My search for stir-fry recipes ultimately evolved into an almost anthropological examination of the Chinese immigrant experience worldwide as expressed through the stir-fry. Stir-frying has been a continuous comfort to the Chinese diaspora. Meats grow plump and fragrant from browning. Grace Young has interviewed exceptional Chinese cooks from all over the world to document their stories and recipes and to reveal the many ways in which stir-frying has sustained the Chinese in cultures as far-flung as India, Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba, Peru, France, and America. At the age of thirteen I began an apprenticeship with Josephine Araldo, a French cooking teacher.
Her newest book, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, With Authentic Recipes and Stories is essential reading for anyone interested in Chinese cooking. Often cooks had to simplify classic dishes; at other times they substituted, embellished, or combined local ingredients and the popular tastes of their new culture with intriguing and mixed results. I asked to meet the chef and was led into the kitchen where, side by side, a Chinese and a Jamaican chef worked at the stove. Young's research extended to such unexpected countries as Trinidad, Holland, Germany and Canada. Their care was not only a matter of selecting the freshest ingredients, but also for the authenticity with which they replicated the traditional Cantonese dishes of their youth in China during the 1930s and forties.
Whether you are seeking a practical and inspiring Chinese cookbook or a beautiful culinary history, look no further. Those lessons initiated an exploration of other cuisines and led me, eventually, to my career in food. For cooks who feel they cannot stir-fry because they lack Asian ingredients, these resourceful, clever combinations are living proof that with ingenuity the improvisational possibilities are infinite. She explains why a wok is preferable to a skillet for stir-frying rice and noodles and describes the distinctions among different types of woks and skillets and how they affect results. Regardless of whether it is a ten-year-old child who learns to stir-fry when her mother falls ill, or a ninety-year-old woman who partners with her son-in-law to stir-fry, each cook demonstrates how, if you have only tasted a stir-fry in a restaurant or cooked from a recipe taken off the Internet, you have missed the humanity of stir-frying.
With this book, Grace Young has created the authoritative guide to stir-frying, a work that is at once rewarding and beautiful, much like the technique of stir-frying itself. I interviewed Chinese whose families were among the first to settle in towns in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Expert home cooks and professional chefs teach you the foundations of stir-fry mastery in the modern kitchen—everything from how to choose, season, and care for a wok and the best skillet alternative; the importance of marinades and the proper technique for slicing meat and poultry for optimum tenderness; to how to select and handle Asian vegetables; ways to shortcut labor-intensive preparations; and tips on how to control heat and choose the best cooking oil. She shares innovative crossover recipes that illustrate the adaptability of the stir-fry technique for fusing the traditions of numerous cultures including surprises such as Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum, Chinese-Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice, and Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Pancetta from France. My passion for recording and preserving Chinese culinary traditions continues to lead me in quest of home cooks who understand and enjoy the benefits Chinese cooking. The story of stir-frying is one of cultural perseverance and healthy, flavorful cooking, of universality and subtle distinction, of the Chinese diaspora and local character.
Then I heard about a Chinese Indian restaurant in New York City called Chinese Mirch. The Indian American owner brought me into the kitchen to meet his Cantonese chefs. Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge is a comprehensive guide to the art of stir-frying that offers detailed instructions for making all the classic stir-fries—dry, moist, clear, and velvet. Young's work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Gourmet, Gastronomica, and Saveur magazine where she is also a contributing editor. Buy it, read it, cook from it—and soon you will be on your way to becoming a stir-frying master yourself.
There I sampled wildly spicy Sichuan vegetarian fried rice page 265 , made with basmati rice, and Chicken Manchurian page 142 , a scrumptious stir-fry generously spiced with fresh chilies. My second cookbook, The Breath of a Wok, grew out of the realization that most Chinese Americans know little about their own culinary traditions, specifically wok cooking. Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for International Cooking The stir-fry is all things: refined, improvisational, adaptable, and inventive. The subject of the diaspora and their experiences with stir-frying is vast and deserves its own study. Click to buy Grace Young's new book Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories, demystifies and celebrates the art of stir-frying with instruction, stories of home cooks and professionals, and recipes from across the world. In Redwood City, California, Fah Liong stir-fries the same simple Hakka dishes her mother taught her in Indonesia, substituting American vegetables for the Asian produce she once used. In Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, award-winning author Grace Young shares more than 100 classic stir-fry recipes that sizzle with heat and pop with flavor, from the great Cantonese stir-fry masters to the culinary customs of Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai, Beijing, Fujian, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, as well as other countries around the world.
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge offers over 100 recipes, with classic dishes from Guangzhou Canton , Shanghai, Fujian, Sichuan, Hunan, Beijing, and Hong Kong, such as the revered Kung Pao Chicken, Stir-Fried Ginger Beef, and Dry Fried Sichuan Beans. The technique and tradition of stir-frying, which is at once simple yet subtly complex, is as vital today as it has been for hundreds of years. With more than eighty stunning full-color photographs, Young's definitive work illustrates the innumerable, easy-to-learn possibilities the technique offers--dry stir-fries, moist stir-fries, clear stir-fries, velvet stir-fries--and weaves the insights of Chinese cooking philosophy into the preparation of beloved dishes as Kung Pao Chicken, Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, Chicken Lo Mein with Ginger Mushrooms, and Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans. Whatever the emperors and warlords may have had, the vast majority of Chinese spent their lives short of fuel, cooking oil, utensils, and even water. One of my favorite dishes she stir-fried was ginger tomato beef page 80 , a recipe she never considered making with chicken or pork. I even became fascinated by the language of stir-frying. To my great surprise, the dish was wonderful—the spicy, robust jerk chicken was beautifully suited to the rice flavored with soy sauce and speckled with chopped onions, scallions, and finely diced carrots.
Chinese migration continues to this day to the far corners of the globe. In fact, seven and a half million Chinese left southern China at the beginning of the nineteenth century because of economic poverty, with the vast majority remaining in Southeast Asia. Recipes are clearly written and detailed; you'll get the requisite hand-holding to stir-fry your way to a delicious dinner. Like Young's previous cookbooks, this book is crafted with spectacular photographs and elegant writing, Filled with a wealth of instruction, cultural history, personal experiences, and hard-earned advice, this the first and only Chinese cookbook to describe the optimal approaches for stir-frying meat poultry, fish, shellfish, vegetables, rice, and noodles. The book's recipes are interspersed with culinary lessons and detailed sidebars. It is a remarkable collaboration between a writer and a photographer that reveals what the wok symbolizes---a craft, an art, a container of communal harmony and balance.
I had become aware also of how cooks in China were abandoning their classic, well-seasoned iron woks for inferior nonstick cookware. And what could be healthier than cooking with a minimum of meat and fat and emphasizing vegetables of every kind? Were there other stir-fries like jerk chicken fried rice, invented when the tastes of two cultures merged? Over the next few years, I made numerous trips back to San Francisco from my home in New York to cook with my 70-year old mother and 82-year old father. For example, my mother would always stir-fry ginger with Chinese broccoli page 190 , never garlic. About the Author: I grew up in San Francisco surrounded, on the one hand, by the immigrant Chinese traditions of my family and relatives, and, on the other, by an innovative American culinary culture. In this cookbook I share with you all the stir-fry principles and knowledge I have learned from home cooks, master chefs, and cooking teachers from around the world. Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for International Cooking, this is the authoritative guide to stir-frying: the cooking technique that makes less seem like more, extends small amounts of food to feed many, and makes ingredients their most tender and delicious.