Fuschia Dunlop must rank amongst the most knowledgeable Westerners with regards to Sichuan cookery.
She's a veritable authority on it and the first Westerner to train at the Sichuan High Institute of Cuisine. She's also travelled China extensively for two decades collecting recipes.
In her most recent book, Every Grain of Rice, she takes inspiration from the healthy and vibrant home cooking of Southern China – where meat and fish are eaten but in moderation and vegetables enjoy centre stage.
Recipes are wonderfully named – blanched choy sam with sizzling oil, Hangzhou broad beans with ham, pock-marked old woman’s beancurd; they’re approachable and fun too, featuring quick solutions for the busy cook like Fuschia’s emergency late night noodles.
Many of the recipes in Every Grain of Rice require few ingredients – rather a pleasure for an Asian cookery book, most of which require a lengthy shop in Chinatown to get started.
The book also works as a great primer to the key techniques and seasonings used in the Chinese kitchen; as well as this it highlights some of the ‘magic ingredients’ that can elevate vegetarian cooking into something really special.
Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop published by Bloomsbury, RRP £25