This book is one of those few cookbooks that I took an immediate affinity to when I saw it at the bookshop. The pictures of the dishes, including those that explain the cooking process, are very helpful. In addition, I find the notes penned after most recipes to be interesting for the stories they tell, and invaluable for the tips they provide. I tried the Ma-Po's Bean Curd and The Royal Princess Chicken Wings, and was glad that the dishes turned out fine and were well received. I cooked them several times more subsequently, serving them at family gatherings and when I entertained friends. Each time, they were well commented on.Having a liking for Szechuan preserved vegetable, I invented a variation of the Ma-Po's Bean Curd dish. (Later, I discovered that Ken Lo has a similar idea in his "The Top One Hundred Chinese Dishes".) To cook it, use the given recipe EXCEPT to omit the soy sauce totally from Seasonings (2) as the vegetable is itself salty. Wash the preserved vegetable under running water. Soak in tap water for 5-10 mins if you want it less spicy. Cut into thin strips, about 2 tablespoons worth. Follow the first step under "Method". For the second step, do this instead: Heat the oil in a wok. Quickly stir-fry the ground pork with the preserved vegetable and seasonings (1) till the pork is well cooked. Follow the rest of the method. I have always used minced beef instead of pork, not only because it was the meat original used, but also for the different texture it provides in contrast to the soft bean curd.My only experience with the Kung-Pao Diced Chicken, which was from this book, was less successful due to two reasons. First, my frying pan got stuck with a layer of egg white and cornstarch when I tried to fry the diced chicken as indicated in Step 2. The correct way, I feel, should be to deep fry, not fry, the diced chicken just for a while. Second, the chicken skin should be removed. I do not see any chicken skin in the pictures, neither was there any, I noted, when I was served this dish subsequently at a restaurant during a Chinese wedding dinner. Rather than ½ a chicken as indicated, I would recommend two chicken breasts minus the skin.I hope to try the Ma-La-Tang (Hot and Spicy Dish), Tung-Po Golden Pork Feet and Chang-Cha Duck (Smoked Duck) soon.Meanwhile, you should buy this book. It will be worth your money, I am sure.
excellent and unique
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
The author, BRIAN P. KLINGBORG, has done an excellent job of selecting various recipes which capture the full flavor of Szechuan Cooking. A must for any serious cook that wants to add a little spice in their life
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