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Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province

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Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed Sichuanese cookbook Land of Plenty, which won the British Guild of Food Writers’ Jeremy Round Award for best first book and which critic John Thorne called “a seminal exploration of one of China’s great regional cuisines.” Now, with Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, she introduces us to the delicious tas Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed Sichuanese cookbook Land of Plenty, which won the British Guild of Food Writers’ Jeremy Round Award for best first book and which critic John Thorne called “a seminal exploration of one of China’s great regional cuisines.” Now, with Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, she introduces us to the delicious tastes of Hunan, Chairman Mao’s home province. Hunan is renowned for the fiery spirit of its people, its beautiful scenery, and its hearty peasant cooking. In a selection of classic recipes interwoven with a wealth of history, legend, and anecdote, Dunlop brings to life this vibrant culinary region. Look for late imperial recipes like Numbing-and-Hot Chicken, Chairman Mao’s favorite Red-Braised Pork, soothing stews, and a myriad of colorful vegetable stir-fries.


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Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed Sichuanese cookbook Land of Plenty, which won the British Guild of Food Writers’ Jeremy Round Award for best first book and which critic John Thorne called “a seminal exploration of one of China’s great regional cuisines.” Now, with Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, she introduces us to the delicious tas Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed Sichuanese cookbook Land of Plenty, which won the British Guild of Food Writers’ Jeremy Round Award for best first book and which critic John Thorne called “a seminal exploration of one of China’s great regional cuisines.” Now, with Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, she introduces us to the delicious tastes of Hunan, Chairman Mao’s home province. Hunan is renowned for the fiery spirit of its people, its beautiful scenery, and its hearty peasant cooking. In a selection of classic recipes interwoven with a wealth of history, legend, and anecdote, Dunlop brings to life this vibrant culinary region. Look for late imperial recipes like Numbing-and-Hot Chicken, Chairman Mao’s favorite Red-Braised Pork, soothing stews, and a myriad of colorful vegetable stir-fries.

30 review for Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bookshop

    What can I say? It's from Fuschia Dunlop, the writer of Sichuan Cookery which is one of my most utilized and prized cook books. Her love for Chinese cooking, particularly from Sichuan and Hunan, is unmistakable. As per her earlier book, this book starts with factors which are deemed to influence the Hunanese cuisine: its culture, its people, its climate, its history. Apparently, Mao Ze Dong comes from this province and I guess that explains her cultural revolution theme in the book. She then move What can I say? It's from Fuschia Dunlop, the writer of Sichuan Cookery which is one of my most utilized and prized cook books. Her love for Chinese cooking, particularly from Sichuan and Hunan, is unmistakable. As per her earlier book, this book starts with factors which are deemed to influence the Hunanese cuisine: its culture, its people, its climate, its history. Apparently, Mao Ze Dong comes from this province and I guess that explains her cultural revolution theme in the book. She then moves on to discuss the foundation of flavours, ingredients, tools and menu construction. Her detailed accounts everything surrounding the area, not only a simple compilation of recipes are the source of my love for her work. One great part is the story of General Tso's chicken. The dish was famed in the world as a Hunanese dish but it was virtually unknown in Hunan. She explained that it is true the dish doesn't originate from Hunan because Hunanese dish do not marry sweet and savoury. Apparently, it was created by a Hunanese Chef who moved to Taiwan. Upon opening his restaurant in New York, to suit the American palate, he dosed his creation with sugar and, therefore, the General Tso's chicken, as the Americans know it, was born. I have tremendous respect for her as an authority in chinese cuisine. Not only she speaks, reads, and writes chinese (learnt during her years as a scholar in China) which is important in order to grasp the philosophy behind the dishes through interactions with the locals, she also cooks adeptly and convincingly like a Chinese with wok and ladle instead of spatula and pan. Her recipes work. I know that by experience as evidenced by my numerous attempts of her previous book in my recipe section. Her recipes have all been tested in her London apartment and therefore, very convenient in terms of ingredients sourcing and method without diluting its authenticity. To entertain her audience, instead of compromising, say (with apology to fans), like Kylie Kwong's Asian salad recipe where she defined Asian salad as greens dressed with sesame oil, she defines thoughtfully of how to combine certain dishes with Western dining norm to ensure that they blend well without losing their essence. Hunan dishes are thick in flavours, including spiciness, although they pride themselves with balancing the flavours with ingredients. They apparently like to mix sour and savoury though not sweet and savoury. Hunanese people accuse the Sichuanese of being inelegant by overdoing the spiciness. From my point of view, they are actually rather similar. I am excited to attempt her Hunan dishes. There are, as of the quick browsing last night, 42 recipes marked for sampling. Time to get to the kitchen.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    Firstly, what a title - how come it had not been used before? A great tie-in that immediately tells the reader a bit about the book thanks to the worldwide association of Chairman Mao and his little red book. In a way, this book might be a form of fairly-strong "guidelines" too that can foster a degree of determination and appreciation, albeit on a culinary level. Within this sturdy, steady book the author sets out to showcase food from Hunan, a province in China that is often overlooked at least Firstly, what a title - how come it had not been used before? A great tie-in that immediately tells the reader a bit about the book thanks to the worldwide association of Chairman Mao and his little red book. In a way, this book might be a form of fairly-strong "guidelines" too that can foster a degree of determination and appreciation, albeit on a culinary level. Within this sturdy, steady book the author sets out to showcase food from Hunan, a province in China that is often overlooked at least in western eyes. In many ways even if you never have the intention to make your own Hunan (Chinese) food, this book could still be a great reference resource, helping explain a bit about just one of the "Chinese" food styles, how ingredients are combined, the art and methodology of food preparation and much more besides. Yet that would be a shame as you have a wealth of wonderful recipes waiting for you. Firstly, there is a very detailed, enjoyable introduction that explains a bit about the province of Hunan. The author expertly and effortlessly mixes together information about Hunan and its relationships with other (Chinese) provincial neighbours. History, culinary history, sociology, politics and many -ologies that don't immediately spring to mind are dropped into the author's pestle and mortar and combined to make this wonderful introductory paste. Then it is time for round two, and the typical contents of a Hunanese larder are brought into the spotlight, showcasing common items that will be pressed into service when following recipes within the book. It was interesting to read the author's descriptions even of things that you think you fully understand, as there is always a little wrinkle, usage tip or other factoid to pick up. Ignore at your peril! The art of cookery is the next chapter and the reader can begin to understand why certain ingredients are used and combined with other ingredients. As important as combining flavours can be, other methodologies are also important for a total overall balance of consistency, flavour, smell, taste... you get the picture. What looks like a bowl of meat stew and white rice might not be necessarily all it seems. This fairly lengthy chapter is a good overall primer that is likely to stand the reader in good stead when making other Chinese or Asiatic foods too. Sheer quality, patiently explained yet written concisely without a bit of fat on the bone. Once you finally (!) get to the recipes - and remember unlike many books the text that precedes the recipes IS worth reading and reading well - the reader will find that A LOT of recipes await them. Split into appetisers and street food; meat dishes; poultry and eggs; fish dishes; beancurd dishes; vegetable dishes; soup dishes; rice and noodles; sweet dishes and finally preserves, stocks and other essentials, there should be something to suit and surpass every taste. Even after all of the recipes the information just keeps on coming with a glossary of Chinese characters, an explanation of Chinese dynasties, a fairly extensive bibliography and a great index. The recipes themselves are often illustrated by good looking, to-the-point photographs that are not arty but a work of art in their own right. The dish is in focus, yet presented in a simple, fuss-free manner. Recipes are accompanied by some form of introduction, background or primer and then the usual split between ingredients and cooking instructions. There is often a separate breakout spot for variations that can be made on the given dish as required. Sadly no approximation of preparation and cooking times though (regular YUM readers will know why we highlight this!). Make no mistake this is no beginners book, yet in many ways it is. That is not a trick statement but this is a book directed at many levels, meeting many needs and covering them all with aplomb. You may require a bit of discipline to break what can be established bad habits, "forcing" you to read the background knowledge that precedes the recipes and not just finding something that could sound nice to cook. OK, you could do that and it might turn out nicely, but invest the time in a bit of background reading and this could transform things totally. Invest in yourself. Discover something that many others won't do and give this book some serious consultation. The Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, written by Fuchsia Dunlop and published by Ebury Press. ISBN 9780091904838, 304 pages. Typical price: GBP20. YYYYY. This is a RETROspective review of a previously-published book that, whilst not new on the market, is still available and the review has been made of the book as it stands today. // This review appeared in YUM.fi and is reproduced here in full with permission of YUM.fi. YUM.fi celebrates the worldwide diversity of food and drink, as presented through the humble book. Whether you call it a cookery book, cook book, recipe book or something else (in the language of your choice) YUM will provide you with news and reviews of the latest books on the marketplace. //

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork (Mao Shi Hong Shao Rou) 1 lb. pork belly (skin optional) 2 Tbsp. peanut oil 2 Tbsp. white sugar 1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine ~ Fresh ginger (a ¾-inch piece), skin left on and sliced 1 star anise 2 dried red chiles ~ A small piece of cassia bark or a small cinnamon stick ~ Light soy sauce ~ Salt ~ Sugar ~ Scallion greens Steps Plunge the pork belly into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until partially cooked. Remove and, when cool enough to Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork (Mao Shi Hong Shao Rou) 1 lb. pork belly (skin optional) 2 Tbsp. peanut oil 2 Tbsp. white sugar 1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine ~ Fresh ginger (a ¾-inch piece), skin left on and sliced 1 star anise 2 dried red chiles ~ A small piece of cassia bark or a small cinnamon stick ~ Light soy sauce ~ Salt ~ Sugar ~ Scallion greens Steps Plunge the pork belly into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until partially cooked. Remove and, when cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized chunks. Heat the oil and white sugar in a wok over a gentle flame until the sugar melts, then raise the heat and stir until the melted sugar turns a rich caramel brown. Add the pork and splash in the Shaoxing wine. Add enough water to just cover the pork, along with the ginger, star anise, chiles, and cassia. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes. Toward the end of the cooking time, turn up the heat to reduce the sauce, and season with soy sauce, salt, and a little sugar to taste. Add the scallion greens just before serving. Notes In Shaoshan, Mao’s home village, cooks traditionally leave the skin intact for maximum succulence, and cut the meat into rather large chunks, perhaps 1 1/2 inches long; I tend to make the pieces a little smaller. This recipe takes its color from caramelized sugar, which gives it a lovely reddish gloss, but many people just use dark soy sauce at home.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    I have mixed feelings about a white British woman being the face of Chinese cooking in the English-speaking world, but I cannot deny that Fuchsia Dunlop knows what she's talking about - and she's an amazing storyteller. The header notes for the recipes make hers cookbooks you can just sit down and read for enjoyment. Stories, details about ingredients, changes she's made, information about places I may never get to visit - all just wonderful stuff. The recipes are good, too. Across all her books I have mixed feelings about a white British woman being the face of Chinese cooking in the English-speaking world, but I cannot deny that Fuchsia Dunlop knows what she's talking about - and she's an amazing storyteller. The header notes for the recipes make hers cookbooks you can just sit down and read for enjoyment. Stories, details about ingredients, changes she's made, information about places I may never get to visit - all just wonderful stuff. The recipes are good, too. Across all her books, there is some inconsistency in the names she uses. However, at the back, there's a glossary of ingredients and it has the Chinese characters, which is very helpful when you're looking at the hundreds of different jars at your local Chinese grocery store. Some of the recipes are so simple you think they couldn't possibly be good, and then they are. So, I recommend this, in spite of my preference for a native Chinese author, because it's just so comprehensive and such a joy to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    I lived in Hunan for a short time, and loved loved loved the cuisine there. I bought this cookbook in hopes of replicating some of the dishes here in the states, as well as just to read about the background of the region. The recipes are great and varied but I wish that there were more photos of the food, ingredients, landscape, etc. I could do without Mao references on just about every single page. While I can find most of the ingredients easily enough, I am not that successful in making them t I lived in Hunan for a short time, and loved loved loved the cuisine there. I bought this cookbook in hopes of replicating some of the dishes here in the states, as well as just to read about the background of the region. The recipes are great and varied but I wish that there were more photos of the food, ingredients, landscape, etc. I could do without Mao references on just about every single page. While I can find most of the ingredients easily enough, I am not that successful in making them taste very authentic. Certainly, no fault of the book...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I have tried MANY MANY cookbooks but they all failed to teach me how to make anything that tastes remotely similar to authentic Chinese food. With the help of this book (and Land of Plenty), I have finally learned how to cook food that even scored compliments from my Chinese father-in-law. I loved this cookbook!

  7. 5 out of 5

    James

    Very similar to her other province specific cookbook, Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking, with the same faults and virtues. Chairman Mao's favorites were strangely amusing, he liked peasant food. The rest of the food history was also fun. Very similar to her other province specific cookbook, Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking, with the same faults and virtues. Chairman Mao's favorites were strangely amusing, he liked peasant food. The rest of the food history was also fun.

  8. 5 out of 5

    nicole

    I have to return this to the library before I actually got around to making anything from this but I just love looking through cookbooks. Even though this one has lots of meat recipes, it also has beautiful photos and great stories. There are some veggie recipes that look good too...I'll check it out again. I have to return this to the library before I actually got around to making anything from this but I just love looking through cookbooks. Even though this one has lots of meat recipes, it also has beautiful photos and great stories. There are some veggie recipes that look good too...I'll check it out again.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hoyt

    I haven't made any of the recipes yet, will have to find a good Asian food store first. Each recipe is proceeded by a story about the dish, or the region that its from. An interesting way to find out a little about part of China that I might not have seen otherwise. I'll have to update this review after trying a few of the recipes. I haven't made any of the recipes yet, will have to find a good Asian food store first. Each recipe is proceeded by a story about the dish, or the region that its from. An interesting way to find out a little about part of China that I might not have seen otherwise. I'll have to update this review after trying a few of the recipes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Desmond

    For anyone who likes Chinese food and loves to cook, this is a must have! I don't want to cook anything else. I've tried about five recipes so far, they have all been excellent, yet at the same time each dish is unique in flavor. For anyone who likes Chinese food and loves to cook, this is a must have! I don't want to cook anything else. I've tried about five recipes so far, they have all been excellent, yet at the same time each dish is unique in flavor.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jules Brugel

    Fairly good.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    I love all of her books it's amazing how she was able to bring authentic Chinese cooking to the west. I love all of her books it's amazing how she was able to bring authentic Chinese cooking to the west.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Allisonperkel

    another wonderful book on cooking from Ms Dunlop. Again the recipes are tasty, wonderful and really very home style. Her writing also helps bring the dishes to life.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    Her previous book is much better. This book has more cheesy stories, and some of the recipes seem like minor variants on ones in Land of Plenty.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cath Ferla

    rustic, homestyle recipes from Hunan. no fancy Neil Perry-style stuff here, just down to earth food with roots.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Arjun

    Pretty damn good, I must say.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bernie

    some great recipes in there, that i'll be trying out some great recipes in there, that i'll be trying out

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adam Lubin

    doesn't cover the basics nearly as well as I'd like, but has interesting recipes (and backstories, though I'm never clear on who the hell reads such things in cookbooks). doesn't cover the basics nearly as well as I'd like, but has interesting recipes (and backstories, though I'm never clear on who the hell reads such things in cookbooks).

  19. 5 out of 5

    S

    641.5951 DUN

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mellisa

    I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but most of my favorite Hunan foods are in it and the ingredients look spot on and the photos are gorgeous. This one is going to be fun to experiment with. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but most of my favorite Hunan foods are in it and the ingredients look spot on and the photos are gorgeous. This one is going to be fun to experiment with.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ysabet

    Rating is based on the reading experience, since we haven't actually tried any of the recipes yet, but all reports indicate they're excellent. Rating is based on the reading experience, since we haven't actually tried any of the recipes yet, but all reports indicate they're excellent.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kady

    I can't wait to buy this book! (see review of Land of Plenty) I can't wait to buy this book! (see review of Land of Plenty)

  23. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

    An great, easy guide to Hunan cooking. Most of the ingredients can be found at the local asian grocery and the recipes are easy to follow. Plus all the recipes are tasty.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    Up to her usual standards of excellence, but not exactly what I want to eat. The history about the Cultural Revolution's impact on food and cooking was good tho. Up to her usual standards of excellence, but not exactly what I want to eat. The history about the Cultural Revolution's impact on food and cooking was good tho.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I showed my copy of this book to my mother, who spent all her life in Hunan before moving to California in the 2000s and recreating her hometown cuisine here. She asked me to buy her a copy. That's probably the highest praise I could give. I showed my copy of this book to my mother, who spent all her life in Hunan before moving to California in the 2000s and recreating her hometown cuisine here. She asked me to buy her a copy. That's probably the highest praise I could give.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tika Marconi

    Super

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ashani

    Like Fuchsia's other books this book to soaring with compelling history and mouthwatering recipes ! Like Fuchsia's other books this book to soaring with compelling history and mouthwatering recipes !

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Could have done without all the propaganda, but otherwise I enjoyed the anecdotes and the recipes look fantastic

  29. 5 out of 5

    Avis Black

    The more I learn about Chinese cuisine, the more I realize Japanese cuisine is far more sophisticated, and Vietnamese cuisine is better at blending flavors. Chinese food really is peasant food, no matter how much you dress it up.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josh

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