Chinese Cooking Made Easy by Michael M.T. Lee

96 pages; Color photographs of every dish. Glossy soft cover.
Wei-Chaun Publishing Co. Ltd. Taiwan '91 '95
Reviewed for Good Cooking by MaryEllen Kelly 12/02

First published in 1991, Chinese Cooking Made Easy is one in a series of excellent, easy to read and follow cookbooks written by Michael M.T. Lee for the Wei-Chuan's Cooking School. The Wei-Chuan's Cooking School was founded in 1961 in the Asia-Pacific rim and as its reputation grew, the demand by chefs and homemakers alike for recipes used in the cooking classes prompted the publishing of the first book in the series called (Chinese Cuisine) in 1972.

Chinese Cooking Made Easy is a recipe book of modernized Chinese cuisine. The book is written in Chinese and English. It is also available in English/Spanish, French/Chinese and German/Chinese. The recipes are simply written and illustrated with beautiful color photos.
The beginning of the book is divided into the conversion table used in preparing the recipes, and descriptions of the wonderful spices used in cooking, followed by pictures and recipes of all of the seasoned sauces used in Chinese cooking. This section I believe is very important. Sauces, if done correctly, finish a meal beautifully; if done wrong, can leave it flat. In ethnic cooking, knowing the sauces used to enhance the food is so important. These recipes can be added to a cook's list of excellent sauces. There are also several pages of Chinese salad dressing as well as pictured pages on meats and the proper way of preparing them for Chinese cooking. Each recipe is clear and easy to follow and the pictures not only make you hungry but help in some ideas of presentation, which we all know is so important when serving food to your guests.

When I tried the recipe for Sesame Chicken on page 27 and Mushroom & Chinese Pea Pods on page 90, I was more than pleased at the end result. The friends I prepared it for stated it was like being at a restaurant without the pagodas. The Crab Meat & Cabbage Salad which I served on a Saturday was filling; when I added crispy bread and one of the fruit platters shown at the end of the book it made a delightful lunch after taking a long walk on a beautiful day.

This is a well written, easy to follow cookbook that I will be adding to my collection. If you have wanted to try your hand at this very old but wonderful ethnic way of cooking, I don't think you can go wrong by buying this book. It is compact in size, but overflowing with beautiful pictures and wonderful culinary delights. I will definitely be on the lookout for more in this series!

Ingredients for the dish:
2/3 Ib. (300g) boneless chicken
1 Tbsp. each: wine, black or white sesame seeds 1/2 t. salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
dash of pepper
1/2 egg
3 T. cornstarch
oil for deep-frying
1/2 lemon
Sesame Chicken

Cut chicken into 12 pieces. Mix in wine, sesame seeds, salt, garlic, pepper, egg and cornstarch.
Heat oil to medium then deep-fry chicken 4 minutes. Turn heat to high and continue to deep-fry 3 minutes or until golden brown; remove. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve with a soy dipping sauce.

Mushrooms and Chinese Pea Pods

2/3 lb. (300 g) vegetables
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic or 1 T. chopped green onions
1/3 tsp. salt
sesame oil as desired

Remove ends and veins on both sides of pea pods. Cut pea pods and carrot into 2-inch long strips. Slice the mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil then stir-fry garlic until fragrant. Add vegetables and stir-fry briefly. Add 1/3 cup water and sesame oil, then cover and cook until steamy; continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove and serve.

Good Cooking really likes these books. We have traveled to China, toured the country and sampled the food. Although the books are published in Taiwan, there is very little difference between the mainland cooking and the recipes in this book! Every dish we've tried has had a very good flavor.

If you are serious about Chinese cooking buy them.

Other books in the series!