Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking. Keepin' It Real...Simple. Book Review.
Simple is as simple does. Kylie Kwong’s new cookbook, Simple Chinese Cooking, does just that. Her cookbook makes doing Chinese dishes as simple as can be without ordering take-out. Not only that, Kylie makes her food healthy and organically conscious as well. If you’ve ever perused a Chinese restaurant’s menu (and who hasn’t), you’ll notice that in a given category like wonton noodle soup, for example, the section begins with the basic version of the dish: wontons, noodles, some kind of greens and broth. Then, as the category continues, this simple wonton noodle soup can get complicated and be adorned with anything from beef to pork to duck to squid or a combination thereof.
Well, then, think of Kylie’s new cookbook as the basic version of popular Chinese dishes. It’s really a smart cookbook for beginners and intermediate cooks.
So after you’ve nailed the fundamentals of wonton noodle soup, you can toss in a Twinkie for all I care. Get it? Twinkie. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Hey, I can make these jokes, I am one and so is Ms. Kylie from what I gather. She’s a fourth-gen Aussie and doesn’t speak any Chinese, but, hell, she sure can cook Chinese.
Kylie’s new cookbook is unique for a Chinese cookbook in that it does place heavy emphasis on healthy and organic. Although the classics are represented such as Stir-Fried Beef with Oyster Sauce and Soy Sauce Chicken, the book includes thorough tofu, vegetable and salad chapters and the largest egg chapter I’ve ever seen in any Chinese cookbook, every recipe incorporating free-range eggs, of course. So if you think Chinese food can’t be healthy, this book will certainly change your mind.
Kylie is also known to freestyle quite a bit with her recipes by updating traditional dishes, putting a little spin on classics or simply making up new delights that still burst with familiar and delicious Chinese flavors (check out her Crispy-Skin Runny Eggs with Sweet and Sour Sauce).
Oh yeah, for those of you who “read” Playboy for the articles and for those who buy cookbooks just to “check out” the recipes, Simple Chinese Cooking is your kind of cookbook. This extra large and heavy book should’ve been delivered in brown paper wrap because it’s loaded with some of the porniest food porn I’ve ever laid eyes on. The photos are huge, gorgeous and supple, er, I mean simple. Yeah, simple. (That’s the theme, right?) Even the illustrated instructions on Squid Scoring and Chicken Chopping are sexy. Try that at home! Whew, I need a cigarette.
It’s out now just in time for Valentine’s Day. Or Chinese New Year! The Year of the Pig! Chop sooey, sooey, sooey!! Ahem, sorry.