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Unlock New Flavors With the Best Chinese Cookbooks
Everyone loves a good Chinese recipe for dinner. Not just because it is low in carbs, but because Chinese cuisine is packed with flavor and feels light. It also lowers the rates of obesity and heart disease and even helps keep diabetes away. Chinese cuisine is a bit tricky to nail for a beginner. Since takeout isn’t a sustainable option, you can have a good time experimenting with Chinese cooking in your kitchen. We have reviewed the most effective Chinese cookbooks of 2023, so you can become a pro at cooking Chinese food. A buyer’s guide and an FAQ section have also been added for your convenience.Show contentsReviewing the Top Chinese Cookbook of 2023
- The Essential Wok Cookbook - Best Overall
- Easy Chinese Cookbook - Easiest to Use
- Chinese Takeout Cookbook - Best for Busy Families
- Every Grain of Rice - Beginner-Friendly Recipes
- The Wok: Recipes and Techniques - Most Versatile
Buying Guide: Chinese Cookbooks
Buying Guide: Chinese Cookbooks
What To Look for in a Chinese Cookbook
Check the cookbook for its type of recipes. Searching for a takeout cookbook would be a waste of money if you’re looking for everyday Chinese cuisine. We also recommend buyers buy specific-style cookbooks, which are much more detailed and well-explained. Also, check the number of recipes in the book, and pick one that suits your needs.
You find out a lot about a book by judging its author. There are many reputable chefs out there who have created Chinese cookbooks. It may be a good idea to research the author of the book you want to buy, to make sure they are legitimate.
Food photos are an essential part of a Chinese cookbook. Not just because of the looks, but also for the readers to know what their dish should look like. It also gives the readers ideas about how to plate their dishes.
You can determine the durability of a Chinese cookbook by judging its quality. If the cookbook has a hardcover back, it is strong enough to secure the pages inside. Also, look for a spiral binding, preferably a plastic coil, as it is reliable and doesn’t make the book too bulky.
If you have an above-average budget for a Chinese cookbook, buy one with add-ons. Extra features like tips and techniques can elevate your cooking game.
Benefits of Chinese Cookbooks
Most Chinese cookbooks offer extensive knowledge about the equipment used while cooking. Since Chinese cuisines require specific equipment, like a wok and steaming baskets for certain tasks, it is better to go for a Chinese cookbook if you want to master your Chinese cooking skills.
Not all cookbooks or recipe books have specific measurements for every recipe. Some cookbooks state amounts in generic terms, rather than specific amounts, which makes cooking difficult for new chefs.
Classic Chinese techniques
Chinese cookbooks can be useful, as they explain in detail the different techniques, since Chinese cuisine is all about technique. Many Chinese cookbooks also display illustrative demonstrations to clarify the technical steps of folding or stir-frying.
What To Expect in a Chinese Cookbook Recipe
This section offers a brief introduction to the dish and what flavors you can find in it. Some Chinese cookbooks also mention the texture or background of the dish. It also tells you which style the dish falls under, like the street style, or fancy restaurant style.
This section is rare; however, it adds a plus point to the cookbook. It mentions any step involved in the recipe, like flambe or roasting, to give the reader an idea about its difficulty level.
Chinese cookbooks usually describe the special things you might need for a dish. For example, a recipe for dumplings might mention bamboo steam baskets so the reader could prep the equipment beforehand before.
This is the part where the Chinese cookbook mentions serving suggestions or the number of people who the recipe is suited for. This is important because most cookbooks have a low serving suggestion, so the readers can multiply the quantity for a bigger batch.
Knowing the time for meal prep and cooking can be a great help when you’ve got a busy schedule. The estimated time in front of each recipe is minimal, so you can work on a recipe accordingly.
It is important to know what you’re cooking with and if all the ingredients are available or not. The ingredient list can save you time, and you can set your working station with all the ingredients in one place for quick cooking.
The main part of the cookbook structure is the structure. We prefer going for step-by-step instructions, as they are easily understandable and brief. A paragraph-wise structure can be confusing sometimes, and there is a high chance that you miss an important step.
What Type of Cuisines Should a Chinese Cookbook Cover
This cuisine originated from the Eastern parts of China and is famous for creating food from scratch with fresh ingredients. This type of food is mostly savory and salty, with a tender inside and crispy outside. Dishes like stir-fried or bun-wrapped vegetables belong to this cuisine. Seafood and vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and garlic are mostly used in the dishes of this cuisine.
The Chuan style of Chinese cooking was adopted from the province of Sichuan. The food is famous for its spicy and dry flavors. Most street foods like kung pao chicken and hot pot belong to this cuisine. It involves a variety of mushrooms, meat, and seafood.
Yue cuisine is a widely famous Chinese cooking style worldwide. It covers light, hearty dishes like dumplings, rice rolls, and pork buns. This cuisine includes vegetables, meat, and sweet sauces. The dominating flavors of this cuisine are mostly mild and sweet.
Everyday Chinese food falls under Su cuisine. It mostly has umami and mild flavors through basic spices that highlight the main produce, usually meat. Dishes like fried rice, braised meatballs, and Nanjing salted duck are of Su cuisine origin.
Reviewing the Top Chinese Cookbook of 20231– Best Overall
Quality Chinese cookbooks are often expensive, but not “The Essential Wok Cookbook.” This Chinese recipe book is our top recommendation mainly because of the value it offers at its price. From everyday Chinese dishes to fancy seafood, this cookbook has got it all covered.
It features detailed, step-by-step recipes of 95 classic dishes that are healthy and easy to make. Besides the instructions, you can find an ingredients card listing every ingredient with their precise measurements. This paperback cookbook comprises 150 pages, and its front cover features a bright picture of a mouth-watering stir-fry.2– Easiest to Use
Finding one recipe from 50 recipes can be hard when you’re in a rush, which is why the “Easy Chinese Cookbook” is among our top choices. It divides the different types of foods into separate categories. This book also explains all the recipes in detail with step-by-step procedures.
This cookbook offers a brief introduction to the different equipment and tools before starting on the recipes. It also covers classic and advanced recipes in a simple manner. You can find additional notes where a certain technique or skill is required. The book consists of 158 pages and 85 recipes.3– Best for Busy Families
Achieving the aroma and taste of Chinese takeout isn’t impossible if you follow the “Chinese Takeout Cookbook.” This book made it to our list mainly because it contains classic Chinese recipes that can be made in 20 minutes or less. Although it doesn’t mention the recipes in steps, the paragraphs are simplified and easy to read.
It mentions the cook time, prep time, and serving suggestions for each recipe, with a picture of the dish for plating inspiration. This Chinese cookbook has 160 thick pages that cover 70 dishes with easy-to-find ingredients.4– Beginner-Friendly Recipes
Many cookbooks offer limited information and to-the-point steps, which can be troublesome for new chefs. This is why we recommend the “Every Grain of Rice” Chinese cookbook to beginners. It is a collection of everyday Chinese dishes that are common and easy to make.
This cookbook focuses on meal prep before cooking, making it easier and more accessible for newbies to cook. This book is filled with 150 bright photographs and has a strong binding. Its 352 pages can easily cover a variety of recipes without cluttering the text.5– Most Versatile
If you’re super serious about learning Chinese cooking, you should consider “The Wok: Recipes and Techniques.” This book is an all-in-one solution for all sorts of Chinese dishes and cooking skills, specifically focused on techniques. It consists of home-based, street-style, and restaurant-style dishes starring different proteins and vegetables.
All the recipes require a wok for cooking, so you can minimize the amount of dishes you are using. This cookbook provides pictures of what the recipe should look like at each step, rather than just at the end. This hardcover recipe book has 672 pages and 200 recipes with 100 photographs.
People Also AskedQ: Why should I get a Chinese cookbook?
A: Online recipes might be a good option if you're cooking once, although the recipe might not be authentic. Chinese cookbooks usually have original recipes and are ideal for people who tend to experiment with the authentic Chinese cooking style more than just one time.Q: What are the preferred bindings for thick Chinese cookbooks?
A: Plastic coil binding is ideal for thick cookbooks. The reason is that it is durable and flexible at the same time. It is also lightweight, compared to sewn binding, which can tear the cookbook apart.Q: What is the difference between a Chinese cookbook and a Chinese recipe book?
A: A Chinese cookbook is ideal for someone looking for detailed recipes and tips. It also has extensive information about equipment and techniques. A recipe book only mentions the ingredients and instructions, which are often not well-described.