Sunday, January 3, 2021

Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food: Deliciously Doable Ways to Cook Greens, Tofu, and Other Plant-Based Ingredients

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Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food is a plant based tutorial and recipe guide for vegetarian Chinese dishes curated and developed by Hsiao-Ching Chou. Due out 19th Jan 2021 from Sasquatch Books, it's 272 pages (print edition) and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

This is a graphically appealing, well written, and accessible cookbook with an array of vegetarian recipes to appeal to most tastes. I really liked the layout and formatting of this cookbook. The introduction covers the basics, with a good overview of tools, ingredients, techniques, and supplies (which might not be familiar to many western cooks). The recipes which follow are arranged roughly thematically: dumplings (the author is a -virtuoso-), dim sum & small bites, soups & braises, stir-fry, steamed dishes, rice and noodles, tofu, eggs, and salads and pickles. There are a number of gluten-free recipes included (including pot sticker dough!), and these are clearly delineated. As the "egg" recipe section implies, not all the recipes are vegan-compliant. There are some lacto-ovo vegetarian recipes, but they too are clearly labeled. Many of them could be adjusted to become vegan friendly. 

Each recipe has its ingredients listed bullet style in a sidebar. Measurements are given in US standard only. (There's a metric conversion chart in the back of the book). Special tools and ingredients are also listed, along with yields and cooking directions. The ingredients are mostly easily sourced at any moderately well stocked grocery or international foods store. Nutritional information is not provided.

The recipes and tutorials are well photographed in color. The serving suggestions are very well styled and give visual cooks information about presentation and serving (especially important for cooks who are not familiar with Asian dishes). Essential info, alerts, facts, tips & answers are highlighted in text boxes. The final release version of the book will include an index.

The author's gentle encouragement and wit shine through in the tutorial texts. I am convinced she'd be a really gifted teacher and it would be a lot of fun (and enriching) to be able to take a cooking workshop from her. 

Five stars. There are a large number of really tasty recipes here. We've tried a number of them at home and they've all been tasty and error free. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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