9781856264174 / 1856264173

The Chinese Kitchen: A Sourcebook of Ingredients and How to Use Them


Publisher:Kyle Cathie



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About the book:

The Chinese Kitchen is a magnificent book, like no other on Chinese food. The sheer range of substances--animal, vegetable and occasionally mineral-- that are incorporated into Chinese cooking can be daunting to the Western cook. The underlying philosophy, too, can be elusive. In this engrossing volume, Deh-Ta Hsiung has compiled a survey of the principal characteristic ingredients of this great cuisine, in all its regional variants. This is really an encyclopaedia of Chinese food, a magisterial study of 100 key foodstuffs and their place not so much in cooking as in Chinese life and culture as a whole. Beginning with fan, the rice or wheaten flour breads, noodles and dumplings that form the starch staple, and moving through the main food categories, Deh-Ta Hsiung gives an account of the item's history, varieties, means of production, appearance and taste. He offers invaluable advice on buying and storage, on its role in Chinese and western medicine and health, and, most importantly, outlines its culinary uses. Among the most difficult to assimilate into any Western notions are the "texture" foods: largely tasteless, gelatinous substances such as bird's nest, shark's fin and sea cucumber, these include some of the most sought-after delicacies and can command extraordinary prices. The Chinese Kitchen gives the clearest possible explanation of why these foods are so prized. Some 200 recipes, many of them classics, adorn the book, illuminating the character and versatility of the ingredients. This is a most exciting volume, at once a reference work that deserves to become a standard and an introduction to the intricacies of Chinese food and cooking. --Robin Davidson

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