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Mandarin Food and Cooking by Terry Tan

by: Terry Tan

Leicestershire UK: Aquamarine, an impront of Anness Publishing Ltd. 2013, $14.99, Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-908991-00-3


Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2014 Issue: 21(3) page(s): 19

In a growing series by Tan and others, the titles he has authored include The Food and Cooking of South China, The Food and Cooking of Sichuan and West China, and The Food and Cooking of Shanghai and East China. To date there are two others by Ghillie Basan, and others about China's neighbors.

Tan has written many other books, we know of twenty to date. He is considered an expert on Chinese, Singaporean, and Indonesian cookery, has written for many magazines, worked and taught for eight years in Ken Lo's kitchens, done demonstrations, written other materials, devised recipes, and done private tutoring about Chinese and other Asian foods.

This particular volume has seventy-five recipes and hundreds of stunning color photographs that entice, almost beg to be tasted. Every recipe has excellent step-by-step instructions, and tips and variations. They are from this region of China, and do bring ancient and current culinary creations alive. They are ready to make and bring to your table.

The recipes specifically in this volume highlight foods from Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Hebei, Henan, Shanxi, and Shandong. They also show off Mongolian and Muslim foods eaten in these places. A few are made with beef, others with lamb, mutton, poultry, fish, and pickled vegetables. There are soups and dim sum, pancakes, breads, and noodle delights, dishes made with eggs and doufu, and several sweet things.

Before the recipes, there is information about the geography and climate of each region, history, festivals and celebrations, and tools, equipment, and classic ingredients needed to make them. After the recipes are two pages, each with four columns, one listing more than thirty-five suppliers providing places to purchase ingredients in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The book ends with a three-page four-column recipe index.

Every recipe begins with detailed information in an introductory paragraph; it ends with per portion numbers for energy as kilocalories and kilojules, as protein, carbohydrate, sugar, saturated fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibre, and sodium amounts. Each recipe has two or three small pictures of steps in its preparation and a large one of its completed dish.

Selecting a dish to include with this review was difficult as most were worthy of consideration be they Lotus Leaf Dumplings, Sweet Sesame Rolls, Pickled Chinese Cabbage, Four Treasures Meat, Pork and Turnips, Braised Duck in Peppery Soy Sauce, or Peking Duck. Every one was well-written, easy to follow, and easy to make. Many had suggested variations. All ingredients are given in metric and English measures, we converted the one below to American measures for your convenience.
Prawn Cutlets
Ingredients:
1 pound shrimp, shelled and their shells discarded, then minced or ground
7 ounces firm tofu, mashed or cold mashed potatoes
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon thin soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
vegetable oil for deep frying
accompaniments in individual bowls can include: Dijon or hot mustard, chili sauce, black vinegar, a cucumbers thinly sliced, and/or pickled ginger
Preparation:
1. Mix the shrimp, tofu, sesame oil, soy sauce, and pepper until well-blended, then add the beaten eggs.
2. Shape into four patties, then coat each one with cornstarch.
3. Heat the oil and deep-fry the patties until golden brown, then serve immediately with the accompaniments on the side.

                                                                                                                                                       
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