Monday, September 26, 2016

All Under Heaven

Book Summary:

All Under Heaven is the first cookbook in English to examine the 35 cuisines of China. The author combines centuries of culinary texts with her own experience to bring us a magnificent collection of recipes. It is a comprehensive look at China's cuisine and the geography and history that shaped it.

My Thoughts:

I was immediately impressed by the size of this cookbook. I was anxious to begin going through it to find what delicious recipes were waiting. I was impressed not only by the sheer number of recipes, but by the history that is given about the different types of cuisine.

The book is organized by region: The North and Manchurian Northeast, The Yangtze River and Its Environs, The Coastal Southeast, The Central Highlands, The Arid Lands, and The Fundamentals. At the start of each section there is a map so you know what area you are in, some information and history about that area, and the role geography and history played on the food of that region. There is also a table of contents with the recipes listed for that section. Each recipe also comes with a paragraph or two note about it. I absolutely loved all the background information. It added so much the experience of selecting recipes to try and deciding what to make.

I also really liked all the added notes in The Fundamentals section. I found it very helpful. If you want to know about steamer pots or what a salt pot is you can look in this section. Or, if you are unsure what some of the ingredients are all you have to do is flip to the back of the book. I was very pleased with how easy it was to find the information I needed.

For my first cooking experience with this book, I decided to make 3 Cups Chicken, Hot and Sour Pork, and Icy Green Mangoes. I chose two main dishes because we invited my brother in law over to try the dishes with us. My husband made a salad of lightly steamed broccoli, fresh green pepper sliced, yellow onion thinly sliced, with black vinegar and sesame seeds. I served the dishes with jasmine rice.

3 Cups Chicken.

This chicken has a wonderful spicy flavor. It was delicious over rice, but was also good in a soft taco shell the next day. I really enjoyed the slices of ginger in this dish. Everyone loved the smell of this dish cooking.

Hot and Sour Pork. 
This was everyone's favourite dish of the evening. It was a little spicy, but it was at just the right level of spiciness. We all had seconds of this dish. It is one I will definitely be making again. The only thing I changed with this recipe is: I did not fry it in all the oil the recipe called for. I only had a small amount at the bottom of the Wok. It turned out great!

Both dishes ready to eat with rice.

Icy Green Mangoes

I did have some trouble getting the mangoes to freeze properly the night we made the food. By dinner the next day they were frozen the way they should have been the day before. But we made do with chilled mangoes. We placed them over Vanilla Ice Cream so they were a topping instead of a slush. We were all happy with the results. I would recommend preparing this one early in case you also have trouble with it freezing right away.

I am looking forward to trying many more of the recipes. Some of the top recipes to try on my list are: Black Bean Asparagus, Chilled Sour Plum Infusion, Hainan Chicken and Rice, Grilled Layered Lamb Pastries, Lemongrass Chicken, Malay Sponge Cake, Candied Kumquats, and Sesame Oil Chicken Soup. The list could go on and on, but this gives you an idea of the variety of recipes.

Overall, I loved this cookbook. I am always happy to combine two of my favourite things, history and cooking. The only issue I really had was that I would have liked for the author to include approximate times for some of the steps or the overall dish. It would help people new to cooking the cuisine to know how much time it will take to make everything. 

If you like Chinese food I highly recommend trying this cookbook. The flavours were amazing!

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book sooner than I would have gotten to it or a book I might not have heard about otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment