Gathers recipes using little or no fat without compromising flavor, including crabmeat dumplings, Kung Po beef, spring rolls, and fortune cookies.
List Price: $ 14.95
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Ying Compestine has written an excellent book. She correctly points out that traditional Chinese cooking is both healthy and tasty. (In sharp contrast to Americanized Chinese food, which is tasty but not so healthy!) In her book, she introduces us to this traditional cuisine, and gives us step-by-step instructions on how to prepare these dishes.
As you might expect with this type of book, Ying includes a host of useful tips on shopping and selecting the various ingredients. She offers a lot of insights, and does a good job of familiarizing us with the various ingredients needed. And the many instructional diagrams are well-drawn and very helpful.
Now for the important part: These dishes taste great! Ying is correct in her assertion that high fat content is not a requirement for good food. My wife & I, and our two toddlers, have thoroughly enjoyed every meal that we’ve made.
If the book could be improved in any way, it might be by the addition of some suggested meals, or serving combinations. We are still experimenting to see which dishes best compliment each other. A highly enjoyable task!
All in all, this book is highly recommended. We’ve purchased multiple copies as gifts for our friends and relatives. I’m really looking forward to her next book
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Okay…first the great stuff! While dieting, its hard to find many options at a chinese resturant besides steamed veggies and plain tofu without sauce and with a bit of rice (unless your low carbing..than you can forget the rice, even) This book has none of the typical sweet and sour heavy gloppy sauces and deep fried anything… And the food is better for it.
According to the author it is more *authentic* to the real cuisine and I can see that she is right. The recipes smack of healthful trasitional ethnic cuisine…with a bit less sodium and fat. In the beginning there are some general guidelines for reducing dietary fats as well as a glossary of asian ingredients…some familiar (green onions) some more esoteric (agar-agar)… and some helpful cooking hints.
The book is separated into chapters of soups, springrolls and dumplimgs, rice and noodles, tofu, veggies, meat, seafood, and desserts.
The soups that I have enjoyed from this book are the tofu spinich soup, the meatball spinch soup,and the chicken rice soup. All the soups were very low sodium, probably much lower than people are accustomed to. Adding a bit more might be necessary for some people.
The steamed shrimp dumplings are delicious! Sodium and fat on this is low as well but you are eating this with a dipping sauce of some kind so it is a highly flavored and delicious dish. The bai zai chicken is easy and wonderful and also makes a great wrap type sandwich. (plus you end up with a light stock after you have poached the chicken!) The steamed turkey cakes were a bit odd to me… I guess Im accustomed to a different texture on ground meat than steaming provides and I don’t especially like the smell of ground turkey. There is a shrimp cake recipe that reminds me of a bit of shrimp toast…( the delicious deep fried shrimp on white bread thing)…Its great when I want a good subsitute for that fatty appitizer.
there is a resourse list in the back of the book to locate hard to find items. But the pulication date is 1997 so its hard to know how current that is. There are however many sites on the internet for delivery of these kinds of items if the ones in the book do not work out.
My only problem with this book are design issues. It didnt lie all that flat and so after several uses on the same page, and trying to get it lie flat the binding has cracked on my favorite recipe pages. Im afraid soon the pages will be all over. The pages also arent able to be wiped of spills and are a bit thin, so you can see the type of the other pages thru them. You cant read it, its more of a shadow, but its distracting to me. I would prefer a bigger font on recipes that have more, rather than less ingredients..and some of these do. Im not sure I understand the logic for taking up half a page with a recipe and half with a large cartoon of walking vegetables when a larger font would have made it much easier to read.
But….as i have said…overall this book has more plusses than minuses. It suits many diets as well as just generally tasting very very good. The recipes are simple and dont require complex cooking techniques or a whole host of difficult ingredients sometimes needed for ethnic cooking.
I picked up this book a few months ago in Boulder, CO. I’ve been looking for a “traditional” rather than “trendy” cooking light “ethnic” foods book. All those “foofy” recipes out there stray far from their original origins. The recipes that I have tried (my favorite is the cold eggplant in garlic sauce) are quick & easy & taste great! My only suggestion is that there should be more color photos of the dishes would be nice to see within the book – but that’s just my personal preference.Lots of recipes to choose from.
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