Cookbook Profile

Martin Yan's Feast
Twenty Years of
The Best of Yan Can Cook

By Martin Yan

Martin Yan's Feast  
"This is a well-thought-out, well-built cookbook with a lot of depth; in my opinion, it is the most complete and best cookbook that Martin has written. In addition to the recipes, you are treated to his own brand of Chinese philosophy, forthright, and user-friendly cuisine. Being American as well as Chinese, Martin is well aware of the limitations of markets, and he knows where the tastes of people are today; and in this great book he does succeed in satisfying both the Chinese and American palate. I know I will cook from it, and I'm sure that once you try some of the recipes, you will do the same.

...Jacques Pepin, from his introduction in Martin Yan's Feast

"Chile fan mei you?" Translation: it is Chinese for "Have you eaten yet?" It is one of the most common Chinese greetings, which clearly demonstrates how important eating is to the Chinese. According to Martin Yan, the popular and dynamic star of public television's Yan Can Cook, the Chinese "talk all day about where and what they're going to eat. Then when they're finally eating, they talk about what they'll have for their next meal." For almost twenty years, Martin Yan has brought Asian culture and cooking into homes all over the world. In his ninth book Martin Yan's Feast: The Best of Yan Can Cook, he presents the magic of the Orient in a compilation of some of his favorite dishes--a magnificent collection of home-style recipes, mostly Chinese, with a few Southeast Asian, Korean, and Japanese dishes tossed into the mix to keep things lively.

An acclaimed television host, highly respected food and restaurant consultant, and certified Master Chef, Martin Yan enjoys the distinction of both teacher and author. He presents recipes that are accessible and enjoyable to cooks at every level. Some of his previous books include The Chinese Chef, A Wok For All Seasons, and Martin Yan's Culinary Journey Through China. Having just completed its seventh season on public television, Yan Can Cook has been twice recognized by the James Beard Foundation for Best Television Cooking Show (1994) and Best Television Food Journalism (1996). with an unflagging sense of humor, insatiable curiosity, and a heartfelt respect for the traditions of Asian cooking, Yan is dedicated to dispelling the mysteries of Asian cooking and furthering the understanding and enjoyment of the cuisines of Asia.

In the preface by Jacques Pepin, one of America's best known TV chefs, Martin Yan's Feast is the very best of the Yan Can Cook shows all in one volume and contains over 275 of Yan's favorite recipes accompanied by 75 full-page color photos. Yan has added new information and tips to recipes that have been revised to accommodate today's cooking styles: lighter, more healthful ingredients, simpler techniques; quick, easy preparations that can be prepared even on a busy weeknight Yan presents a whole philosophy of eating that has sustained a quarter of the world's population for thousands of years, and that Americans are discovering is right in line with the way they want to eat today--full of fresh vegetables and grains, a healthy balance of proteins and carbohydrates, less fat, and quick.

Martin Yan's Feast is filled with easy-to-follow recipes, reinforcing Yan's emphasis on the simplicity of Chinese cuisine. "The more I learn about the essential principles of Chinese cuisine, the more I understand that they're always the same, whether you're preparing a 36-course banquet or a simple bowl of noodles" explains Yan. "What makes any Chinese meal remarkable is the sense of simplicity and a natural sense of balance of flavor, aroma, color, and texture." with this, Yan leads through the basic techniques of Chinese cooking, including shopping for ingredients, methods of food preparation, and stocking the kitchen with the proper cooking. tools.

Each chapter is a lesson about the Chinese meal: appetizers and dim sum (Classic Wontons and Spring Rolls), soups (Velvet Corn Soup), salads (Shrimp Salad with Tropical Fruit Salsa), tofu and eggs (Braised Spicy Tofu, Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp), rice (Curried Coconut Rice), noodles and breads (Thai-Style Rice Noodles, Sesame Seed Pillows), vegetables (Asparagus with Sweet and Pungent Dressing, Braised Stuffed Shittake Mushrooms), meat (Spicy Hunan Beef), poultry (Braised Orange-Flavored Duck), seafood (Salmon in Parchment with Black Bean Sauce), desserts (Mango Pudding and, of course, Fortune Cookies!), as well as drinks (Pineapple Ginger Soda).

"Chinese cooking is easier than you think," according to Yan. "In this book, I'm not going to pretend to tell you how to create a grand banquet for a thousand people, or even how to make a meal that rivals what you'd find in an outstanding Chinese restaurant. What I'm going to show you here are dishes you can cook for your family for dinner tonight, with minimal equipment, a few simple ingredients, and some very easy techniques. This isn't watered-down Chinese cooking. It's my interpretation of simple, home-style recipes, adapted for Western cooks like you."

Martin Yan's Feast is a labor of love that has been twenty years in the making. Yan assures his readers that "Before long, you'll be tasting something you won't believe you made yourself," and comes with Yan's personal guarantee: "If Yan can cook, so can you!"

Martin Yan is the popular and dynamic star of public television's Yan Can Cook, now in its seventh season. A prolific chef, teacher, and entrepreneur, he is the author of eight earlier cookbooks, including Martin Yan's Culinary Journey and Martin Yan's Asia (both published by Bay Books).


Martin Yan's Feast:
The Best of Yan Can Cook

By Martin Yan
Bay Books, San Francisco
Hardback, $34.95
400 pages, 75 color photos
Publication date: October 1998
ISBN 0-912333-31-6
Information provided by the publisher.


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This page created February 1999