I'm sure all of us must have tried at least once to recreate our favorite dish from a restaurant from which we have ate once or we frequent often. We usually try to guess that secret ingredient that gives the dish a unique flavor or taste. So how will it be when you have a ready reckoner to whip up a complete meal with the dishes from your restaurant coming from the person who started the chain of restaurants. Yes, I am talking about The Mainland China chain of restaurants, started by Anjan Chatterjee. Anjan Chatterjee has come up with a cookbook to help in cooking Mainland China's signature dishes right at our homes.
The book starts with an introduction from the author and moves on to a briefing on Chinese regional cuisines, the utensils and various cooking methods, to give a sneak peak into the Chinese cuisine. Notes about the ingredients commonly used in the book and with possible substitutes is quite helpful. The recipes for basic sauces, dips and pastes are interesting. The recipes are neatly divided into sections as starters, vegetables, fish, chicken to name a few.
A recipe is more interesting with a snapshot of the dish along with. Probably, coming from a famous restaurant, I guess, the recipes have taken the priority since the readers must be familiar with the dishes. This is not to say that the book is devoid of any pics. There are few drool worthy pictures in the middle of the book.
I liked the two column lay out of the recipe with ingredients and method. There is ample space on each page to jot down your notes too. The only downside of the recipe is that there is no uniform format followed for the the measurement of ingredients. Its a mix of gm, ml, tblspn and tspn. Some of the recipes calls for 2gms of ginger/onion etc, which could have been made simpler and easier to comprehend. And a kitchen scale is not very common in Indian kitchens. I don't own one. But our Indian style of cooking with eyeball measurements comes in handy here.
When I received a mail from the publishers, I wondered if I could do justice to the book, being a vegetarian. I was happy seeing the book, since I had enough choices to try from. Already I have tried their Ginger capsicum Fried Rice and crackling spinach. I have bookmarked many more - Hot and Sour vegetable Soup, Steamed Rice rolls with Vegetables, Cashew and chilly fried rice to name a few and their basic sauces and dips which are doable too.
Here is the recipe for Ginger Capsicum Fried Rice as given in the book. The measurements I used is given in brackets
- Long grain rice, cooked - 500 g (2 cups of cooked rice)
- Groundnut oil - 30 ml
- Ginger, shredded - 40 g ( 2inch piece)
- Capsicum, shredded - 80 g (half of a capsicum)
- Salt - 1 tsp
- White pepper - 1 tsp
- Spring onion, chopped - 2
Heat the wok till it is smoking hot
Add oil and moderately heat to 120 C. You can either use a thermometer or put a cube of stale bread into the oil. It should get brown slowly and not immediately.
Add the ginger and stir-fry.
Add the capsicum and stir-fry til you can smell the aroma.
Add the rice, salt and white pepper. Toss well.
Add the chopped spring onion.
Remove from heat and serve hot.
The dish is simple yet very flavorful and delicious. Ginger is a favorite with me and loved biting the crunchy ginger.