist online - I've used [...]

From a cooking point of view, it's dead easy compared to european cooking and often much healthier too. There are recipes to suit 2 and also a few for entertaining guest too so I might have some fun with some friends around soon.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2008
Growing up with a Chinese mother who cooks the best chinese, I have developed a very good palate. I consider myself a foodie and relish in cooking, but always go back to the basics, which is Chinese.

This book is an excellent source of inspiration for people who can cook and also easy enough for beginners. A review here said the food was bland and I beg to differ. Growing up in Hong Kong, the Chinese I know relied on the freshest ingredients to deliver the best flavours. Spices were used minimally. Only when you travel inland to Szechuan do you truly encounter the fiery stuff.

Ching has given us classic recipes and more modern westernised ones. She allows you to use your common sense, you are able to add more or less of what you like. She is playful, personal, light and very likeable.

I didn't give it full marks as I found it lacked in the dessert department. The Chinese do make wonderful desserts and are excellent bakers. Other than that, this cook book is highly recommended.
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