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JAMES BEARD AWARD WINNER • IACP AWARD WINNER • 100+ fresh, plant-based, umami-packed recipes that show the range of traditional and modern Chinese vegan cuisine from the creator of The Plant-Based Wok.
ONE OF THE TEN BEST COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, Simply Recipes
ONE OF THE BEST COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, Saveur, Vice, Epicurious, Library Journal
When Hannah Che decided to become a vegan, she worried that it would separate her from the traditions and food that her Chinese family celebrated. But that was before she learned about zhai cai, the plant-based Chinese cuisine that emphasizes umami-rich ingredients and can be traced back over centuries to Buddhist temple kitchens.
In The Vegan Chinese Kitchen, through gorgeous photography, stories, and recipes, Hannah Che shows us the magic of this highly developed and creative tradition in which nearly every dish in the Chinese repertoire can be replicated in a meatless way, such as Blistered Dry-Fried String Beans or Sweet and Sour Tofu. You’ll also find recipes that are naturally plant-based and as irresistible as they are nourishing, such as flaky scallion pancakes, corn stir-fried with peppers and pine nuts, or pea shoots braised in a velvety mushroom broth made with sesame-oil roux.
This book will delight vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike, inviting you to explore a whole world of flavors and ingredients.
Honoring a Chinese cuisine that dates back to the Xia dynasty in 2070–1600 BCE, Che, creator of the Plant-Based Wok blog, serves up an invigorating collection of recipes that put a plant-based spin on the dishes of her heritage. The Chinese word for vegetarian, su, connotes foods that are "simple, quiet and plainly unadorned," exemplified here by delectable dishes like blanched lettuce in a delicate ginger-soy sauce, stir-fried lotus root, and cucumber salad heated with chili oil and garlic. Separate chapters on tofu and tofu skin (with maker profiles) recast bean curd as a worthy ingredient dished out in many forms, from dried sticks to deep-fried. Che delves into the tradition of tofu as "mock meat" (as in tofu-skin "roast goose" rolls) with a historical long view that casts it as playful rather than ascetic. Meanwhile, an informative chapter on gluten, "the ‘muscle' of wheat," touts the ingredient's strengths (including its "meaty texture and ability to absorb flavor") and offers instructions for making it from scratch. "Dessert doesn't really exist in Chinese food," Che explains, but a few sweet soups conclude a chapter on congee. Family photos interspersed with glamour shots of food feel right in a book whose style so perfectly aligns with its winning subject.