Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What We're Cooking Now: Simple Chinese Meals

Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop (641.5159 DUNLOP)
While the comforts and flavors of Chinese cuisine are incredibly satisfying, most recipes for my favorite dishes intimidate me too much to try them out in my own wok.  However, this cookbook from food writer and chef Fuchsia Dunlop makes cooking simple Chinese dishes at home easy and accessible.

The recipes are straightforward and allow for much flexibility.  While there are several seafood and meat dishes throughout, most of her recipes can easily be adapted to be vegan, and vegetables are the predominant stars of the book.

The recipes are only half of why I loved this cookbook, the other reason is because it is an excellent reference for the ingredients and techniques involved in Chinese cuisine.  Dunlop spends time explaining the proper way to season a wok, chop green onions, and perfectly stir-fry vegetables.  She includes very helpful glossaries with full size color photos explaining various kinds of tofu, vegetables, sauces, spices, noodles and grains. 

Among the dishes I loved were:

  • Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce
  • Stir-Fried Tofu with Black Bean and Chili
  • Bear's Paw Tofu
  • Beef with Cumin
  • Gong Bao Chicken with Peanuts
  • Everyday Stir-fried Chicken
  • Sichuanese "Send-the-Rice-Down" Chopped Celery with Ground Beef
Dunlop's Sichuan celery recipe (listed above) is by far the best use of leftover celery I have ever seen, and it has quickly become a staple in my home as a fast and healthy weeknight dinner.

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