The second book from Tuttle that I’m reviewing this month is Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yinn Low. Low writes the wildly successful Rasa Malaysia blog, and the cookbook is a fantastic introduction to Chinese cooking. The large format of the book (9″ X 11″) allows for lots of step-by-step photographs, which is always helpful when learning a new cuisine.
Layout and design:
Low includes an introduction about her upbringing as a Chinese-Malaysian, watching her mother cook but not actually being allowed to do anything but help with prep, which meant she actually was a terrible cook when she had her first dinner party. She covers basic cooking techniques and tips (including tips I have never seen before), tools and utensils, and a section on Chinese ingredients I found illuminating. The recipes are presented in nine chapters: The Basics, Appetizers, Soups, Dim Sum & Dumplings, Beef & Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Vegetables Tofu & Eggs, Noodles & Rice, Desserts and Drinks.
The photography is lovely, and the step-by-step photographs are especially helpful.
You’ll find dishes popular on Chinese restaurant menus, such as egg rolls, egg drop soup, pot stickers, and Mongolian beef. You’ll also find interesting recipes like green onion pancakes, sweet corn and chicken soup, baked BBQ pork puffs, and black bean sauce clams.
What I liked about this book:
Low writes in an unpretentious, accessible style, and her friendly instructions give me confidence that I can make these recipes. The photography is appealing, and the wide variety of dishes would keep me cooking for weeks or months.
I wasn’t so keen on:
There is no nutritional analysis or coding of recipes, so you’d need to be very knowledgable if you have any dietary restrictions as I do.
People looking to learn how to cook Chinese food, Asian food fans, families
Not recommended for:
Migraine sufferers, low-sodium diets, vegans, vegetarians (most recipes include meat, eggs, or seafood), gluten-free eaters
A note about my cookbook reviews: In the past, I tested at least three recipes from each book. Due to my dietary limitations (extremely-low-sodium for my Meniere’s Disease and trigger-free foods for migraine relief), it is no longer possible for me to test the recipes and do them justice.