This cookbook has a copyright of 2004. I bought this cookbook at Costco. I have never cooked from this before.
Martin Yan was one of those first cooks I remember watching on PBS when they had their block of cooking shows on Saturday mornings. But I never watched Martin for the cooking. I watched because he was hysterical. Anyone remember that show? Where Martin had his female helper? He was such a crackup. Haven't really watched much of his shows since then, which is a shame, because I think I'm going to really like this cookbook.
This cookbook has several chapters to help you with the recipes. There is a section on tools and techniques (like why to use "cooking" chopsticks or segmenting citrus). There is a section on basics which goes over items to have in your pantry, your refrigerator and your freezer. A page of online sources (some of which are still valid) and a glossary of ingredients which is great to check out some of the exotic items required (but most of the exotic items can be found in your local grocery store in the ethnic food section...at least at my local Safeway). There is a nice little section on how to cook some basics like Sushi Rice, Dipping Sauces and Ponzu Sauce.There is a chapter on Quick & Easy Meal Suggestions (a "Just Add Rice" meal or a Cocktail Party). The recipes are divided into four chapters: Small Bites & First Courses, Main Courses, Vegetables, Rice & Noodles and Desserts & Drinks. Wonderful color photographs though only for about every fourth recipe. The cookbook is known as taking traditional oriental recipes and making them more "western" friendly. Most recipes look like they can be done in less than half an hour.
The recipes are easy to read and follow. Ingredients are separated into marinades and/or sauces which makes it easy to figure out. Though some do ask for "exotic" ingredients, most of the stuff you can find at most local grocery stores (things like fish sauce, black bean garlic sauce). Yan also gives substitutions if you can't find some of the special ingredients.
Though I do have several Chinese cookbooks, most seem to be a bit too complicated or have recipes for things that just don't seem to fit my palate. This is not the case with this cookbook. Tons of recipes I'd like to try that seem pretty simple and quick. Cool Shrimp with Chili Dipping Sauce, Chicken Lettuce Cups, Quick Jook, Monday Night Dumpling Soup, Orange Peel Chicken, Three-Alarm Firecracker Chicken, Black Pepper Beef, Black Tea-Braised Short Ribs, Pan-fried Noodles, Twin-Ginger Shortbread Cookies...I could go on. I have at least thirty recipes book marked!
I think this is a great cookbook to get me started on some Asian cooking. I can see making something from this cookbook and then in the future finding a more authentic recipe.