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A most unlikely cook

By Xing Yi/Zhou Yifan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-25 08:00

A most unlikely cook

[Photo provided to China Daily]

A former anthropologist, who says creativity and flexibility are more important than authenticity, presents dozens of dishes from different countries in her latest book. Xing Yi reports.

With vivid images and descriptions of color, taste and smells, Tzu-i Chuang's book of recipes Simple, Sumptuous, Sublime is an enjoyable read. The book showcases 84 dishes from different cuisines, such as pickled Chinese lettuce stems, Indian keema curry and Mediterranean style roast fish.

"There are also dishes cooked in a combination of different styles," she says in Beijing.

"Cooking food is more diverse than the dichotomy between 'Chinese' and 'Western' cuisines."

With each recipe, Chuang shares an essential cooking technique that can be applied to other dishes, allowing readers to create their own dishes.

"Rules can be broken," Chuang tells readers at a recent event.

"I think creativity and flexibility are more important than the authenticity of dishes."

Chuang has some 170,000 fans on Chinese micro blog Sina Weibo, where she shares her cooking.

Chuang, who was born in Taiwan, had no plans to become a chef and food writer when she was growing up.

In 2006, she was a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"Writing a thesis is tough work and it was making me depressed," she says.

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