Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

When published in 1976, “Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook” was the first authentic Szechwan cookbook to appear in the United States.

The book was the result of Ellen and John Schrecker studying Chinese culture in Taiwan, during which they met Mrs. Chiang Jung-feng, a superb Chinese Szechwan cook. The tastes and textures of her dishes were always clear and bright. She was a master of the “zhen wer” or true taste; the result of continual care, attention to detail and practice. Subsequently, Mrs. Chiang came home with them to New Jersey.

Cover to Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook
Szechwan cooking is a highly spiced, yet subtle cuisine. Although the recipes in the book are considered peasant food — good hearty home cooking — even the poorest peasants eat extraordinary food, giving them the nickname of "good-eating devils."

The book contains Chiang Jung-feng's childhood memories of her mother's fragrant Szechwan kitchen that evoke the spirit as well as the taste of home cooking. Her mother was a superlative cook who understood very well that her daughter's fortune depended on her skill in the kitchen and taught her well. Their household raised most of their own food, butchered their own pigs, and made their own soy sauce and vinegar.

The book was written by Ellen Schrecker, the hundreds of recipes were by Chiang Jung-feng and tested in the Schrecker New Jersey kitchen, and translation was provided by John Schrecker.


"This is, without a doubt, one of the very best Sichuan cookbooks I have ever seen anywhere in the world. The well-explained and delicious recipes make this book a valuable resource for anyone interested in Chinese cooking. Mrs. Chiang's lively culinary experience as well as her love for Sichuan food are what make this book such a classic." — Ken Hom, author of Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery and Ken Hom's East Meets West Cookbook

"The most intelligent and authentic of all Chinese cookbooks. The introductory material — calm and lucid — at last explains what Chinese cooks of all regions, not just Szechwan, do in China, for Chinese diners — and why they do it. In other words, this is an excellent informal ethnography as well as a rigorous and careful compendium of the basic recipes of China's most interesting gastronomic region." — Raymond Sokolov

"This well organized and interesting treasure gets right down to the nitty-gritty of an ancient art. It's a find." — Publishers Weekly

“Our favorite source for recipes and delightful stories about them, bar none, is Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook, by Ellen Schrecker.” — Ann Crickmer, MSW, February 4, 2009

“The recipe for red cooked fish is one of the very best meals I have ever had. ... Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook is the best Chinese cookbook I have ever used.” — Peter Aitken

“Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook by Ellen Schrecker is a wonderful book and well worth searching out.” — Joan, Chowhound

New to the 2010 Edition

Electronic books have no page numbers, instead the index has bi-directional hypertext links for each entry, as do the sample menus. Color photographs have replaced the original black and white illustrations.

“The Lists: An Aid to Menu Planning” has been updated to have bi-directional hypertext links for each suggested dish.

Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook is available on the Apple iBookstore (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom), Barnes & Noble, and Google (United States) as an ePub book.

ISBN: 978-1-935842-10-1 (ePub)

Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook is available on Amazon as a Kindle book.

ISBN: 978-1-935842-21-7 (Kindle) (United States) Amazon ASIN B0056HGW90