Weekend Cooking: Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves by Dave Lowry


I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads  a regular monthly post at Book’d Out. Cooking is something I enjoy and I have been making more of an effort again lately, so I am looking forward to sharing some of my culinary adventures.


Title: Chinese Cooking For Diamond Thieves

Author: Dave Lowry

Published:  Mariner Books: Haughton Mifflin Harcourt July 2014

Status: Read from July 09 to 10, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

I’m not sure exactly why I decided to take a chance on this novel but I am so glad I did. Funny, clever and fresh, Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves by Dave Lowry is a fabulously entertaining blend of mystery, action, a touch of awkward romance, and Chinese cooking.

Having been kicked out of college just before graduation, Tucker is heading home to Missouri in his aging Toyota when he crosses paths with the attractive and enigmatic Corrine Chang, making her way from Canada to Buffalo, NY, at a deserted rest stop. In the absence of any real goal, Tucker offers Corrine a ride, surprising her with his ability to speak Mandarin, and being surprised in turn when he intercepts a threatening phone call. Corrine, it seems, is on the run from a Chinese gang convinced she has $15 million dollars worth of diamonds missing from her employer’s store. Despite her protestations of innocence, the gang follows them all the way to St Louis, as intent on capturing Corinne, as Tucker, with a little help from the FBI, is at stopping them.

Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves is fast paced with plenty of action and intrigue, and just enough exaggeration to entertain. Snappy dialogue, liberally laced with sarcasm, is delivered with expert timing.

Lowry’s protagonist is an unusual guy. The son of white upper middle class parents (his father a retired agent of some description), Tucker practices xing-i, speaks Mandarin (and a little Cantonese) and cooks Chinese food, real Chinese food, with the skill of a native. He is simultaneously a tough guy capable of crippling an enemy with an economy of movement, and achingly vulnerable and self deprecating. The contradiction works perfectly to create a charming, quirky hero, who is supported by an equally appealing cast.

For foodies, there are plenty of tips for cooking authentic Chinese food, and a glimpse into the inner workings of a Chinese restaurant kitchen.

Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves is probably best described as a crime caper given the elements of humour, adventure and the offbeat characters. I thought it was witty, clever and interesting and recommend it without hesitation.

Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves is available to purchase from

Haughton Mifflin Harcourt I AmazonUS I BookDepository I Indiebound

via Booko


The few Chinese dishes I cook are unapologetically westernised versions and fairly simple ones at that. Today I thought I’d share one of my favourites, with apologies to Tucker, and Dave Lowry.

Oven Baked Chicken Spring Rolls



1 kg barbecued or roast chicken, finely shredded
1 large can of corn kernels
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
5 tbs soy sauce
1 pkt frozen spring roll wrappers
1/4 cup (60ml) peanut oil


Preheat oven to 200°C.

In a bowl combine shredded chicken, corn kernels, onions, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce

Lay out a spring roll wrapper with a point facing towards you. Place 2 tablespoonfuls of chicken mixture on pastry then fold pastry over filling once. Fold in side corners. Brush far corner with water then roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining filling and pastry.

Place spring rolls on an oven tray. Brush with peanut oil then bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Serve with fried rice and/or a dipping sauce of your choice

spring rolls


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heatherdpear
    Jul 13, 2014 @ 16:08:49

    sounds like a good read with a very catchy title.



  2. readerbuzz
    Jul 13, 2014 @ 21:03:44

    Now doesn’t that sound like a fun book!

    And I love Chinese food, but I’ve never been brave enough to try to cook it myself. Thank you for this recipe. I’ll pin it and maybe I’ll try it if I get brave enough!



  3. Laurie C
    Jul 13, 2014 @ 21:47:59

    Mmmm. Your westernized Chinese food recipe sounds good. Fresh ginger is the best! I like the sound of the book, too, and will keep an eye out for it.



  4. lakesidemusing
    Jul 13, 2014 @ 22:11:00

    This book sounds like fun and I’d love to try making baked spring rolls!



  5. Beth F
    Jul 13, 2014 @ 22:47:37

    This is a new to me book. Glad you took a chance on it. Those baked instead of fried rolls sound worth the try



  6. Cecelia
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 13:53:44

    I have never tried cooking Chinese food, Americanized or no. The closest I’ve gotten is to purchase frozen items at the store and reheat. I love Chinese food, though – it’s definitely a guilty pleasure!



  7. Teddyree
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 20:20:12

    Not your usual read Shelleyrae, but it sounds like a fun. I love Chinese food, spring rolls especially. I hardly ever make them at home, deep frying is not my favourite thing to do so I’m keen to give your recipe a go. They look yum!!



  8. joyweesemoll
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 09:53:44

    What a funny title! Sounds fun — especially with St. Louis as a destination.



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