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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!!
33 comments|264 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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on 7 September 2008
I always thought that chinese food would be difficult to make, but this book proved me wrong as these recipies are easy and quick and also the best chinese food i have ever had. After buying this book, you will never want takeaway again when it is so much better to make it yourself. It is also good that Ching explains that history behind some of the dishes and also gives valuable information in the back for people who are not acquainted with chinese cooking or ingridents. The only problem is that some of the ingridents are not avaliale in most supermarkets such as wonton wrappers, however that does not change the fact that this book is great and also a must have for any cook.
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VINE VOICEon 9 December 2009
I bought this book having seen the TV series and after reading other reviews on Amazon. The only Chinese cookery book I own is by Ken Hom and I must admit I haven't cooked much from it - it seems so much easier to buy a ready mixed blend from the supermarket. However, these bought sauces have recently, for me, begun to taste all the same and I wanted to try cooking from scratch.

In that regard, most of Ching's recipes are a delight, all my Chinese favourites are here and have been pared down to make them easy to cook at home (without monosodium glutamate, colouring, etc.).

The only gripe I have is that some of the ingredients are not easy to find in a small mining town...... a specialist Chinese supermarket is at least 14 miles away from me....... so some noodles, dried ingredients and particular wines and vinegars are probably going to be substituted with plain egg noodles, fresh mushrooms, dry sherry and balsamic! (To be fair, Ching does recommend these as alternatives in some of her recipes).

All in all, I like Ching and her recipes very much and will be cooking from this book more often (sorry Ken).
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