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Mar 6, 2007 03:57 AM

Chinese Cookbooks?

We have a large wok and cook lots of "chinese italian"dishes - vegetables with various pastas. For flavoring, have not gone much beyond fish and soy sauces, the nice pastes from Thai Kitchen and, in season, fresh herbs from our garden. We have an excellent Asian market in town and are looking to get more authentic, with an emphasis on vegetarian dishes. We own dozens and dozens of excellent cookbooks but none Chinese. Suggestions anyone?

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  1. If you're into spicy Chinese food, i.e., Sichuan or Hunan, I'd highly recommend Fuchsia Dunlop's books, Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking and her newest book, Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province.

    The recipes are well written and straightforward, and those that I've tried so far have been delicious, bursting with flavour.

    1. To get you started I'd look for a copy of The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo. The book is in 2 parts. At the beginning she teaches you different techniques with recipes and very detailed instruction. The second part of the book is building on what you learned in the first part. It is out of print but I'm sure you can find one. Great for beginners.

      1. There have been A LOT of threads on the best chinese cookbooks in the recent past. Here are links to a few to get you started.

        Meanwhile, I'll second the recommendation for Irene Kuo -- this is a great book.

        1. I like the Wei-Chuan series. Wei-Chuan is a food company in Taiwan. They sell these books via Amazon too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: vliang

            I second the Wei-Chuan series, specifically the "Chinese Cooking Made Easy" blue book. No non-sense and down home cooking, a good reference when you have an idea but don't remember every detail.

            "China:The Beautiful Cookbook" has some really beautiful pics in it. I have a mental block trying the recipes in that book, part of it is that the book is so big. Some of the recipes I don't think I'd ever try because it calls for some ingredients that are hard to find. But it's a good resource if you ever felt inclined to make something really nice. I really need to go through that book more often because it does have some quality recipes.

            Charmaine Solomon's "The Complete Asian Cookbook" is my least favorite cookbook. She uses a very strange romanization of dish names in Cantonese I think and this just doesn't work for me at all. Unless you read the recipe, you don't realize it's something you know because the recipe name is so jacked up. The index is a nightmare. I haven't used too many recipes from this book because it pisses me off. And I get a slight feeling that she is omitting some details in the instructions.

          2. Many thanks for the ideas - before buying ANOTHER cookbook I will take several of these out of the local library. After checking out the reviews of her books on Amazon, I wonder why we have never heard of Fuchsia Dunlop. Guess our foodie cred is apparently deficient!

            1 Reply
            1. re: balwink

              She is a British author. Her books are only recently being published in the US. I bought my first Dunlop last summer, Land of Plenty. Can't have too many cookbooks.