Vegetarian Chinese Platter

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After Indian, Chinese is the most loved cuisine in India. Whenever we want a change of taste, the first cuisine that comes to our mind is Chinese. The popularity of Chinese restaurants and roadside stalls selling Chowmein is testimony to this fact. Chinese cuisine, comprising lots of vegetables and rice, is a simple, delicious and healthy cuisine. So this New Year, instead of queuing outside your favorite Chinese restaurant for hours, why not try you hand at making authentic Chinese food at home? I bring to you a simple and delicious Vegetarian Chinese Platter, comprising Chilly Paneer as Starter and Mushroom, Babycorn, Shallots in Hot Garlic Sauce and Schezwan Fried Rice for Main Course. Make this for yourself, as well as for your guests, this New Year. Or whenever you are in the mood to eat “Chinese”. Here’s the recipe:

CHILLY PANEER

Ingredients:

250 grams cottage cheese (or bean curd) (cut into cubes)
1 large capsicum (seeds removed, cut into cubes)
1 large onion (peeled and cut into cubes, layers separated)
1 green chilly (chopped)
4-5 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 bowl refined flour
1/2 bowl cornflour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon red chilly sauce
100 ml refined oil
50 ml water
1 teaspoon cornflour (dissolves in 2 teaspoons water)

Recipe:

Prepare a thick batter by mixing together refined flour, cornflour, salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and water. Dip the cottage cheese cubes into this batter and deep fry in hot oil till golden. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok. Add the crushed garlic and onions and fry for a minute. Add the cubes capsicum and green chilly and saute for another minute. Add soy sauce, chilly sauce, black pepper and salt. Stir well. Mix in the cottage cheese cubes and stir so that the sauces coat the cubes well. Add one teaspoon cornflour dissolved in 2 teaspoons water and cook till the sauces thicken and start appearing glossy. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

PS: If you want your Chilly Paneer as a Main Course with gravy, add a cup of water after adding the cottage cheese cubes and cook for 5 mins before adding the dissolved cornflour.

MUSHROOM, BABY CORN, SHALLOTS IN HOT GARLIC SAUCE

Ingredients:

100 grams button mushrooms (washed well and cut into 4 quarters)
100 grams baby corn (washed and sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces)
1 cup shallots (chopped, bulb-leaves separated)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 inch ginger (crushed)
1 red chilly (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons red chilly sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon cornflour (dissolved in 2 tablespoons water)
3 cups water

Recipe:

Steam the mushrooms and baby corn in 2 cups salted water till they are tender. Drain and keep aside. Heat oil in a wok and fry the crushed garlic and ginger till they start turning brown. Add the chopped shallot bulbs and fry till they turn translucent. Now, add the steamed mushrooms and baby corn and stir. Add red chilly, dark soy sauce, chilly sauce, pepper and salt and mix well. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the chopped shallot leaves. Cover the wok with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cornflour dissolved in water and mix well. Remove from heat as soon as the gravy starts to thicken. Serve hot.

SCHEZWAN FRIED RICE

Ingredients:

1 bowl long grain rice (cooked till just done)
1 bowl finely chopped mixed vegetables (carrots, french beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, peas)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon Schezwan Sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)

Recipe:

Heat oil in a wok and fry the crushed garlic till it starts turning brown. Add the mixed vegetables and saute on high flame for 2 mins. Add Schezwan sauce, dark soy sauce, black pepper and salt. Mix well. Add in the cooked rice and stir. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 mins. Mix well before removing from heat. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.

SCHEZWAN SAUCE

To make Schezwan Sauce at home, soak 10 dry red chillies in water for an hour. Remove the seeds and blend the red chillies into a fine paste. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a wok and fry 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste till it starts turning brown. Add the red chilly paste and fry till oil separates. Add 3 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil. Add a few drops of vinegar and salt to taste. Cook till the mixture acquires a thick sauce-like consistency.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

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