Cookbook Review: Building a perfect meal

Building a perfect meal is like constructing or working on any other important project. The recipes should use easily accessible ingredients, it should have easy steps to follow and the final meal should be worth the effort.


Michelle Tchea, an award-winning author on luxury travel, food and Health/Nutrition is the proud author of this book namely ‘Building a perfect meal’ which was published in 2012. She is one of those home cooks whose work cannot go unnoticed. She also has a food and beverage chemist feather attached to her cap. She’s a talented woman!!

Building a perfect meal by Michelle Tchea

Michelle built a strong connection with food during her childhood itself as her grandfather owned a restaurant in Los Angeles. It is there that she learnt how to master the art of being a skilled home cook. This kitchen superstar is also a qualified Biomedical Scientist specialising in research and development in the food and beverage industry.

She gets most of her food inspiration from her travels and then tries to replicate them in her own kitchen. According to me, that’s the best way to bring out your inner travel and food guru vibes.


The reason I’ve chosen her cookbook as the first for this Cookbook Review series is that this book is perfect to show all novice cooks that cooking at home doesn’t have to be scary or unachievable. That is exactly what my blog is all about. Home-cooking is fun too!


This cookbook is your one-stop destination for easy to follow recipes that first allow you to learn the basics of cooking, for example, Omelette for Dummies. It also teaches you to add a few more ingredients and turn your simple dish into something extraordinary.


  • Ham & Cheese Mochi French Toast
  • Curry Stuffed Flatbread
  • Creamy Dreamy Seafood Stew

This book has a great variety of both eastern and western flavours. Here you’ll find modern twists given to certain old traditional classic recipes by her. She uses both traditional and modern techniques while cooking and that’s much appreciated by people who know her.

You’ll find small pull quotes or verses throughout the book to let you know insights into different recipes and how to make something taste great and different. According to her, you can elevate basic pork stuffing by adding extras such as peas, carrots, pickled radish, etc.

She’s also made sure to give newbies in the kitchen quite a few food tips and tricks which I truly love about this book. And what’s best about that: they’re mainly her experiences and tried and tested thoroughly by her.


It’s not one of those ordinary cookbooks only with recipes. This book speaks volumes about Michelle’s personality and her life.

This book is a good example of home cooking and how one can elevate their cooking only by adding a few more ingredients or following a few extra, fun steps while cooking.

Michelle has given her readers and new food enthusiasts an experience more than anything with this book. It is sure to curb all your food cravings with its simplicity and ease of cooking. According to her, the secret to cooking begins from basic skills and then one must perfect those skills to make their meals worth sharing with others. Such a lovely and simple idea but speaks volumes.

In this book you’ll find a Glossary of all essential ingredients found in the Asian and Western cuisine like Luffa (Chinese Okra), Taro (Yam), Wood ear fungus (black fungus),etc.

You’ll find essential weights and measures towards the end of the book too. She’s listed various liquid measures, dry measures, oven temperatures, length measures~ which you’d normally use in measuring things like ginger.


She’s advised her readers to tweak the recipes as per their personal tastes and preferences. That’s what I did when I tried out her Just Fried Rice. I had leftover rice from the day before and thought this recipe would be perfect. I took the basic idea from this recipe but created my own version to please our cravings. It was one of those chill evening and this recipe was just perfect.

Michelle’s basic idea with making fried rice is to prepare it with old rice which is at-least a day old that has been cooked and refrigerated overnight.

My recreation of Michelle’s Just Fried Rice

I used a variety of veggies I had like bell peppers, a white onion and even some roughly chopped sugar snap peas. Nigel loves a good egg fried rice so added egg to the recipe too which is exactly what she did in her Just Fried Rice.


Egg and Vegetable Fried Rice

Vania Cotta
This fried rice recipe is inspired by Michelle Tchea's Just Fried Rice recipe from her book 'Building a perfect meal' but with my own comfort food twist to it.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2 people


  • 1 cup Leftover Rice
  • 4 nos Eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp Thin Soy sauce use ¾tbsp if thick or dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Garlic Flakes seasoning to taste
  • Ginger, Garlic and Chilli flakes seasoning to taste
  • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Chilli sauce to taste
  • Colourful veggies of your choice I used 1 white onion, 2 bell pepper and few sugar snap peas and 1 red chilli (sweeter one)


  • Prep your veggies and set aside. Chop them finely for quick cooking and tossing.
  • Beat the eggs with the chilli sauce and set aside.
  • In a large wok, add the toasted sesame oil and start frying the veggies until slightly done. Toss for about a minute on a high flame. Set aside.
  • Next fry the eggs and once half done add the rice and fried veggies. The egg should get cooked while tossing the rest. Toss well until the rice is hot enough and make sure to add the soy sauce and other seasonings too.
  • Serve hot.


  • I used a chopper to chop the onion, red chilli and bell peppers together. It gives a uniform chop and perfect for this dish. Helps cook the veggies quicker. 
  • Add some rice vinegar, if preferred.
  • You can substitute toasted sesame oil for any other plain vegetable oil. 
  • Refrigerate the leftover rice for better results. 
Keyword Cookbook Review Series, Egg and Vegetable Fried Rice, Egg Fried Rice, Fried Rice

Some other rice recipes:

Another recipe to make with leftover rice:


You can find some quick and easy to make Breakfast recipes. You can learn different techniques to elevate the humble egg.

Next you’ll find in the book is Sandwiches and Tapas. Here you’ve got various options from Crispy Potato Croquettes to Fat Rice Inari Pockets to Crispy Salmon Skin Balls to a variety of different recipes with Wontons.

Don’t miss the bigger meals she’s written about with many of your favourite rice and noodle recipes. You can learn how to make hand-pulled noodles at home. If you’ve got a hangover then her Grilled Miso Hangover Rice is a recipe you’d have to print and secure with a magnet over your fridge. She’s also got some amazing soups and stews too listed in this chapter of the book.

And then lastly recipes for your sweet cravings. Michelle’s Mess is something you’ve got to try-out which is her personal touch to the Eton mess recipe. You’ll find various cakes, ice-creams, jellies, etc. What else do you want when you’ve got so many options to cook at home?

Egg and Veg fried rice

I hope you get your hands on this book.


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Have a lovely day!!

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