The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo – My Favorite Chinese Cookbook

The Key to Chinese Cooking

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I have had my copy of The Key to Chinese Cooking cookbook since shortly after I got married in 1982. You don’t want to know what kind of shape it is in – I use it so often. Any time I want to cook Chinese it’s the first book I go to.

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Table of Contents

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About The Key to Chinese Cooking:

Discover the fundamental techniques and methods of Chinese cooking. This welcoming novice’s guide teaches the four major methods of Chinese cuisine through easy-to-follow beginner’s recipes and offers over 300 authentic Chinese dishes for foreign cooks to try. Enjoy fresh, delicious Chinese meals right at home!

Analyses of and explicit instruction in the fundamental techniques of Chinese cooking are followed by more than three hundred recipes for simple and exotic, traditional and original main and side dishes

About the Author:

was the author of The Key to Chinese Cooking and an influential popularizer of Chinese cuisine in the United States and the West during the 1960s and 1970s. Her appearances on American talk-shows such as Johnny Carson’s and Joan Rivers’, as well as her successful restaurants, were instrumental in her popularization and education efforts.

My Opinion:

This wonderful book is no longer in print but you can find used copies for sale. I have a myriad of other Chinese cookbooks and yet it is still this one I go to first when I want to make a Chinese meal for dinner.

The recipes are simple yet delicious and they are mostly easy to follow. Some of the ingredients can be interesting to source although that has gotten much easier with the internet. Back in the early days it was a bit more challenging – especially living in the middle of nowhere as I did at the time.

My copy is in terrible shape but I don’t care. I have my favorite recipes that the book somehow knows I want when I want. The very first thing I cooked from it was a simple dinner called One Pork, Two Tastes. I had a piece of pork and was looking for something to do with it. I still make it every now and then for the nostalgia – it was in the very first months of our marriage that I first made it. In fact, when I pick up the book it still opens to the page with the recipe for it. I will include it below.

If you can track down a copy it is a really good book to add to your cookbook library. (You can buy a used copy on

I obviously don’t have a demonstration for this because right now I don’t have a kitchen to speak of and I am barely cooking anything. My poor husband is lucky he is getting soup heated up these days. It’s good I did all that canning last year. We are living off of that right now.

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