Let me start with- Thank you Kian Lam Kho! I am a huge fan of Chinese cuisine but since I don’t exactly have the family traditions…I always feel like I’m making takeout instead of something more traditional. Do I love takeout? Well I am not going to lie- yes! But I know there’s a vast food culture out there that I haven’t gotten my hands on. & I have big goals! I think I gave away the big “YES I LOVE THIS” part…but keep reading to see why Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees by Kian Lam Kho is so amazing!
Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees offers a unique introduction to Chinese home cooking, demystifying it by focusing on its basic cooking methods. In outlining the differences among various techniques—such as pan-frying, oil steeping, and yin-yang frying—and instructing which one is best for particular ingredients and end results, culinary expert Kian Lam Kho provides a practical, intuitive window into this unique cuisine. Once one learns how to dry stir-fry chicken, one can then confidently apply the technique to tofu, shrimp, and any number of ingredients.
Accompanied by more than 200 photographs, including helpful step-by-step images, the 158 recipes range from simple, such as Spicy Lotus Root Salad or Red Cooked Pork, to slightly more involved, including authentic General Tso’s Chicken or Pork Shank Soup with Winter Bamboo. But the true brilliance behind this innovative book lies in the way it teaches the soul of Chinese cooking, enabling home cooks to master this diverse, alluring cuisine and then to re-create any tempting dish they encounter or can imagine.
So what makes this different? Is it the recipes? Step-by-step photos? Detailed information to get you from point A to B? All of the above. Plus- definitely a yum factor. Some of my favorite chapters were the “Enriching with Smoke” & the “Virtues of Slow Cooking” since I haven’t done anything within the Chinese realm of cooking with those two ideas. Plus he has a ton of basics for sauces & lots of no-so-basic sauces like the XO Sauce. Triple yum. There are also quite a few recipes using ingredients that are totally unfamiliar to me…sea cucumber anyone? This is a BIG book with its own bookmark for a reason- it is absolutely packed with things I didn’t even know that I needed to learn! if you’ve been on the hunt for the Chinese cookbook/guide of your dreams- Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees by Kian Lam Kho is what you’re looking for.