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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review of Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen by Katie Chin



Like most Asian households, the room that gets the most attention is the kitchen. Childhood is spent in the kitchen watching/helping mom and grandma cook. Katie Chin was brought up this way by her mom and Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook pays homage to her late mother, Leeann Chin, who was a legendary chef and restaurateur. During a presentation and cooking demo at Melissa’s Produce, Katie shared some precious memories of her mom and some of the dishes that she prepared with her mom. Like any cuisine, some people are intimidated by the preparation/cooking techniques, spices not typically kept in the cupboard, and restaurant-type meals that they might think only a chef can prepare. Katie dispels all those myths with easy-to-follow techniques and recipes.

I’d like to give a big thank you to Melissa’s culinary team and Katie who prepared the following dishes with the utmost care and expertise.

In the “Starters and Dim Sum” chapter, Potstickers are typically made for Chinese New Year and symbolize prosperity. Katie reminisced about the time her mom taught her twins how to make these. The recipe uses napa cabbage, salt, ground pork, green onions, white wine, cornstarch, dark sesame oil, white pepper, potsticker wrappers, oil, shoyu, and sugar. These little pockets of goodness are very easy to make once you get the hang of the crimping and folding. Katie also mentioned that you can just fold it half to make a half moon shape too. Rating: 4.5/5

Spicy Beef Skewers is a fusion of Chinese and Korean flavors and is a dish that was born from their catering business. The recipe uses baking soda, water, beef flank steak, oil, shoyu, salt, garlic, ginger, sugar, ground red pepper, cornstarch, and hoisin sauce. These skewers actually reminded me of beef satay. The beef is tender with a shoyu/teriyaki flavor with a spicy kick. Rating: 5/5

Firecracker Shrimp is a recipe that came about from Chinese New Year. With the shrimp tails and carrots sticking out, they look like firecrackers. The recipe uses shrimp, garlic salt, spring roll wrappers, carrot, egg, oil, mayonnaise, and sriracha. This fanciful shrimp eggroll will have your family and friends wanting more. Make sure to make double because they will be gone before you know it. They are addictive! Rating: 5/5

In the “Salads” chapter, Chinese Chicken Salad has a legendary story behind how it came into being. Invented by Madame Wu in the 1960s when she served it to Cary Grant at her Santa Monica restaurant. He loved it and now there is some version of it at most restaurants. Katie’s version is a lighter version using fresh vegetables for full flavor and texture. The recipe uses rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, chili garlic sauce, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), dark sesame oil, romaine, red cabbage, carrot, onion, almonds, rotisserie chicken, and wonton strips. The presentation is vibrant with color and refreshing in flavor. This would be great for a potluck or picnic. Rating: 5/5

Soy Ginger Edamame Salad is great for a hot summer day. The recipe uses shoyu, lime juice, rice vinegar, ginger, olive oil, dark sesame oil, salt, pepper, edamame, red bell pepper, jicama, green onion, pine nuts, and coriander leaves. This salad is good with vibrant color and flavor. I think it would taste better if it is made the day before so the seasonings and spices could seep into the edamame like a marinade. Rating: 4.5/5

In the “Beef, Pork and Lamb” chapter, Sichuan Beef is a popular dish that Katie makes for family reunions. The recipe uses top sirloin, oil, cornstarch, cornstarch, salt, white pepper, chili paste, shoyu, Chinese rice wine, water, sugar, hot chili oil, ginger, garlic, green onion, carrot, and Sichuan peppercorns. This dish is fantastic! The beef is so tender and the sauce is great over rice. I would probably swap out the carrots in favor of broccoli due to allergies. Rating: 5/5

In the “Drinks and Desserts” chapter, Chocolate-Raspberry Wontons are a quick and easy way to make handheld desserts in a flash. The recipe uses raspberries, water, sugar, cornstarch, Nutella, dumpling wrappers, egg, oil, confectioner’s sugar, and mint. These dessert wontons are fabulous! The Nutella and raspberry flavor pair quite well together inside the crispy exterior of a wonton. This is a great dish for parties. Rating: 5/5

Five-Spice Chocolate Cake was developed by Katie’s pastry chef friend, Theresa. The recipe uses flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, five-spice powder, bittersweet chocolate, brewed coffee, buttermilk, vanilla extract, eggs, sugar, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and powdered sugar. This spongy chocolate cake has an interesting twist with the five-spice. The only way to describe it is that it is similar to how ginger spice and cinnamon work in breads and pies, but different. Rating: 4.5/5

Make Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook part of your cookbook collection and you too can make Chinese food every day!

For more information:

On the search for an ingredient that you can’t find in the store, check out Melissa’s Produce’s website or call +1.800.588.0151.

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