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100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes

A Taste of China

Chinese Cookery

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Cookbook Collection:
Ken Hom

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100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes

A Taste of China

Chinese Cookery

A Taste of China

A Taste of China is one of Ken Hom’s first books and probably one of the best. It’s now back in print and I would urge anyone who has an interest in China and its food to buy a copy.

A Taste of China This is described as the definitive guide to regional cooking and it is indeed that, but it’s also a very personal and charming journey. Ken visits his family and an ancestral shrine with his mother for the first time, and finds that he is very much at home. It’s Ken’s relationship with the Chinese people that has allowed him to write this unique book.

Ken Hom was one of the first and is still one of the most respected Chinese food writers and was the first to make Chinese food truly accessible to the British home cook. His quiet reserve and his evident passion endeared him to millions. This book reflects just that same passion and pride.

 Some of the dishes will be quite familiar to lovers of Chinese food and they are classics. Ken has included a number of family recipes and that adds so much to the quality of this volume. Every single recipe has a history or anecdote to give some background to the dish and to fire the imagination. This is a book to read before you even consider putting a hand on a wok, and could almost be part of an autobiography.

There is not much here for which you would need a trip to Chinatown. All the ingredients are now quite common in any average UK high street with an Asian supermarket. It’s the combinations of flavours that make these dishes something special. There is nothing taxing about the cooking methods but all these recipes are authentic, diverse and delicious. There are examples of street food, health-reviving recipes, restaurant dishes, and city and country cooking.

One of my favourite dishes for a quick meal is Dan Dan Mian (Spicy Sichuan Noodles). It’s flavourful, fragrant and if you try it once I promise you will make it often. It represents a typical spicy dish of the region of Sichuan but it’s also typical of Ken’s recipes, being simple to make but giving delicious results.

This is one of those “must have” cookbooks. It has already stood the test of time and seems as fresh and absorbing as it did when first published. It’s a fascinating story of a chef’s homecoming and a wonderful introduction to the rich tapestry of Chinese food.

A Taste of China
Author: Ken Hom
Published by: Pavilion Books
Price: £9.99
ISBN 1-86205-707-9

food and travel reviews Ken Hom

Chinese Cookery

Chinese Cookery - Ken Hom This is the 25th anniversary edition of Ken’s original and ground-breaking book. I had that first edition, and it fell apart through years of use. I am sure that many readers will have had the same experience. This is a book you will use even if you are too young to remember the BBC series that helped launch Ken Hom onto the UK food scene. It’s already a classic and it’s not difficult to see why.

Ken was the first Chinese chef/cook/food presenter to make a real impact in the UK. Kenneth Lo had long been respected as a promoter of Chinese food in Britain, but Ken Hom had a TV series that coincided with renewed interest in cooking and all things foodie. This slightly nervous young man presented entertaining and fascinating programmes that introduced Chinese food to a country that was ready to accept new flavours and the excitement of frying with a wok with the gas turned high. We started to find Chinese ingredients in high street shops and a quick stir-fry seemed more appealing than a time-consuming roast.

Chinese Cookery is a book welcomed by those new to Chinese cooking and those who are well practised in that cuisine. Ken offers a wealth of information about ingredients, equipment, menu planning and technique, and then it’s on to the food which is marvellous. There are some additions to the first edition so now there is a selection of dishes that encompass both traditional family cooking and also some contemporary innovations.

I am not sure that Ken Hom has a “signature dish” but I have my favourites. Chicken Pieces in Black Bean Sauce is a recipe that is simple but delicious. The black beans are salty and tangy and they give the chicken a unique flavour that I have found to be quite addictive.  Cold Spicy Noodles are comforting and rich. I use peanut butter although Ken says that sesame paste is equally good. These noodles are so easy to prepare and it’s truly a meal in moments. If you don’t really like cooking you will love this one.

OK, so the TV series was well-timed but it’s the quality of Ken Hom’s work that has allowed him to stay at the top of his profession. Chinese Cookery has endured because the recipes still reflect modern tastes. Timeless!

Chinese Cookery
Author: Ken Hom
Published by: BBC Books
Price: £16.99
ISBN 978-1-84-6076-053

food and travel reviews Ken Hom

Ken Hom – 100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes

I have long been a fan of compact and concise cookbooks, the ones that present a recipe on one page and a confidence-boosting picture on the opposite page, single-topic books that one will truly take into the kitchen and use. This series from My Kitchen Table (they have a supporting web site at ticks all the boxes for me. Yes, the format is just right, but the recipes are what count.

asian cookbook review Ken Hom is an internationally celebrated authority on Chinese food and cooking. He was the first Chinese to have great success on UK TV with his ground-breaking cookery show in 1984, Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery on the BBC. He began his culinary career in his uncle's Chicago restaurant at the tender age of eleven, before eventually becoming a lecturer at California's Culinary Academy.

He has written over 30 cookery books which have been well received worldwide. He has fronted numerous TV series as well as having his own product range including a wok, an example of which graces the kitchen of this reviewer. Ken was awarded an honorary OBE for 'services to the culinary arts' in 2009 so it’s evident that we in Britain have adopted this man and taken him to our hearts.

His list of culinary achievements and gongs is impressive but we just love this man’s food. He has become so successful because his food is accessible. We have an abundance of oriental ingredients and are drawn to healthy and quick dishes made with either a Ken Hom wok or one purchased from the local Chinese grocer. 100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes reflects the way we eat today ...or should.

The recipes are divided by food type. Plenty of vegetarian and fish dishes but even the meat dishes are fast to prepare and will leave you feeling noble. There are Chinese dishes aplenty here but also spicy temptations from Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and even Italy. The focus is on the cooking method rather than the geographic origin of the food.

I have heard so many people complain that they can’t make fried rice. They wonder if there is some kind of secret or perhaps there is a particular variety of rice known only to the owners of Chinese restaurants or take-aways. Well, yes, there is a little secret known only to millions. One must use cooked and cooled rice. Ken offers us a basic but indispensable recipe for egg-fried rice. It’s fool-proof and will be a key element in turning many of these recipes into full meals.

We should all eat more fish. It’s healthy and there is plenty of choice. Stir-Fried Fish with Black Bean Sauce is the dish that will inspire those who insist they hate fish because it’s bland. This recipe makes use of pungent and salty black beans. 1½ teaspoons are all that’s needed to flavour fish enough for 4 people. Robust flavours and a meal that doesn’t cost the earth.

My pick of the book is Spicy Chicken with Peanuts. It’s also known as Kung Pau or Kung Po Chicken, an attractive dish of lacquered meat with flecks of vibrant red dried chillies. A recipe for which to use that dusty bottle of dry sherry – it makes a convincing substitute for shaoxing rice wine.

100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes is a practical collection of well-chosen recipes to suit all tastes. We all want to eat well but without the need to take up long-term residence in the kitchen. This will likely become the book you reach for when strapped for time or cash.  Great value for money.

Author: Ken Hom
Title: 100 Quick Stir-fry Recipes
Published by: Random House
Price: £7.99
ISBN 978-1-84-990147-5

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