Filled to the brim with crisp photography and easy to follow traditional Chinese recipes, Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook is a great overview of Chinese cuisine. The book is broken down into components of the meal—as every good cookbook should be—and it benefits from Chin’s personal stories of her time learning to cook with her mother. Home cooks who, like me, are not familiar with the intricacies of Chinese cooking will enjoyed the detailed what’s what of common ingredients and basic cooking techniques (the differences between wonton wrappers and pot sticker wrappers, how to steam dumplings without a steamer, etc.).
For the most part, the instructions are clear and the organization of the book is logical. However, there are a few places that drew cooking to a rapid stop and had me flipping through the book looking for the primary recipe upon which my chosen recipe was based—and which was not, for some reason, placed at the beginning of the book with the other basics of Chinese cooking. For example, if you wanted to make Spicy Pork Noodle Soup on page 69, you would need to first turn to page 25 for the recipe to make the chili paste and then to page 62 for the recipe for homemade chicken stock. And since the chicken stock takes almost three hours to cook, I certainly hope you planned ahead. Of course, the instructions do acknowledge that you can very easily substitute both of these with store-bought versions, but if you’re truly aiming for authenticity, this is going to leave you a little frustrated.
Overall, though, I can’t complain too much. I’m a visual learner and this book has fantastic step-by-step instructions and great photos of what the end project should look like.