Chinatowns, Asian Cooking from Around the World

Tuesday 4 August 2015

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I was recently sent this cookery book, CHINATOWNS, Asian Cooking from around the world in 100 recipes to review.  This is a visually stunning cookbook, by author Jean‐Francois Mallet, a trained chef and photographer.  The author actually goes behind the scenes in Chinese communities around the world in order to understand how and why the food changes so much depending on location. As well as intimate portraits of these fascinating communities, the book contains a hundred delicious recipes capturing the essence of China Towns from across the world and their various geographical influences.

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It is divided into eleven chapters covering everything from starters to dessert . . .   Dumplings, Soups and Broths, Chicken and Quail, Beef, Pork, Duck, Fish and Seafood, Wierd and Wonderful, Vegetable, Rice and Side Dishes, Noodles,  and Tea, Drinks and Desserts.

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Each recipe is accompanied by a colour photograph.   I like this in a cookbook, especially when the book is about food I am not familiar with.  It helps me to understand what the finished dish should look like.

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It also acts as a virtual tour of different Chinese Communities around the world and the restaurants you would find within them.   I found this quite interesting also.

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There are also handy step by step photographs for several recipes throughout the book, which would come in very handy when attempting to do some of the more complicated dishes.

If the book has any drawback at all it would be sourcing the more unsual ingredients required for some of the recipes.  Unless you live in an area which has a Chinatown, some of these might be quite difficult to aquire.  I would recommend this book for the keen cook who really wants to stretch their Asian cooking skills and doesn't mind sourcing out unsual ingredients.

I always like to try at least one recipe from the books I am sent so that I can let you know how they work.   This time I chose Broth with Wonton Dumplings.   It seemed to be one of the simpler recipes in the book.  I was unable to acquire all of the ingredients necessary for the dish, but  did end up with quite a delicious soup at the end of it all.

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*Broth with Wonton Dumplings*
Serves 4
A recipe from the book China Towns, by Jean Francois Mallet.

For the broth:
2 chicken carcasses
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 small spring onions (scallions)
30g (1 oz) piece of ginger
50g (1 3/4 oz) dried black mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
coarse salt
For the dumplings:
4 spring onions (scallions)
200g (7 ounces) lean pork
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg yolk
3 TBS soy sauce
50g (1 3/4 oz) shrimps
40 Chinese wonton wrappers
salt and pepper

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For the broth, break up the chicken carcasses, put them in a large pan and pour over 2 litres (3 1/2 pints/8 1/2 cups water.  Smash the unpeeled garlic cloves and add these, the onions and the peeled and sliced ginger and simmer over low heat for 2 hours.  Strain teh broth into a clean pan.  (You should have about 1 litre/1 3/4 pints/4 cups) and add the mushrooms.   Keep warm.

Meanwhile chop the spring onions with the pork and mix with the sesame oil, egg holk and soy sauce.  Peel the shrimps, add them to the filling and season. Place a wonton square in the palm of your hand.  Add 1 tsp of the filling, then fold over to form a triangle.  Press down and pinch the edges to seal tightly.  Cook the dumplings for 10 minutes in a pan of boiling water.  Divide the dumplings among four bowls, pour over the hot broth and serve.

Asian Cooking from around the world
in 100 recipes
by Jean Francois Mallet

Recipes and photographs:
Jean-François Mallet, words Emmanuelle Jarry, illustrations Marie-Paule Jaulme

Published by jacqui small 
ISBN 978-1-910254-23-3
Hard cover,  colour photographs, 416 pages
RRP £30.00 UK, $35.00 USA, $38.99 CAN


  1. I just know..I would like Asian recipes and your soup looks divine Marie.
    Pretty pics!!!

  2. Thanks Monique! I love wonton soup myself! I know you like Asian recipes. I wish we could get the ingredients more readily where I live in Chester! xoxo


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