The Breath of a Wok

Breath of a Wok

The Breath of a Wok

When Grace Young was a child, her father instilled in her a lasting appreciation of wok hay, the highly prized but elusive taste that food achieves when properly stir-fried in a wok. As an adult, Young aspired to create that taste in her own kitchen.

Grace Young's quest to master wok cooking led her throughout the United States, Hong Kong, and mainland China. Along with award-winning photographer Alan Richardson, Young sought the advice of home cooks, professional chefs, and esteemed culinary teachers like Cecilia Chiang, Florence Lin, and Ken Hom. Their instructions, stories, and recipes, gathered in this richly designed and illustrated volume, offer not only expert lessons in the art of wok cooking, but also capture a beautiful and timeless way of life.

With its emphasis on cooking with all the senses, The Breath of a Wok brings the techniques and flavors of old-world wok cooking into today's kitchen, enabling anyone to stir-fry with wok hay. IACP award-winner Young details the fundamentals of selecting, seasoning, and caring for a wok, as well as the range of the wok's uses; this surprisingly inexpensive utensil serves as the ultimate multipurpose kitchen tool. The 125 recipes are a testament to the versatility of the wok, with stir-fried, smoked, pan-fried, braised, boiled, poached, steamed, and deep-fried dishes that include not only the classics of wok cooking, like Kung Pao Chicken and Moo Shoo Pork, but also unusual dishes like Sizzling Pepper and Salt Shrimp, Three Teacup Chicken, and Scallion and Ginger Lo Mein. Young's elegant prose and Richardson's extraordinary photographs create a unique and unforgettable picture of artisan wok makers in mainland China, street markets in Hong Kong, and a "wok-a-thon" in which Young's family of aunties, uncles, and cousins cooks together in a lively exchange of recipes and stories. A visit with author Amy Tan also becomes a family event when Tan and her sisters prepare New Year's dumplings. Additionally, there are menus for family-style meals and for Chinese New Year festivities, an illustrated glossary, and a source guide to purchasing ingredients, woks, and accessories.

Written with the intimacy of a memoir and the immediacy of a travelogue, this recipe-rich volume is a celebration of cultural and culinary delights.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743238274 | 
  • September 2004
Add to Cart
List Price $37.50
In Stock: Usually ships within 1 business day


Author Grace Young Reveals Her Previous Occupations

Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge author Grace Young goes down memory lane as she talks about her previous food related jobs.

More Books from this Author

Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen

About the Authors

Grace Young
Photo Credit: Steven Mark Needham

Grace Young

Grace Young is an award-winning food writer and the author of Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge,The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen and The Breath of a Wok. Her work has appeared in Gourmet, Metropolitan Home, Copia, Gastronomica, Eating Well, More, Fitness, Home,and Health magazine. For seventeen years, Young was the Test Kitchen Director and Director for Food Photography for over forty cookbooks published by Time-Life Books. She is now a consulting editor at Saveur.

Alan Richardson
Photo Credit:

Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson is an award-winning photographer and designer whose work has appeared in Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, and The New York Times Magazine. He has done the photography for countless cookbooks and is the co-author of The Four Seasons of Italian Cooking. He lives in New York City.


Related Websites