In honor of our Books, Spice, and Everything Nice theme (and spice club!), we’ll be doing a monthly round-up of our cookbooks. We have a really nice and extensive collection, but it’s easy to get lost in the sheer number of them. Hopefully these posts help! In honor of our February spice ginger and the fact that Chinese New Year was last week, we’ll be focusing on Chinese cookbooks this month.
Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking (2007)
Australian-Chinese chef and restaurateur Kylie Kwong knows that Chinese cuisine can intimidate the uninitiated, so she seeks to highlight simple techniques to help home cooks understand all aspects of cooking Chinese food, from recipes to menu planning to drink pairings to technique explanations. Once you’ve got the techniques down pat, you can apply them to a wide range of dishes! The book profiles soups, main dishes, egg dishes, sides, salads, and more.
Rose Cheng’s Chinese Cookery (1981)
In the 1980s, Rose Cheng’s cookbook was the go-to for many folks who wanted to try Chinese cooking at home. It’s a classic cookbook for a reason! Chinese Cookery profiles some of the major regional cuisines of China (including Cantonese and Szechuan), provides a wide range of authentic recipes for all courses, and includes suggested menus. An experienced cooking instructor, Cheng also provides lots of great ingredients, equipment, and technique tips.
Jillian Stewart’s The Complete Chinese Cookbook (1993)
If you’re looking for a quick and easy guide to basic Chinese cooking, this book might be exactly what you need. It features dozens of fully illustrated, straightforward recipes and even includes a chapter on microwave cooking for when you’re having one of those days.
Sunset Wok Cook Book (1989)
If you’ve got a wok and don’t know what to do with it, try this one. It’s all about how to use a wok, broken into sections on stir-frying, deep frying, steaming. There are also tips on wok use throughout. Though there are a lot of Chinese-style recipes, it also features wok recipes that are decidedly not, like fajitas.
Jet Tila’s 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die (2017)
Technically, this one is more pan-Asian in focus than the other cookbooks being featured, but Tila–who is of Chinese Thai descent–provides a really nice collection of traditional recipes with modern twists from across Asia, including China, in this book. He covers everything from noodle dishes to sushi to dumplings to dessert in a practical, easy-to-follow format. He also has a special section on making your own sauces, including hot, teriyaki, and dipping sauces.
Diane Kuan’s The Chinese Takeout Cookbook (2012)
I’m sure this isn’t news to most people, but the Chinese food most Americans think of as Chinese courtesy of the Chinese restaurant buffets we know is often quite different from what you’d actually eat in China. But that doesn’t make it any less tasty! If you’re interested in learning how to whip up your own egg rolls, lo mein, and kung pao chicken like you eat at your favorite Chinese American restaurant, this cookbook is for you!
Terry Tan’s China: A Cookbook: 300 Recipes from Beijing and Canton to Shanghai and Sichuan (2019)
Quite a few of the cookbooks listed here do provide recipes from across China, but this is the only one that specifically focuses on exploring the different regions. China is a massive country with a diverse range of regional cuisines, and Tan’s book provides recipes for both classic favorites (like Beijing duck) and dishes less familiar to Western readers. The book also provides a nice look at dim sum and street food.
What’s your favorite Chinese dish? What are you cooking in February? What’s your favorite Chinese cookbook? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.