The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook

October 16, 2010 · Posted in Bestselling Cooking Books 

Product Description
An essential resource in the American kitchen and a classic for nearly four decades, this is the definitive Chinese cookbook, perfect for cooks at every level Here is the largest, most comprehensive Chinese cookbook ever published for the Western world. A Tastemaker Award winner, Gloria Bley Miller distills centuries of Chinese recipes and techniques into concise and easy-to-follow directions that will enable any cook to produce dishes that please th… More >>

The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook

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5 Responses to “The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook”

  1. Anonymous on October 16th, 2010 6:12 pm

    My parents are Cantonese and I grew up eating home-style food. When I left home for college in the 1980’s, I lugged Miller’s book with me, hoping to satisfy my ethnic belly. My dad, a professional cook who owned a restaurant, doubted the efficacy of the recipes and he was right — they were a disappointment! It wasn’t that I lacked cooking skills (I spent most of my weekends helping Dad in his kitchen, so I was competent in that way). He thought Miller’s understanding of basic cooking principles was less than complete. Take her recipe for Steamed Eggs. Whenever my parents made this dish, the resulting custard was beautifully silky. But when I followed Miller’s recipe to the letter, I wound up with a rubbery mat of inedible green protein. Eggs should never be overcooked, and that’s what Miller’s ‘steam for 20-30 minutes’ instructions did to them.

    I won’t go into the gory details about the other recipes I tried. (There was always some crucial bit of knowledge missing that made a mess of a dish.) I suspect Miller didn’t actually put the vast majority of her recipes to the test. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that in her zeal to amass 1000 recipes for her opus, she relied too heavily on her sources and then opted not to make the time-consuming effort of actually testing ALL the recipes herself.

    At the time I bought this book, it never occurred to me to question the author’s accuracy or skill. The sheer mass of the book seemed to be so thorough, so complete. Well, size isn’t everything! I have a puny Cantonese cookbook featuring less than 75 recipes, but every single one of them turned out dishes as tasty as anything my folks fed me. (Sadly, this book is out of print.)
    Chinese cookbooks have come a long way since Miller got published, so shop around. For homestyle Cantonese cooking, I like and respect Grace Young’s “The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen”. Her directions and tips produce good food. She also included some folk remedy recipes I’ve rarely seen in print. (For those of us who remember how our moms used to drink quarts of a special tonic after giving birth to one of our sibs, well, guess what? here’s your chance to find out exactly what grandma put into that evil-tasting soup!)

    Eileen Yin-Fei Lo also wrote some decent books. I particularly liked “From the Earth: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking”. (Her method for cooking Stir-Fry Lettuce was dead on.) As for her most recent work “The Chinese Kitchen” … well, it IS a beautiful book … some of her recipes are suitable for every day cooking (I thought her seafood dishes were quick and easy), but a good many of the other recipes were not dishes I’d want to tackle after a long day at work, so I can’t recommend these to a beginner. If, however, you are an experienced cook who likes a weekend cooking challenge, then go for it!
    Rating: 2 / 5

  2. Peter Lin on October 16th, 2010 8:53 pm

    I am a first generation chinese-american and love cooking. I bought the book hoping to get a good reference book. I do most of the cooking and was hoping there would be some of the more exotic dishes. The book provides a solid basis for beginners, but it doesn’t contain regional dishes that one can find in china town in SF or monterey park in CA. If you’re looking for taiwanese, cantonese or schzwan favorites, they’re not in this book.
    But then again, those dishes (dan dan mien, da bien, wonton noodle soup) are not typically served at your local chinese restaurant outside of CA or NY. If you’re looking for an introduction to chinese cooking and don’t particularly care to adventure into the exotic regional dishes, this book will serve you well. If you’re a food nut like me, it will serve as a nice reference. If you want cookbooks that cover regional recipes, look at your local asian marke, they may have chinese cookbooks which also have english.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. GadgetGuy on October 16th, 2010 9:56 pm

    I purchased my own copy of this wonderful cookbook after a friend lent me hers, and I realized I couldn’t live without it! Yes, it’s really that good.

    The real power and utility of this cookbook lies not in its 1,000 recipes (which is a claim I suspect is true, though I’ve not actually counted them). The real value here is that Miller takes the time to present the basics, and then encourages improvisation and creativity.

    So, for example, while there are dozens of recipes for stir-fried chicken with all manner of vegetable combinations, the reality is that you could do with just one or two of them. Then, just follow the insights presented on prep and cooking time requirements for specific vegetables in the wok, perhaps follow some of her suggested combinations, and then have a ball using what you happen to have on-hand, what’s cheap, or what’s in-season.

    For having 1,000 recipes in it, notably absent are some of the popular (perhaps “Americanized”) recipes you might find in the typical Chinese restaurant. For example, there’s no cashew chicken to be found. But here again, find something close, and do your own thing… Just prepare the chicken and peanuts, use cashews instead, and while you’re at it, make your own picks for veggies to go in the dish (or duplicate what your favorite restaurant happens to throw in).

    This is bound to be one of those cookbooks that shows as evidence of its utility numerous stains of soy sauce and other ingredients on its pages…
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Paula ( on October 16th, 2010 10:12 pm

    Our family has used this book for Chinese cooking extensively since 1965. This is the most useful book on the market because it includes descriptions of all of the basic methods of Chinese cookery as well as complete information on buying and storing special ethnic ingredients. The recipes are simple to use and each method may be mastered in turn. If I had to choose one Chinese cookbook this would be it. In 1965, before everyone was cooking Chinese food, I went to a hardware store in New York’s Chinatown to buy my basic equipment. I was carrying this book. The Chinese proprietor stopped me to say that he had just bought this book for his Americanized daughter so that she should not forget her heritage. He thought the book was that good. I do too.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Marc Ruby™ on October 17th, 2010 12:43 am

    I was packing my cookbooks in preparation for some kitchen remodeling and, for the umpteenth time I found myself paging through Gloria Miller’s opus magnus on Chinese cooking. This is probably the most worn out book on the shelf – stained, dog-eared, scribbled in, and every other horrible thing that could happen to a book that is normally open when cooking. I still love this book, although I’ve absorbed enough knowledge over 30 or so years of using it so that it has had a chance to rest.

    There are countless chapters on ingredients, techniques, tools and everything else one needs to know. And an unending supply of recipes and variations on recipes. All of this is done in a well-written, reader friendly style that engages the budding Chinese cook and unfolds a whole new world of cooking. I don’t know if there really are a thousand recipes here, but I can testify that I have eaten at least a thousand meals that were cooked based on these pages.

    When this cookbook was written, Chinese food stapes that we take for granted today were often hard to come by. To overcome this, Miller spends a considerable amount of time on substitutes. This is still important today, even when all the key spices are readily available on the internet. One you grasp the principles, almost anything is eligible for a trip to the wok.

    This is one of those landmark cookbooks. Dating back to the beginnings of the popularity of oriental cooking, it has been the mainstay of a generation of cooks. While most cookbook’s tend to alternate chitchat with recipes and a smattering of explanation, Miller’s book is a primer on the theory of Chinese cooking that contains a whole spectrum or information. If you want to get past the occasional stir-fry, this is your best roadmap.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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