Recommended Cookbook of the Month: The Food of Sichuan
By Fuchsia Dunlop
If you are a bit of a food nerd then you will love this book. The first 60 pages of this book go into meticulous detail on ‘the story of Sichuan Cuisine’, from the kitchen, to larder, to table. I imagine that most of the information you could ever need to know about the cuisine of Sichuan lies in these pages. Every chapter is headed up with yet more nuggets of knowledge and every recipe has a story to go with it. This is the kind of recipe book that I love and know that I will cherish for years and years. I also really appreciate the use of language in the book - it’s never ‘cook for 3 minutes’, it will say ‘cook until it smells lovely’. I like the sense of ambiguity and trust in the reader that this demonstrates - although perhaps a bit of a turn off for a novice cook!
Favourite recipe: Mapo Tofu - This is a very basic recipe but one I found to be revolutionary in my journey with tofu. Read more on this recipe, here.
Best for beginners: Gong Bao Chicken - As eluded to above, this is perhaps not the best suited book for beginners but the Gong Bao chicken is utterly uncomplicated and provides a familiar taste for anyone who has ever had Chinese take away (it’s basically Kung Pao Chicken).
I’m looking forward to trying: Numbing and Hot hotpot - I’ve tried a couple of hot pots in the last year but haven’t found the time yet to try Fuschia’s version. I don’t imagine I will be disappointed.
If you are interested in Sichuan cuisine but not enough to read 60 pages on it (fair enough), one of my upcoming classes focuses on Sichuan cooking and the recipes used for Dan Dan Noodles and Cold tossed Wontons are inspired by this book. You can book onto this class here: https://www.eatwithailsa.com/bookings-checkout/celebrating-more-of-asia