COOKING & FOOD

The Food of Sichuan

Norton. Oct. 2019. 480p. photos. index. ISBN 9781324004837. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781324004844. COOKING
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When Dunlop’s Land of Plenty appeared in 2001, Sichuan cooking was not well known in the West; for many, a Sichuan dish meant adding peanuts or extra chiles. Dunlop’s exhaustive work imploded that myth and presaged several food trends. Here the author offers a new, updated edition that includes fresh photographs, recipes, and recent food trends in the region, with some older recipes retested and tweaked. The focus remains on explicating the astonishing array of Sichuan flavors and techniques. Some dishes, such as dry-fried green beans, traditional dandan noodles, and strange flavor bang bang chicken, have become more prominent since the first edition, but many dishes will be new to Western palates, including scalded kidneys with fresh chilli and rabbit eaten cold. Dunlop was the first Westerner to be trained at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, and while she does address home cooking, many of the recipes are inspired by banquet and restaurant cooking. Techniques are fully explained, but cooks will need to obtain several special ingredients.
VERDICT With the original still considered one of the best sources on Sichuan cooking, this new edition is a must-have for anyone interested in authentic Chinese cuisine.

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