DIY Chinese food

I recently discovered and fell in love with a book that makes do-it-yourself Chinese food fun and, more important, easy. In the past I have always avoided making my own Chinese food because the required ingredients and cooking techniques were so foreign to me and so many of the essential ingredients are rarely on hand. Fortunately, I have overcome my fear of cooking Chinese cuisine and with the aid of Bee Yinn Low’s “Easy Chinese Recipes: Family Favorites form Dim Sum to Kung Pao,” I have made several spectacularly delicious meals.

One aspect of Ms. Lee’s book that I found to be incredibly valuable was her breakdown of Chinese cooking techniques, tips, tools, utensils and ingredients. Ever wonder how they get the chicken so tender in your favorite chicken dish or how to season a wok? Maybe you need a little guidance in stocking your pantry with the necessary ingredients? It is all spelled out for you here with descriptions and a plethora of pictures of the required spices, sauces, vinegar, vegetables, noodles, and wrappers.  

Another section of the book is a collection of basic, versatile recipes needed in order complete recipes later in the book. This section lays out the basics of preparing steamed rice, different oils, sauces, and even a recipe for homemade dumpling wrappers, which offers step-by-step pictures along with the written instructions. Included in these basic recipes are my two favorites, which are sweet-and-sour sauce and Chinese BBQ sauce, both of which are fantastic and easy.

The book is then divided into chapters by course including appetizers, soups, dim sum and dumplings, beef and pork, poultry, seafood, desserts, and more. My most recent meal made from this book was the Mongolian beef, which was not only tender and mouthwateringly good, but it tasted just like our favorite dish from our local Chinese restaurant — maybe even better. I have also made the honey walnut shrimp, which was surprisingly simple and tasted divine.

Next time you are feeling brave, instead of ordering Chinese take-out, take a stab at making your favorite Chinese dish in the comfort of your own home using Bee Yinn Low’s “Easy Chinese Recipes: Family Favorites form Dim Sum to Kung Pao” as a guide. You might even be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  We also have several other Chinese food cookbooks which you might find enticing and they are only a click away.

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