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Aug 15, 2006 09:00 PM

Suggestions on great Chinese cookbooks?

I've been making a lot of stir-fry recently, and I'm looking for really good stir-fry brown sauce recipes that are not too salty.

I own one Chinese cookbook. It seems to be geared for the average American who doesn't mind using ketchup and whatever supermarket brand of soy sauce is on sale.

I'm looking for a cookbook that produces extraordinary Chinese dishes, even if I have to spend extra time making a brown sauce base from beef bones. The more detail, the better. I would really love to master the art of Chinese cooking, at least for a few dishes that I could make on a regular basis, so any cookbook that could help me on this quest would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop
    Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo, this is good if you are not real familiar with Chinese cooking. The first half of the book teaches technique the second has recipes whic build on the techniques.

    Almost any book by Eileen Yin Fei Lo, Mai Leung, or Ken Hom. Another good book to have is Corinne Trang's Essentials of Asian Cooking. It is a great read and I like how she will start with a dish, say spring rolls and explores how the differing Asian regions and countries prepare the dish.

    1. The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp. Great on technique and philosophy, tons of recipes. A great, great cookbook.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Tom M of Durham NC

        I had all of the Tropp books and donated them. I used them numerous times and found them tedious, especially the China Moon book.

        I should have added above to go to your library and check out any suggested that you can find and sit down and read them and see which suits your style. I have gotten much better about that in recent years and and have become moe discriminating in what I buy anymore. I had heard so many good things about the newest Susannah Foo book and borrowed it, it was too showedly restauranty (yeah 2 made up words). It might read pretty but my reaction to it was get real, almost no home cook is going to tackle much of this. I have been cooking Chinese and Vietnamese for quite awhile and am very comfortable with it so it was not a novice'sreaction to that book either.

        1. re: Tom M of Durham NC

          Since the OP wants "more details the better" _ I have to totally agree with you about Barbara Tropp's The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking. The length of the recipes can look daunting but if you're the type that wants details she's your author. The results are good and you'll get a good dose of background as well. Sorry but this was supposed to go with the post above yours. Tried to move it but no luck.

        2. I agree with the previous posts. I think two of the best book on Chinese cooking is Irene Kuo's The Key To Chinese Cooking and Barbara Tropp's The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking. Both are 'textbooks' on Chinese cooking, similar to Julia Child's Mastering Art and Marcella Hazan's The Classic Italian Cookbook. There is a lot of text on background and techniques as well as a large selection of classic recipes. If one just like to jump into cooking, several of Ken Hom's book are good (skip his fusion stuff). And Martin Yan's recipes always work although he takes some liberty on authenticity.

          1. I heartily agree with the reccomendation of Barbara Tropp's Modern Art of Chinese Cooking and the Irene Kuo book. True that Tropp's China Moon book wasn't as good, but Modern Art is great and impeccably thorough, the Beef with Silky Leeks (is that the name?) is a favourite. Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty (Sichuan Cookery) is also a great book, good recipes for Gong Bao and Ma Po Do Fu as well as Red-oil Won Tons.

            1. I've also had a lot of luck cooking out of Yan-Kit's Classic Chinese Cooking--sweet corn soup, hot and sour soup, steampot chicken, chicken glazed in hoisin sauce, twice-cooked pork, etc. etc. Also, whenever I have or remember a dish I had at a Chinese restaurant that I want to reproduce, I've found that I can usually find a decent version of the dish in either The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller or The Chinese Cookbook by Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee.
              I agree with those who don't like China Moon nearly as much as Modern Art. I haven't cooked out of the former in 20 years. I remember it being overly fussy, the dishes often too busy. But again, it's been a long time--I should probably pull that one down and give it another try.