Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking
By Fuchsia Dunlop


Fuchsia Dunlop was the first Westerner to attend the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, in Chengdu, and she came to fame with her first cookbook, Sichuan Cookery (called Land of Plenty in the United States), which established her as one of the top English-speaking authorities on Chinese cuisine.

Dunlop then wrote the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, on the food of Hunan province, and a volume of memoirs about living in China, Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper.

Dunlop's latest work is her first book that doesn't concentrate on the cuisine of a specific region. Instead, it's a collection of recipes based on dishes she has tasted throughout the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong (including, on page 50, the cold chicken with ginger and spring onion she ate with me at a now-closed restaurant on Jaffe Road, Wan Chai).

Dunlop writes that "Chinese home cooking is not about a rigid set of recipes, but an approach to cooking and eating that can be adapted to almost any place or circumstance … Many of the cooking methods and flavouring techniques can be applied to a wide range of ingredients … And although I've tested all the recipes with precise amounts of ingredients and seasonings, many are so simple that quantities are not critical." Spoken like a true Chinese cook.

Dunlop's recipes include Cantonese salt-and-pepper squid and clams in black bean sauce; Sichuanese braised pork with potatoes and dry-fried green beans; Chinese chives with smoked tofu, a Hunan recipe; and Yangzhou fried rice.