Book Review- The Mainland China Cookbook


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What if you can just relive the taste of your favorite recipes from your favorite restaurant right at your home? Sounds a good idea? Sounded to me, and I ordered The Mainland China Cookbook by Anjan Chatterjee. You can buy the book on Flipkart (disclaimer: aff).

Why a Chinese cookbook review on a Bengali food blog?

Chinese cuisine is of great interest to many Bengali food lovers. And the other reason is because of the author. Anjan Chatterjee, who is a Bong foodie and runs Specialty Group of fine-dining restaurants throughout the Indian sub-continent. What started with a single Bombay restaurant (Only Fish), has proliferated into 7 brands across several cities now – Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta, Sigree, Haka, Flame & Grill, Shack and Machaan

The author, Anjan Chatterjee

Anjan Chatterjee is India’s most successful restaurateur, as Vir Sanghvi introduces him in his writing. Born and brought up in Kolkata, Mr. Chatterjee runs 52 restaurants all over India. The Mainland China Cookbook as he mentions in his interview to The Telegraph, “…was a dream of mine to give them(Chinese food lovers) a treat that they can take back home.” .

What the book offers

The book is neatly divided into a number of categories according to the course of the meal. From starters and soups to chicken and meat, from noodles and rice to pancakes – this book has it all. The book starts with a prologue of the author’s journey to the oriental land in search of this thousand year old cooking style. There are recipes from the different parts of China – Peking, Sichuan, Canton and Sanghai. Whether you ask for the most common Chinese dish in India – chili chicken or that not-so-common king prawns Hubei style – you name it you get. It seems the entire Mainland China menu is delivered through this book.

I liked the entire idea of this book. To me it’s absolutely unique. Rather I have never seen a restaurant giving away their signature dishes to the common public. The recipes are mentioned in very simple language stressing on stir and deep fried dishes (a happy finding for all of you who don’t have a microwave or baking oven at home).

As Mr. Chatterjee claims in his book, the Chinese cuisine follows the principle of yin and yang, or the balance in the food. So is the book balanced with a wonderful collection of photographs of the prepared dishes by acclaimed food photographer, Anshika Verma. There is also a list of stores and shops in major Indian cities where you can buy the raw materials to prepare these lip smacking Mainland China signature dishes.

Not so rosy areas

The only glitch in the book was the use of metric measurements rather than the usual measures of cups and spoons in using the ingredients. It was a refreshing change, but not so practical. Also there are only four recipes in the dessert section. Though the author had a justification for that, saying that the “Chinese repertoire of dessert is not so wide”.

Leaving apart these little glitches, I would say the book is worth a collectible in your cookbook library. So, Go Get The Mainland China CookBook

This post is on its way to Divya’s “Show me Your” cookbook event.

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