Saturday 28 January 2012

Hindi Chini

Food does what diplomats are unable to. It blurs borders & brings people together in unthinkable ways. The Hindi Chini bhai bhai refrain is a childhood memory. Till recently when China captured the global market like never before & bhais turned competitors.As our neighbours hone their English language skills & threaten us of our BPO jobs,  there is always the solace of food. 

The Vegetable Manchurian is a delectable Indo Chinese dish that is a hot favourite with vegetarians & non-veggies alike. The last dinner I hosted found such a fan following with the Veg Manchurian that the hum ghaas phoos nahi khate guests gave the humble vegetarians stiff competition! 

I did not know Leela then. She heard about the ekdum hit recipe from one of my guests, tried it at home & now Leela & I are connected. You cannot help but like Leela. She gets you water when you visit her; talks  with an adorable Bihari drawl of janti hai, jab hum gaye they na wahaan; tells you of all the sales that are happening in & around London; the places to visit & the brands to buy. In a cold world, Leela has retained her naivety like few can. She is a sweetheart. And not because she made Veg Manchurian yesterday & mailed me a pic :)

Pic from web

1. 2 cups grated cabbage
2. 1/2 cup grated carrot
3. 3 tbsp cornflour
4. 1/2 cup chopped onions

5.1 tbsp chopped garlic

6. 4 chopped green chillies(deseeded)

7.  1/2 cup chopped spring onion (for garnish)

7. 1 1/2 tbsp soya sauce

8. 1/2 tsp sugar

9. 1/2 tsp pepper powder

10. 1/2 tsp ajinomoto

11. Salt to taste
12. Oil to cook


Pic from web
  1. Squeeze out the water from the cabbage and carrots.
  2. Add 2 tbsp cornflour &  some salt to the veggies & mix well. Make balls.
  3. Deep-fry the balls till they turn golden brown in. [Keeping them for later makes them leave water. It will break while frying then]
  4. Heat oil  & add the onion, garlic and green chillies.Saute until the onions are transparent.[Do NOT make the onions golden brown]
  5. Add the pepper, salt, ajinomoto, soya sauce, sugar and some water and bring to boil.
  6. In the remaining cornflour, add some cold water and make a paste. [Always make a paste of the cornflour & add to the gravy; powdered cornflour will form lumps & not mix]
  7. Add this paste to the boiling liquid and simmer it till it turns to thick gravy.
  8. Add the deep fried balls and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  9. Garnish with chopped spring onions & serve hot.

Veg Maunchurian goes well with fried rice, Chinese fried rice or noodles.
You can also make it as a dry dish & serve as starter. Scintillates the taste buds & leaves you hankering for more :)
Ma adds grated ginger to the manchurian balls for added taste. Play around as you like. Experiments lead to discoveries!
Thank you for the picture Leela. Looks yum. Leela's husband, Dhiri, was so tickled in his buds that he has promised to take her for the Chinese New Year celebration that is happening in Russell Square, tomorrow :)

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