Just like mom, Chen shares tips on Chinese food

April 27, 1994|By William Rice | William Rice,Chicago Tribune

Helen Chen is heir to a weighty culinary legacy. Her mother, Joyce Chen, was a pioneer in bringing Chinese cooking into American kitchens.

Now Helen has taken up the cause of making us more conversant in the techniques and tastes of this most sophisticated Asian cuisine. Her teaching tool is an informative new book, "Helen Chen's Home Cooking" (Hearst Books, $25).

The book is a personal account of experiences in the kitchen, with her mother and on her own. Most important, she holds to her promise to present "simple, home-style Chinese food."

"For us home cooking is not the same as restaurant cooking," she said. "At home we use simpler ingredients and less oil. We have less need for advance cooking to speed presentation."

In either place, however, stir-frying remains the most important single technique.

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