I have lived in china for a long time and absolutely love Sichuan food. this book is really great, the recipe are really easy to follow and taste amazing I recommend the Pork in lychee sauce with crispy rice. The great thing also are all the explanation about the origin of each dish and giving you all the base knowledge you need. Highly recommended if you are after trying real Chinese cuisine and if you can take the heat
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136 internautes sur 139 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The best Sichuan cookbook I've come across23 février 2006
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I was very surprised when I found this book in this library, because authentic Chinese cookbooks are difficult enough to find, and anything regional and non-Cantonese even rarer. I myself had never been to Sichuan, though my family did often dined at excellent Sichuan restaurants in Taiwan.
Before I proceed to the recipes, let me state that having read the book several times already (!), this is by far the best regional cookbook on Chinese cooking I've read in English. The author has a talent for combining the precise instruction needed for writing a cookbook and a poetic flair for capturing the local attitude to food. Knowing that most of her audience would likely be unfamiliar with daily life in Sichuan, often a mystery even to outside Chinese, she details the street life there. One of my favorite part is that consequently, her cooking is mostly based on home style and street food rather than haute banquet cuisine (though there are a few recipes of those too). I find this a prudent choice, as banquet food are almost always too elaborate for home cooks, and few things reflect regional cuisine as well as street food.
Most of the recipes are pretty straight forward, and addictively delicious. I've made some from the noodles section are my favorite, as I'm a big fan of snack food. Most of these food do not require more than a good cleaver, wok, and standard kitchen equipment to make. However, the Sichuan peppercorn is an absolute essential. Regarding to another review's warning, I believe the ban on fagara has been lifted, given that the pepper be subjected to high heat before import. Simple googling will turn up the sources.
Another caveat, though it's not the really the author's fault, is that there were surprisingly few vegetable dishes, and even fewer vegetarian. This may be surprisingly given that most of China subside on primarily vegetable-based diets. However, there are actually not that many famous Sichuan vegetarian dishes, probably because they are seen as peasant affair. For vegetarians, I'd recommend borrowing this from the library or friend and copying down the dozen or so relevant recipes (after reading the entire book of course).
Lastly, there are very few sweet dishes. This may bother some people, but sweets really are not part of daily traditional meals anyways, save for the complicated holiday specialities, so in a way I'm glad she left them out.
I really am glad this book come to being. I don't have much actual complaints except that I wish there were more pictures. There are some here but not many, and given the unfamiliarity of most people to these cuisine I think photos would help. But otherwise, a new favorite and a real standout.
92 internautes sur 95 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Made back the cost of the book in Kung Pao Chicken dinners5 novembre 2006
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There are no steamed dishes but mostly require wok frying so the recipes aren't the healthiest but they are not that oily either (two teaspoons of oil in the wok and one teaspoon of sesame oil in the sauce for the Kung POW!)
The layout of the book is encouraging and I had no problem reaching for it when I am at a loss over what to cook for dinner. Luckily I have chili peppers and sichuan peppercorn in my larder now so I am well-prepared to tackle these recipes which call for simple ingredients but the resulting flavors are complex and addictive. Once that ginger meets the sichuan pepper infused oil, one can taste the deliciousness of the dish by fragrance alone.
I also understand what Chinese takeout food is all about now. These flavors are crowd pleasers and an unskilled cook like myself enjoys a 100% pass rating from picky eaters when these dishes are served.
This is a perfect book and I laugh at Fuschia Dunlop's photo because I think her smile is like my inner smile when I see or think of something good to eat. My only regret with the layout is that the order of the ingredients for the marinade and the sauce are not in the same order so that if I need cornstarch in both liquids, I can use one measuring spoon for two ramekins.
Because of this book, I purchased sichuan peppercorns, my first ever pricey knife, a Krups coffee grinder, more sesame oil, two bottles of Jonesy port and more cutting boards. The lip smacking flavors of Sichuanese cuisine are that motivating.
64 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Astoundingly good cookbook5 janvier 2005
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The mark of a good cookbook is that it get used a lot, and in just a few months my copy of Land of Plenty has acquired a variety of drips, splotches, and stains from its very frequent trips into my kitchen.
I was fortunate enough to spend several weeks in Chengdu and Chongqing a few years ago, and the recipes in this book do a fantastic job of recreating the smells and flavors I remember from my trip. Literally every single recipe I've tried from this book has been a winner, and the Gong Bao Ji Ding (Kung Pao Chicken) has become a weekly standard around our place. My girlfriend, a native Chinese, has repeatedly commented that the flavors of these recipes taste authentic to her memories of eating at Sichuanese restaurants in China.
As previous reviewers noted, Sichuan peppercorns, which are a key flavoring ingredient in some of these dishes, are indeed slowly making a comeback in the US. However, they still seem to be very hard to find outside of major Chinatowns like NYC and San Francisco. I eventually found a few Internet sources, such as the CMC Company, and was able to purchase them that way (and it was well worth it).
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
An excellent book on cooking and culture.12 mai 2007
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This is an extremely well written book, with careful instructions for making classic Sichuan dishes. Much restaurant and cookbook Chinese cookery of Britain and the USA is Cantonese, with some Peking style and Shanghai variations. The "Szechuan" or "Sichuan" style in most restaurants, without an authentic Sichuanese trained chef, is "watered down" Sichuan or a "hot" Cantonese variant, turning people off to a cuisine they have truly never tried.
My Chinese chef-friend from Chengdu, Capital of Sichuan Province, has looked this book over, cooked several dishes from it for us, and proclaimed it "very very good". I've eaten in Chengdu, and also greatly appreciate the taste of native Sichuan cookery.
For example, "Pork slices with black cloud fungus", a fairly quick and simple stir fry, was the real thing, just as my friend had back in Chengdu. Rehydrate the dried fungus to be moist and still be a touch crunchy, and do not overcook it, or it loses this necessary mild crunchy texture. Feeling a little peckish? Try also Sweet and sour pork, Boiled beef slices in a fiery sauce, Pock marked(Old woman's) Mother Chen's beancurd, hotpot broth (for dipping varied foods), and spicy braised fish with whole garlic. Yum!
Need to learn what true cooking should taste like before cooking on your own? Compare your cookery with kitchens such as Bar Shu, the Sichuan restaurant in London under Miss Dunlop's supervision; some other Sichuan places in England are London's Sichuan Restaurant, and Red Chilli in Manchester.
My friend and my only small complaint/suggestion is that as good as the color photos are, there is a great need to have photos of much more of the dishes in a next edition. (Photos of eight or more dishes can fit on one side of a page, to save costs, and increase variety.) Note, pictures of some dishes can sometimes be found by Googling.
Sichuan peppercorn has been available again in the USA since 2005 at several internet pepper suppliers... it's a truly necessary ingredient for the "numbing" spice's contibution to quite a few authentic dishes. They are dark red, with the inner gritty black seeds removed. Chew one, if it doesn't have a tingling and somewhat numbing sensation on your tongue and lips within a minute, then get a fresher batch elsewhere! Supplies for the other staples can be found at Chinese/Asian suppply stores in larger cities, or from internet suppliers.
Note: Fuchsia Dunlop's cookbook, "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province", is also a very good book; I tend to prefer this one.
27 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Close.16 mars 2010
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I should preface this review by saying that there really is a lot to like about this book. The author has a warm, friendly voice, and the recipes, which are quite varied and span a large range of flavors despite being all primarily Sichuan in origin, have appetite appeal right off the bat. I enjoy Sichuan food, having discovered it through a childhood neighbor from Sichuan province. When I went away to college, she gave me as a parting gift another book on Sichuan food, Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook by Ellen Schrecker. This was before Land of Plenty and was probably the only Sichuan cookbook widely in circulation at the time. I've used it successfully for years.
But, when Land of Plenty came out, surrounded by positive buzz, I didn't want to be behind the times. I immediately rushed out to get it and started cooking from it with fervor, trying out Dunlop's versions of the same foods I used to make from Schrecker's. Now, I do want to keep this review as untainted as possible by my love for the other book, but I just couldn't help but compare the two. And, in my opinion, Land of Plenty is clearly the inferior book.
There are a few reasons why I believe this to be so. First of all, Dunlop's recipes are a bit simplified from their original versions. Not westernized, but a few differences here and there which might not matter to non-Chinese cooks but would be noticeable to a Sichuan person. One example would be Dunlop's recipe for Gong Bao Chicken (one of the few recipes that are superior in this book to Mrs. Chiang's version), using roasted peanuts instead of raw peanuts which are deep fried yourself. Does it really matter in the end? Maybe not, but a Sichuan cook is going to deep fry their peanuts.
Another problematic recipe I can think of having tried recently is for hot and sour soup. Dunlop omits some ingredients that should really be there, like wood ear mushrooms, tofu, and golden needles. Also, strangely, I had a bit of trouble with the green onions. The soup would have to be about boiling to cook them to a point where they didn't clash severely with the other flavors of the soup, but that would have killed most of the vinegar, which is instructed to be added before pouring it over the green onions. Just a curiosity. These recipes are for dishes with which most people have some familiarity, which is why I highlight them, but these small kinks are present throughout, and often times I find myself consulting my older Sichuan cookbook for a second opinion. If you are really into Sichuan food, the two books together will give you all the information you need, as one will have things the other doesn't. But I wouldn't exactly recommend using Land of Plenty by itself to a perfectionist of methodology and authenticity. It comes very close to being the complete authority on Sichuan food, but just doesn't quite cross over. I waver between three and four stars, but I'll round up for the helpful Chinese glossary, basic explanation of flavors and methods, and appetizing, inspiring color pictures.