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Mary Sia’s Chinese Cooking Legacy Lives On

Mary Sia at her YWCA cooking classFond memories of grandmother’s kitchen have been brought to life with the republication of Mary Sia’s Classic Chinese Cookbook earlier this year. Two of Mary Sia’s granddaughters, Laura Ing Baker and Louise Ing, will share bits of family history (some quite remarkable), while teaching a class tomorrow using a selection of popo‘s recipes. The CookSpace Hawaii class quickly sold out weeks ago but you can still listen to this morning’s HPR interview with Louise and Laura to celebrate the legacy of Mary Li Sia—hear a mouth-watering description of noodles with Hoisin sauce (find the recipe on page 164 of the cookbook) and match your memories of growing up in 1960s Honolulu with theirs. For another fun blast from the past, see the photo on this earlier post on the HI SPY tumblr blog.

Here’s a sample recipe from page 58 of Mary Sia’s Classic Chinese Cookbook:

6 prawns
4 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 small onion, sliced
1 bamboo shoot, sliced
¼ cup water

Remove legs but not shell from prawns. Heat pan, add oil, and fry prawns until they turn pink. Add soy sauce, sugar, and sherry. Sauté 2 minutes. Add ginger, onion, and bamboo shoot, and sauté ½ minute. Add water and simmer 1 minute.
Serves 2.


New Edition of a Classic Cookbook

Mary Sia's Classic Chinese CookbookMary Sia’s Chinese Cookbook has been a classic of Chinese cookery since it was first published in 1956. This fourth edition features all 300 of the original recipes, ranging from simple, everyday fare to more elaborate dishes for entertaining, as well as essays by Mary Sia. An all-new food glossary provides up-to-date names for ingredients along with advice on appropriate substitutions and sources for 21st-century cooks. The work also includes an introduction by Rachel Laudan, renowned food historian and author of The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawai‘i’s Culinary Heritage.

December 2012 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3738-9 / $16.99 (PAPER)