The Best Asian Cookbooks

Find our top 8 picks for the best Asian cookbooks of the past 25 years.

The Breath of a Wok
Photo: Randy Mayor

The Breath of a Wok

The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore By Grace Young and Alan Richardson, Simon & Schuster, 2004. Hardcover. $35; 240 pages

It's hard to overstate the centrality of the wok to many Asian recipes. Watching chefs turn out stir-fried dishes in a busy Hong Kong restaurant, agog at the huge whooshes of flame from roaring burners, makes you long for even a bit of that skill. This is self-evident: Parboiling crowded food in a lukewarm nonstick pan doesn't cut it.

Grace Young opens with a recollection of her parents teaching her to respect "wok hay, the prized, elusive, seared taste that comes only from stir-frying in a wok."

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