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The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Techniques and Recipes

The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Techniques and Recipes


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There are many fine books on Chinese cooking. Among them, Barbara Tropp's the Modern Art of Chinese Cooking stands out for its grounding in the underlying philosophy of this sophisticated cuisine. Tropp explores the yin and yang, the harmony of opposites underlying all aspects of Chinese life. Relating them particularly to cooking, she illustrates how seasoning with both chiles and sugar gives a dish fullness of flavor that is more than just hot and sweet. The author gives much attention to equipment and techniques--this is an in-depth manual as well a recipe book. Ever practical, she is not too shy to advise readers about using a Western-style skillet for stir frying, along with advice on using woks, cleavers, and steamers. The recipe section opens with assorted nibbles. Dishes range from spicy Szechuan Ma-La Cold Chicken to Rice-Coated Pork Pearl Balls, ideal for serving at parties. There are red-cooked stewed meats and juicy Pot Sticker Dumplings. Recipes are as simple as Spinach Stir-Fried with Garlic and Salt, and as complex as Pressed Birthday Duck, which takes up to four days to make and involves three cooking techniques. The dishes come from various regions of China, with an emphasis on those with bold flavors. Tropp adds technique notes to her already detailed instructions, and even recommends what serving dishes to use, whether to heat them, and the best wines to accompany dishes. Ultimately, the wealth of information, Tropp's charming voice, and the creative touches she adds in crunchy Cinnamon Bark Chicken, Ginger-Infused Crème Caramel and other recipes make Barbara Tropp's The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking a necessary book for anyone serious about Chinese food. --Dana Jacobi

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Really great Chinese cookbook that has detailed explanations.

Barbara Tropp lived in Taiwan, where she ate and learned all about real Chinese food. Yes, real Chinese food is time consuming. Today there are shortcuts, and some shortcuts work better than others. Mom used to spend about 6 hours a day cooking (this is considered normal in Chinese families). To spend time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious balanced family meals is no small task. Needless to say, I grew up on real Chinese food. I didn't get a chance to learn all of Mom's cooking before she moved on, and this book managed to fill in the gaps. Barbara's explanations are great because she starts from the point of view of a beginner, explaining everything in detail. I really like that. It is those tips (usually considered to be common knowledge, and therefore skipped by many cookbooks) that makes the difference. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I find that many people today don't want to spend time to prepare meals that have nutrition. And Americans don't spend enough time eating at the dinner table. Some American friends I know spend only 15-20 minutes eating dinner, just chowing down, not appreciating the food. Real food takes time to prepare from scratch. I personally believe that real food made from scratch is nourishing, the way God intended for us to eat. We are meant to enjoy our food - eating with pleasure and relish, that's the way God intended for us. If we are meant to eat just for nutrition, why do we have taste buds and different tastes? There's no point in that if we are not meant to enjoy food. And if God meant for us to enjoy what we eat, we should spend at least 40-50 minutes per meal eating. It takes that long to thoroughly chew our food, tasting each bite, and enjoy. It is the enjoyment, appreciation, and thoroughly chewing, that we get the maximum nutrition out of our meals. Most food (packaged, bottled, even frozen) have so much sodium benzoate, preservatives, MSG, E221 (sodium sulphites), these are all chemicals put into the food to prolong shelf life (this is a strict mandate from the FDA - foods packaged must have preservatives). Even fresh meats that are not locally produced must have preservatives in them in order to be shipped out of state. Our population is getting sicker and sicker from all these chemicals (and creating havoc with our medical system). So eat real food. Spend time preparing, eating. For those people who don't care about eating, don't pay any attention to this review.

Taught me basic Chinese cooking technique

I wanted one Chinese cookbook that would teach me all the basics of cooking. This is it! (And I'm still learning.) Ok, it's very time consuming. But it's worth it! I've even learned little hints that have helped me in all of my cooking! For instance, now I can bread and lightly fry or bake any item without it falling apart!

Oh, the modern art of eating a tasty dumpling!

This book has transformed the way I eat dumplings. Extensive tidbits of personal preferences, stories, myths and taboos to enlighten the palate beyond just the food. Each recipe is explained extremely well, step-by-step. Further, her anecdotes about living in Taiwan are interesting and help fuel your personal cooking. To fully appreciate the meals of this books, reading the first few chapters on equipment are invaluable! Her cleaver section is dynamite! I left the purchasing of a variety of cleavers to her, and just bought the one general cleaver she recommended! What a change it has made in my kitchen! Following her techniques and recommended equipment has made my Chinese cooking from an all day affair to a short, well orchestrated event. 5-stars because of the personal insight for each section and each recipe; excellent writing and editing; superb recipes (oh, the pork hunan dumplings are divine-especially when made into pot-stickers); easy to follow illustrations that are not complex or childish; and most of all-PRICE! Excellent value for the money!

More art than modern, more classic than China Moon.

I learned to cook from this book, and not just Chinese. Partly it's that Tropp shakes convention: I threw my wok away, learned to season fried rice with kosher salt instead of soy sauce, discovered that I didn't have to peel ginger. Partly it is that she works harder to make it easier for you to do the right things, and to understand what makes them right. And, of course, it's also because the results are just so damn good. Also, note that the emphasis here is on simple and hearty, not the nouvelle cuisine of her China Moon book and restaurant. And I did make the pilgrimage to her restaurant, but her best dishes are the ones that come out of my kitchen.

Authorative Authentic Chinese Cooking---In English!

As a Canadian of Asian descent, I grew up eating authentic Chinese food, even though I cannot read Chinese. I don't like my Chinese food "Westernized". Authentic Chinese food is my goal when cooking at home. THIS BOOK IS A GOD-SEND! It explains in fascinating detail the tools, techniques and very importantly, the INGREDIENTS used in Chinese cooking. The recipes include Ms. Tropp's own personal observations and many recipes have interesting stories attached. This makes the book very fun to read (although colour photos would make it even more fun). I am particularly impressed by Ms. Tropp's attention to detail and authenticity. When she does modify a recipe she clearly indicates this. This is definitely the best Chinese cookbook I've seen and I recommend it heartily. As a side note, I did not fully understand the movie, _Eat Drink Man Woman_ until I read Barbara Tropp's book. See the movie, then read the book! :-)

Edition Details

Publisher:William Morrow Cookbooks
Lowest Price:$4.72
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