Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge

Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge - Autographed by Grace Young
Learn more about Grace Young, the highly acclaimed wok and stir fry expert, at Grace Young's website.

Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories, Grace Young. Simon & Schuster, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4165-8057-7

Stir-frying may have been pedestrianized by generations of vegetarian college students, but this beautiful, comprehensive cookbook restores it to its rightful place among the most elegant cookery techniques. The virtues of stir-frying, Young writes, are many: it makes bounty out of small amounts of meat and oil; it emphasizes healthful vegetables; and most importantly, it creates '"alchemic" flavor out of raw ingredients. Young (The Breath of a Wok), has a scholarly yet impassioned approach, and she fuses personal anecdotes, meticulously researched history, and stir-fry-related arcana to illuminate her subject. She covers types of woks and utensils and a recommended stir-fry pantry, including a photograph of sauces with tricky-to-decipher packaging.

At the book's heart are the classic techniques and dishes of China's regional cuisines, such as Hunan-style cumin beef, Cantonese chicken with black bean sauce, and stir-fried Sichuan beans. Still, for Young, who always travels with her own wok, the story of stir-frying is also the story of the Chinese diaspora. By tracing the stir-fry around the world, she demonstrates all of the diversity it can contain: Jamaican stir-fried chicken with chayote, Cuban fried rice, and Peruvian stir-fried filet mignon. For the serious home cook, this informative, lyrical tome is an inspiration (source: Publisher's Weekly).

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