Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories
The stir-fry is all things: refined, improvisational, adaptable, and inventive. It is the rare culinary practice that makes less seem like more, and by which small amounts of food feed many.
For centuries the Chinese have carried their woks to all corners of the earth and re-created stir-fry dishes, using local and sometimes nontraditional ingredients. The old expression: "One wok runs to the sky’s edge" means "one who uses the wok becomes master of the cooking world." And as the wok user becomes master of the cooking world, so does he become master of the stir-fry, one of the greatest techniques of Chinese cookery.
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. In Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, James Beard 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. With more than 80 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 such beloved dishes as Kung Pao Chicken, Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli, Chicken Lo Mein with Ginger Mushrooms, and Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans. In honoring the traditions of her cultural ancestors who traveled the globe, Young offers delectable crossover recipes for Chinese Jamaican Jerk Chicken Fried Rice, Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum, Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken, and Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce.
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.
Fascinating personal portraits illustrate how stir-frying is not just a cooking technique but a vital element of China’s rich culture. 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.
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Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
Read an Excerpt
A Stir-Fry Odyssey
Chinese cooking is a cooking of scarcity. 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.
—E. N. Anderson, The Food of China
I consider stir-frying a form of culinary magic in which ingredients are transformed. Their textures are enhanced, their flavors intensified and caramelized. The alchemy of stir-frying brings a blush of color to raw shrimp and a radiance to vegetables. Meats grow plump and fragrant from browning. The stir-fry dish brings...see more
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