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Easy to make, great to eat!

SUMITRA SENAPATY catches up with three master chefs to know the recipes of the favourite dishes. She finds the ingredients easily available, the process easy to follow. Here is the secret... .


Chefs of the world unite, they have nothing to share except their recipes.

EXPECT THE unusual as three Master Chefs come together. Lo Ka Yan, Master Chef of the TeaHouse of the August Moon, finds cooking an art and creates over 300 varieties of delicious DimSums. Some of the chef's favourite ingredients are black mushrooms, tofu, bean sprouts and prawns. Shi Xi Lin is the maestro chef at Mumbai's famous Golden Dragon restaurant and his speciality is seafood with a difference. Some of Lin's unforgettable experiences as a chef include the many competitions and food festivals he has attended across the world. Currently the food trend in China highlights convenience, nutrition and taste variety. This has influenced him to continuously make an effort to create new flavours for the palates of discerning diners. The loquacious Master Chef of Golden Dragon, Chennai, Hardy Cheung excels in the amazing craft of making noodles and has the record of 2000 strands in 45 seconds -- The Guinness record is 5000 strands in 45 seconds. He was mum's little assistant as a child, helping her purchase ingredients from the wet and dry markets and watching as she cooked. From an early age, Cheung picked up his basic concepts in cooking and learnt the art of mixing and matching ingredients.

The Masters derive the greatest satisfaction when something new is created and they get the thumbs-up from customers and colleagues. But being busy with their own restaurants, they don't get to taste the trio's creations, as much as we would like to, so the Master Strokes food festival at Delhi's Taj Mahal hotel was an opportunity to find out what's on their minds - and on their menus.

The chefs agree that a key ingredient is attitude and they offer some advice: "If you don't have a good attitude, if you're not cooking with love that day, put the knives down and put the food away.'' When the cook doesn't feel good, the food won't taste good. The chefs also talk about the importance of tasting frequently while cooking, which they say would seem obvious but is often neglected by home cooks. Taste throughout the process, while there is still time to correct problems with flavour or texture. Or start over again, if you need to!

"The best way to fix burned soup is to throw it out. Until you learn to taste and know the ingredients you're working with, there's no way you can cook.'' This means developing the ability to predict what a dish needs by tasting it as you go, and understanding the properties of the ingredients so that you know what will happen to them as you work with them.

The masters share some of their signature recipes with you with easy to find ingredients, easy to make and great to eat.

Potato Wild Pepper

Ingredients:

Diced Potato 300gms

Chopped spring Onion 5gms

Chopped ginger/garlic 5gms

Salt 2gms

Sugar 2gms

Chilli Powder 3gms

Vinegar 2ml

Method:

1. Boil diced potato in boiling water till half-done. Drain and cool.

2. Dust dry with corn flour & then deep fry till golden brown.

3. In a pan take very little water, add to it salt, sugar, chopped ginger

garlic, spicy onion and chilli powder.

4. Add fried potato to above mixture and simmer a little. Finally before

removing add vinegar to it. Serve dry, as starters.

Hot and Sour Cabbage

Ingredients:

Cabbage 450gms

Vegetable Oil 3-4 tbsp.

Peppercorns 10

Few whole dried red chillies.

Salt 1 tsp.

Light brown Sugar 1tbspn

Soy Sauce 1 tbsp.

Rice Vinegar 2tbspn

Few drops sesame oil (til)

Method:

1.Cut the cabbage leaves into small pieces.

2.Heat the oil in a preheated wok until smoking, then add the peppercorns

and chillies.

3.Add the cabbage to the wok and stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes.

4.Add the salt, sugar continue stirring for another minute, then add the soy

sauce, vinegar, sesame oil. Blend well and serve.

Master Chef's tips to keep in mind while preparing noodles at home.

1.Take 5 times the amount of water to noodles. E.g. for 1kg noodles take 5

times water.

2.Let the water boil, then put little oil.

3. Put in the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain, sprinkle some oil on

the noodles and keep on mixing till cool.

4.Heat oil in pan, add shredded vegetables, meats etc, Stir for sometime.

5.Add boiled noodles to the vegetables.

6.Put in salt & chilli powder.

7.Just before removing, put in the vinegar and serve

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