Category Archives: Chinese

Szechwan Rice

szechwan Rice

Szechwan cuisine is known for its liberal use of garlic and spices and what more do we Indians need to like Chinese cuisine or any other cuisine for that matter :-).  Indian streets are dotted with number of Chinese street food stalls. They sell all kinds of spicy and colorful Indian Chinese dishes (it’s kind of new cuisine now). Szechwan rice is the Indianized spicy version of the Szechwan rice.

ingredients for szechwan rice

Again, there are different versions of this recipe. You can add celery, spring onion, Sichuan peppers too. Some people add ajinomoto (MSG) to get that “Chinese food taste”, but I prefer it without the MSG. You can also add a little orange color for that street food look. As the dish is cooked on high heat throughout, chop the vegetables very fine so that the vegetables are cooked well. Cooking on high heat also adds a smoky flavor to the dish.

szechwan sauce

This is one of the best recipes that my aunt makes. She always prepares the sauce in advance and whips up this spicy dish every time we crib about the dinner being too boring. You can prepare the sauce in advance and keep it in fridge in airtight container. Make sure the rice is not over cooked. you can also use the sauce for stir fries.

You can serve Szechwan rice with a sauce of your choice or it tastes good just by itself.

szechwan rice

 

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 10-12 dry red chillies (tops removed) soaked in hot water for 10 mins
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup onions finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely grated cabbage
  • ¼ cup beans finely chopped
  • ¼ cup carrots finely chopped
  • ¼ cup capsicum finely chopped
  • ¼ cup celery finely chopped
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil/any other cooking oil
  • Salt to taste

Recipe

Szechwan Sauce

Grind tomato, ginger, garlic, and red chillies to a smooth paste.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add onions and cook for few minutes (1-2) till they are translucent and pink. Add cabbage and cook for 2-3 mins. Add the tomato chilli paste and mix well. Keep mixing it every 30-40 seconds. Cook till oil separates. Transfer this sauce to a bowl and keep aside.  This sauce can be used for stir fries too. Once it is completely cooled, you can store it in fridge for upto two weeks in an air tight container.

For rice

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok/kadhai.  Add finely chopped celery and sauté on high heat for 30-40 secs. Add carrots and beans and sauté for 1-2minutes on high heat. Add capsicum and sauté for 1 minute. Add salt and cook for 1-2 mins. Add the schezuan sauce and mix well. Add this gravy to the cooked rice. Mix well and serve hot.

Vegetarian Dumplings

Vegetarian Dumplings

When in Rome, do as Roman do and when in Singapore celebrate the Chinese New Year with dumplings and oranges. This is our first lunar new year in Singapore and it’s been fun so far. Everything is decorated in red and orange. Four days of holidays and family reunions everywhere you see. Unlike the English New Year, Chinese New Year involves lot of preparation, celebrations (15 days), reunion, and traditions. Market is filled with oranges, pomegranates and tens and hundreds of varieties of candies and snacks. People exchange Oranges and Tangerines. Oranges symbolize good luck and Tangerines symbolize wealth. Families get together and cook dumplings with every member taking part in the process. I am not a big fan of Chinese food but I found the idea of dumplings very interesting. Especially the way they are shaped.

Vegetarian Dumplings

Wrapped Dumplings

I wanted to try making a vegetarian version of the dumplings (also known as dimsums or pot stickers). Boiled Dumplings are called Jiaozi. Pot stickers are famous in the west and are fried in a small amount of oil before steaming them slightly.

You can practically fill the dumplings with anything you like. I have used carrots, cabbage, beans, and paneer. Baby corn, Mushrooms, tofu are good options to try.

Vegetables for Fillings

Shaping the dumplings is not as tough as it looks. The trick is to roll out the dough thin on edges and slightly thicker at the center. You can buy the ready made dumpling sheets too. You can even make colorful dumplings by adding natural colors. Add spinach puree to the dough for green and carrot puree for orange color.

Rolled Dumpling Wrappers

Dumplings are always served with a dipping sauce. I wanted to make a spicy sauce which could complement the not so spicy dumplings and wanted to stay away from the oily dips. You can try the traditional soy sauce based dips too which are not very spicy. Dumplings are usually served as a starter or side dish. Happy New Year!

Vegetarian Dumplings

Ingredients

Makes 16-18 dumplings

For the Dough

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (Maida)
  • 2-3 pinches of salt
  • Water to knead the dough

For the Filling

  • 1 ½ tbsp. chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped (use spring onion if available)
  • ½ cup mixed vegetables (cabbage, carrot, beans)
  • 5 tbsp paneer crumbled
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp corn flour diluted in little water
  • ½ tbsp. soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dip

  • 5 fresh red chillies
  • 5-6 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ tomato chopped
  • 5 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • Salt

Recipe

Add salt to the all-purpose flour and knead into a soft and smooth dough using enough water. Cover and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.

To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients and blend them in a mixer till smooth.

In a wok or kadhai, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until aromatic. Add the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables, paneer, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and coriander. Add little water and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables and soft. Stir the corn flour mixture and add it to the filling. When the mixture thickens, turn off the heat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely before assembling the dumplings. You should have about one cup of filling.

Divide the dough into equal portions and roll out thin sheets around 3 to 31/2 inches.

To make the dumplings, hold a sheet in a slightly cupped hand. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling with a dinner knife, or fork and position it slightly off-center toward the upper half of the wrapper, pressing and shaping it into a flat mound and keeping about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of wrapper clear on all sides. Then fold, pleat, and press to enclose the filling to create a half-moon. You can steam them as is or try different shapes by adding pleats, joining the ends of the crescent etc.

Place the dumplings in the steamer at least an inch away from the edges. Steam for 8-9 minutes until slightly puffed and translucent.

If you want to cook them like pot stickers, heat little oil (appx 1tsp) in a pan. Add the dumplings and cook till they are little crispy. Add little dip and some water and cover immediately. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the cover and toss to coat the dumplings with the flavor sauce. Cook little more till the sauce dries.

Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.