Saturday, April 11, 2015

Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook

imageYan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook
By Yan-Kit So
Published at DK Canada

About the cookbook

Learn to cook traditional Chinese food with this extensive collection of authentic Chinese recipes from Chinese cookery expert Yan-kit So. Dim-sum, dumplings, Cantonese food — you name it — this classic book has every recipe and cooking method you need to prepare delicious, authentic Chinese food.

With thirty years as a favorite in home kitchens everywhere, Yan-Kit's Classic Chinese Cookbook is a staple for cooking traditional Chinese food. Now this bestselling cookbook is reborn with wonderful photography that makes cooking Chinese food recipes understandable and simple. Even inexperienced cooks can find easy recipes in this complete collection, and more experienced chefs will find plenty to challenge and delight them as well.

Step-by-step instructions, tips and techniques, and complete menu ideas make Yan-Kit's Classic Chinese Cookbook inviting for home cooks of all skill levels: Find a new favorite dim-sum recipe, learn a great technique for dumplings, or polish your proficiency in the art of delicious Cantonese food. Yan-Kit's proficiency and expertise in cooking authentic Chinese food makes her the ideal chef to begin a journey into cooking Chinese food, and a trusted ally in guiding you in more expert Chinese dishes.

My Thoughts

The past three weeks, we have studied China with other families at our Homeschool Coop.   We had fun activities to learn more about the country and what makes it so different than Canada.

The older kids had a project that lasted three weeks – making a salt dough map of the country of China.



The finalized maps looked like this.



Meanwhile, the younger kids were doing a variety of activities. They made their Ming Plates.



They learned to write in Chinese.


They had fun to do a giant panda craft after learning about the animal.


And they worked all together in building the Great Wall of China.


Dominic helped with the fried rice and meal lesson.


The kids learned to eat with chopsticks.


And we performed a Dragon Dance.


These three weeks were amazing and the kids learned quite a bit about China.

To conclude our tour of China, we had decided to do a potluck – each families had to bring a Chinese meal to share.   This cookbook arrived at just the right time and I immediately explored it to determine which meal I would bring.  The table of contents is pretty much self-explaining and will provide quick access the the following sections: Ingredients, Equipment, Techniques, Recipes divided in specific groups like hors d’oeuvres, soups and fire pots, fish and seafood, poultry and eggs, meat, vegetables, rice/noodles/dumplings, and desserts as well as Regional Menus which includes regional Chinese cooking, Northern or Peking menu recipes, Eastern or Shanghai menu recipes, Western or Szechwan menu recipes, Southern or Cantonese menu recipes, as well as a mixed regional menu recipes. 

The book contains plenty of images and step-by-steps instructions which will help you do some of the recipes in the book.


I have decided to do the Sweet and Sour Pork recipe found at page 130.  This recipe serves 4 to 6 people if you include 2 or 3 other dishes.   Due to the fact that we were numerous at the coop, I doubled the recipe in hopes that we would have enough for everyone.  However, I will admit that I took whole-wheat flour instead of the potato flour, I forgot the egg, and I didn’t have any Worcestershire sauce….  Also, I have not deep-fried the pork due to time constraint.


1 LB lean pork belly, skinned and trimmed of excess of fat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1/2 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons cornstarch
peanut or corn oil for deep-fryingIMG_3708
2 1/2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 onion, skinned and roughly chopped
1 green pepper, halved, seeded, and diced
4 ounces canned pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved

For the sauce
2 teaspoons potato flour
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons pineapple juice
3 tablespoons rice or wine vinegar
4 to 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


1) Cut the pork into pieces about 1 by 1 1/4 by 3/4 inches.  Put into a bowl.
2) Add the salt and soy sauce and let marinate for 30 to 60 minutes.  Stir in the egg to coat thoroughly.
3) Dredge the pork, piece by piece, with the cornstarch, making sure it is evenly coated.  It is not necessary to use up all the cornstarch.
4) Half fill a wok or deep fryer with oil, heat to a temperature of 350F or until a cube of stale bread browns in 60 seconds.   Add the pork and deep-fry for about 1 minute in 1 or 2 batches; separate the pieces with a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon if they stick together.  Drain on paper towels.  This step can be done ahead of time.
5) Prepare the sauce.  In a bowl, dissolve the potato flour in the water and pineapple juice.   Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, soy sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, and stir to blend. (This can be made in advance.)
6) Heat a frying pan or sauce pan (unless you have another wok) until hot.  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and swirl it around.   Add the garlic and onion, stir a few times and then add the green pepper.  Stir-fry for about 2 minutes over medium heat and season with salt, if desired.   Add the pineapple chunks.  Pour in the well-stirred sauce and bring to a boil slowly, stirring constantly.
7) Reheat the oil for deep-frying to a higher temperature, 375F, or until a cube of stale bread browns in 50 seconds.  Add the pork and again deep-fry in one batch for about 2 or 3 minutes, to ensure that the outside is crisp and golden without the pork inside getting dry.  Drain on paper towels and transfer to a warm serving plate.  Reheat the sweet and sour sauce and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.  This prevents the sauce from being gluey.  Pour the sweet and sour sauce over the pork.  Serve immediately.

Note:  When reheated, sweet and sour pork will be soggy but it will still taste good.

The meal was delicious and we had a wide variety of plates to choose from.   Everyone made a huge effort to bring something Chinese and authentic.  

This recipe book is packed with wonderful recipes from China and I plan to try out other recipes in the weeks and months to come.  Having a Chinese grocery store near our home is helpful to find the ingredients that wouldn’t be at the normal grocery store for sure.  If you want to expand your repertoire of recipes for your family and friends, consider getting Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook.  

Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook is available at your favourite bookstore, even and

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned book for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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