7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Learning to cook chinese but not the easiest book to use,
This review is from: Complete Chinese Cookbook (Hardcover)
I was looking for a general book from which to learn how to cook everyday Chinese food (had already worked out from various recipes how to do a mean crispy duck) so wanted a good general book. Having looked at various of the popular authors this one seemed to fit the bill.
It does provide a good array of recipes and a very useful review of ingredients and techniques at the beginning. I have enjoyed cooking from it and it seems to taste like chinese food, even to my friends who know China quite well.
My main concerns with it are that the recipes themselves are not well structured - just a stream of instructions - when I have been able to break them down into rather simpler steps, and identify where I can prepare in advance and then quickly cook at the end - combining say blanced or marinated meat, prepared vegetsables and a sauce mixed from ingredients rather than just doing a list of 20 ingredients at once. So many of the recipes have duplicate paragraphs on having a hot wok etc, that it gets a bit repetitive.
Still, it has done what I wanted and the recipes mostly seem to work and taste good ( I am having no success in coating sweet and sour meat in cornflour batter before cooking but am happy without the batter anyway). But it rankles that I am more or less re-writing the recipes to make them more cookable. (If you don't know what a good 'cookable' book looks like, read Raymond Blanc's "Cooking for Friends" that breaks even his complex dishes down into a clear and well organised process of cooking).
So a four - I like the book, but it could be a much better "how to cook Chinese food" book.