The Breath of a Wok

Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Throug

Photographer Alan Richardson
LIST PRICE £9.99

About The Book

Award-winning author Grace Young celebrates and demystifies the art of wok cooking for the Western home cook.

Young’s fascination with wok cooking began in San Francisco’s Chinatown, where her father taught her to appreciate wok hay, the elusive and prized taste that food achieves when cooked in a wok. As an adult, her quest to reproduce that extraordinary taste sent her on a journey through America, Hong Kong, and China, where she gathered stories, recipes, and advice from home cooks, professional chefs, and culinary teachers. The result is not just a cookbook but a unique documentation of a way of life: wok cooking is not just about recipes, but about cultivating and cooking with all the senses, and about perpetuating one of the world’s oldest culinary traditions.

Beginning with the selection, seasoning, and care of a wok, Young elucidates the secrets of wok hay and offers 120 recipes ranging from simple to complex, including favorites like Kung Pao Chicken and Moo Shoo Pork as well as unusual dishes like Tofu with Cilantro Relish and Stir-Fried Garlic Lettuce. Young also offers menu suggestions for family-style meals and Chinese New Year celebrations, plus a comprehensive glossary and resource list. Illustrated with 150 photographs by acclaimed photographer Alan Richardson, The Breath of a Wok is an extraordinary culinary adventure.

About The Authors

Photo Credit: Steven Mark Needham

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.

Photo Credit:

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.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 25, 2013)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476740249

Raves and Reviews

Amy Tan, author of The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings and The Joy Luck Club Grace Young takes us into the heart of wok cooking -- from the master cooks of China to the culinary luminaries of the United States. We're privileged to hear the age-old secrets of seasoning a wok and the stories behind family recipes. This is a cookbook that sizzles, sings, and ultimately has you sighing with pleasure.

Ming Tsai, chef-owner of Blue Ginger and author of Simply Ming The Breath of a Wok will bring to you a new appreciation of Chinese culinary history. Grace takes us on an unforgettable journey, traveling throughout China's provinces to learn about this ancient culinary tool, accompanied by the phenomenal photography of Alan Richardson.

Betty Fussell, author of My Kitchen Wars: A Memoir If you've never used a wok, you must have this book. If you've always used a wok, you must have this book. This book is not just about the care and feeding of the wok as a useful kitchen pan, but 'the wok as a way of life,' a bridge between cultures for a Chinese American in search of history and destiny. It is also a remarkable collaboration between a writer and a photographer seeking to integrate text and images in a form that reveals what the wok symbolizes -- a craft, an art, a container of communal harmony and balance.

Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets The Breath of a Wok is a truly inspired book. I loved every piece of it -- from the journey into the complex and fading world of wok culture to the pictures of the people cooking to the recipes. This is the ideal book on food -- history, culture, people, and recipes all together, as they should be.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of public radio's national food show The Splendid Table® What a joy this book is. If you're a rookie cook, Grace Young is a generous, profoundly knowledgeable guide. If you live to stir-fry, Grace will be your new guru. The Breath of a Wok is an "A" list work.

Pang-Mei Natasha Chang, author of Bound Feet & Western Dress: A Memoir I've been in Chinese kitchens all my life, but Grace Young has opened my eyes to the splendor of the wok and its place in Chinese culture. This tribute to the workhorse of Chinese cooking resonates with the passion of a travelogue and intimacy of a memoir.

Paula Wolfert, author of The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for a Passionate Cook Grace Young's The Breath of a Wok is an exciting addition to my collection. I now at last understand wok hay, the sublime seared taste that only great stir-fry dishes possess. Anyone who loves Chinese food will learn much from this beautifully written book.

E. N. Anderson, author of The Food of China The Breath of a Wok is the best and most thorough book on the wok so far. No one else has stepped forward to evaluate the different materials and seasoning methods so thoroughly. It reminded me of wonderful days in the now-long-lost world of Hong Kong.

Ken Hom, author of Ken Hom's Top 100 Stir Fries Grace Young weaves wok stories and savory recipes with clear instructions; she makes you understand why the wok is one of the world's most popular cooking utensils.

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