A Taste of Shanghai

KQEDRichardW How happy am I? I finished reading Richard Wong’s, Modern Asian Flavors: A Taste of Shanghai (Chronicle Books, San Francisco: 2005). Richard Wong is the founder and owner of chinablue. On the culinary page of the chinablue sight, you’ll find a selection of Wong’s sauces and glazes. In his cookbook, you’ll find recipes for Shanghainese sauces, too. Wong says, “Each sauce in the chapter is based on an original recipe for a Shanghainese dish as cooked by my family for generations.” Did you know that Shanghainese don’t cook with garlic? Oh, but I digress. The sauces are base flavors for all the dishes that follow. Add a little oil to the Tangy Ginger Sauce (pg. 30) and you have a salad dressing. Add some sparkling water and you have a refreshing spritzer. I love this concept. Once you master the sauces, you’re on your way. The sauce recipes are really simple but bursting with flavor.ModernAsianFlavors

In the Soup and Salad chapter, I loved the authentic Chinese Chicken Salad (pg.64) recipe. The Spicy Stuffed Bell Peppers (pg.71) with turkey and mushrooms and the tasty Red Pepper Sauce look delicious. I can almost taste the flavors. The Barbecued Pork Short Ribs (pg.81) are marinated and basted with Sweet Scallion Sauce (pg.33), which is also used on the Sweet Scallion Shrimp (pg.93). I love this. The Sweet and Sour Rice (pg.116) has a simple list of ingredients. The notes say, “This salad has an innocently addictive, clean, sweet, and tart flavor.” Yummy! It looks fantastic. You won’t want to miss Chinese Spaghetti (pg.125) made with chunks of pork and tofu, and a delicious list of ingredients.

chinablue The Dessert chapter is AMAZING! I’m not kidding. And, as I often say, I’m not a dessert person. But c’mon. These recipes are lovely. Tangy Ginger Bananas (pg.130) or in the summer, peaches and nectarines, and in the fall, apples and pears. Peach Wonton Crisps (pg.133) are beautiful and tasty. Sweet Anise Custard (pg.136) brings out the Greek in me. And, tada, Strawberry-Lemon Tapioca (pg.139). Now that’s dessert.

Richard Wong filled this cookbook with joy, a love for life, and a celebration of flavors from Shanghai. Noel Barnhurst’s food images are ┬ábeautiful and brings the food to life. A lovely combination.┬áThank you, Mr Wong. I hear the bell ringing!

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