Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen features family-style Chinese-American dishes adapted for the home cook. Katie’s mother, Leeann Chin, passed away in 2010. To help preserve her mother’s memory, Katie created this book to share both family favorites and recipes she developed using her mother as inspiration. You will find classics (Kung Pao Chicken, Mapo Tofu, Pineapple Fried Rice, Chicken Egg Rolls, and Egg Drop Soup) alongside more unique and modern recipes (Farmer’s Market Fried Brown Rice, Chocolate-Raspberry Wontons, Hong Kong Steak, Braided Fish Steamed with Ginger and Green Onions, Quinoa Fried Rice, and Edamame Hummus). The expected release date is on April 26, 2016.
Katie Chin was born in Minneapolis and started cooking with her mother, Canton-born restauranteur Leeann Chin, at an early age. She put cooking on the back-burner to focus on her career, but rediscovered her passion with her mother’s guidance. They soon developed a Chinese cookbook, Everyday Chinese Cooking, together followed by a catering business and multiple television appearances (PBS Chinese cooking series- Double Happiness; the Food Network special My Country, My Kitchen; and the Today show). Katie continues to share her love of cooking as a food writer, blogger (The Sweet and Sour Chronicles), private chef, and culinary consultant. She has also been featured on Glamour, Family Circle, Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Self Magazine, Angeleno Magazine, Hampton Magazine, Elle Magazine, Daily Candy, Daily Variety, Real Simple and The Los Angeles Times. Katie’s other cookbooks include 300 Best Rice Cooker Recipes and Everyday Thai Cooking.
Chapters are divided based on course: Sauces; Starters and Dim Sum; Salads; Soups; Poultry; Beef, Pork and Lamb; Seafood; Vegetables and Tofu; Noodles and Rice; and Drinks and Desserts.
Those new to Chinese-style cooking will appreciate the guide to Chinese ingredients, tools, utensils, and appliances with photos, descriptions, and substitutions if available. Basic cooking techniques are included with wok care, stir-frying, using rice, deep-frying, steaming, and working with shrimp. There is also a resource section for purchasing Chinese food, products, tableware, and other cookbooks online.
Katie’s heart and soul shines through with the inclusion of family photos and memories. I personally love the historical notes and information on the development of dishes as they became Americanized. Every recipe includes a headnote with background information, family memories, and tips. The listing of serving sizes and preparation/cooking times are particularly helpful. The names of the dishes are written in English. You will also find recipes for sauces, condiments, and basic stocks.
The photography is provided by Masano Kawana with food styling by Toshiko Kawana. Over 150 color photos, many full page, accompany most of the recipes. A few of the more complicated dishes such as the Braided Fish, dumplings, and wraps have step-by-step photos as well.
This book is a great pick for those wanting to make new and classic Chinese-American dishes at home. Many of the recipes are easy to prepare with a minimal amount of time and effort. Instructions are clear and well-written for those unfamiliar with the various techniques. Most of the dishes use ingredients that can be found in larger grocery stores, but a few may require a trip to an Asian food market featuring Chinese products (including Chinese rice wine, dark soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, Asian pears, hoisin sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, and plum sauce).
Baby Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic is an incredibly easy, yet flavorful side dish. Heads of baby bok choy are quickly stir-fried with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. The whole process from prep to on the table took less than 10 minutes. I was wonderfully surprised with even my barely one year old daughter couldn’t get enough.
If your grocery store doesn’t carry baby bok choy, they can be found in the produce section of most Asian food markets.
I also made Vegetable, Egg and Ramen Soup; Cashew Chicken; Shrimp with Garlic Noodles; and Five-Spice Chocolate Cake.
The Vegetable, Egg and Ramen Soup is a hearty weeknight soup packed with noodles, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, green onion, and eggs. The light broth was wonderfully seasoned and the perfect backdrop for the vegetables. It was a huge hit for the whole family.
The Cantonese Cashew Chicken is featured on the cover of the book. This is another easy recipe perfect for weeknight cooking. No long marinating time or prep work needed. The chicken is lightly coated in a cornstarch mixture, then stir-fried with garlic, ginger, onion, bell pepper, and cashews. It is cooked in a chicken stock sauce mixture and served with rice.
Shrimp with Garlic Noodles stood out as quite the interesting dish. It also happened to be my husband’s favorite. Chinese egg noodles are cooked, then stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, and Parmesan cheese. That’s right: Parmesan cheese. Katie and her mother were inspired by a garlic noodle dish and made a tasty fusion by adding the cheese to the traditional Chinese ingredients. It definitely works. The noodles are topped with stir-fried shrimp.
While desserts aren’t a traditional staple in China, Katie and her mother created sweets with Chinese flavors during the course of their catering career. In this section, you will find a variety of delicious endings to the meal such as Banana Spring Rolls with Chocolate-Ginger Sauce and Chocolate-Raspberry Wontons. I focused on the Five-Spice Chocolate Cake. Katie was provided this recipe by her pastry chef friend, Theresa. This rich, chocolate cake is flavored with coffee, buttermilk, and the interesting five-spice powder. It is best paired with ginger cream or vanilla ice cream to help cut some of the richness.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Tuttle Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own.
Baby Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic
Adapted from Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook
Serves 4 as a part of a multi-course meal
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
4 heads baby bok choy, cut in half
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
In a wok or skillet, drizzle oil over medium high heat. Once heated, add the garlic and ginger. Cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the bok choy and cook for a minute before stirring in the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Continue to stir-fry for a minute.
Serve immediately with rice.