What do you say of a nice romantic date? I say maybe we go out to a fine place for a cozy candle light dinner… or I make you sandwiches and you carry a picnic hamper as we head out to the beach… lets go back to our teens and catch a nice movie in a theatre with a huge bag of popcorn and coke… if not then lets shut down all the gadgets and let me cook you a nice dinner that we will then have on bed, we can tuck our feet into the comforter, maybe share a glass of wine and chat aimlessly like those initial days. Will it bring a smile on your lips? Will that make you happy? I know it will…
To the good times then, now and forever…
- Cauliflower – 1/2 medium, cut into small florets
- Oil – for deep frying
For the batter:
- All purpose flour – 5 tbsp
- Cornstarch – 3 tbsp (flour:cornstarch will always be in 5:3 ratio)
- Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Salt – to taste (If you are adding Soy sauce which already is salty, add accordingly)
- Black Pepper powder – to taste
- Red chilli powder – to taste
- Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp (optional but adding it gives a nice deep color)
- Paprika – optional, to be used for extra red color
- Water – to make a thick batter
For the sauce:
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Onion – 1/2 medium, finely chopped
- Garlic, finely chopped – 3-4 colves
- Green chillies, finely chopped – to taste (since you are adding chilli sauce adjust accordingly)
- Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp
- Chilli Sauce – 2 tsp (adjust to taste)
- Tomato Sauce – 1 tbsp
- Salt – to taste (soy sauce has some salt in it so add accordingly)
- Sugar (optional) use only if required – sometimes if the sauce becomes too tangy you might need to add little sugar, check the taste first and then decide if you need to add it.
Note: The quantities for the sauces mentioned are approximates since I never measure them while pouring. Just eye ball it, add little at first, taste it and add more if required.
For Garnishing: (use any of these)
- Chopped Cilantro
- Chilli vinegar – optional but adds a great flavor. Follow instructions mentioned below on how to prepare this.
- Chopped green chillies – for extra spice
- Spring onions, roughly chopped – I did not use it this time
Marinate and deep fry:
- Soak the florets in hot (not boiling) water for 2-3 minutes. Drain completely and pat dry.
- In a bowl add all the ingredients for the batter except water and mix well. Add little water at time and keep mixing with a whisk to get a thick batter of pouring consistency. Do a taste test and adjust the spices accordingly.
- Add the florets and mix them so that they are well coated with the batter. You can add some extra flour if the batter is too thin or add extra water if it is too thick.
- Keep aside the marinated florets for almost an hour to a couple of hours, the longer the better.
- Heat oil in a deep fryer / pan. Once hot add the florets in batches and fry them till they are cooked and turn golden. Do not over fry or they will turn mushy.
Note: The first time I was making this, I got the proportions messed up so that batter was falling off when frying. Once the entire batch was done, I added the fried florets in the leftover batter again and re-fried them.
- Drain the fried florets onto a paper towel.
Prepare the sauce:
- Heat up a pan and add 1 tbsp of oil. If using the same pan as used for deep frying the florets remove the oil leaving almost a tbsp of oil.
- Add the chopped onions, garlic, green chillies and fry for a couple of minutes until the onions turn translucent.
- Add all the other ingredients – sauces, salt and sugar (if needed) and mix well.
- Sprinkle some water and cook for a couple of minutes so that it comes to a light boil. Check taste and adjust salt and the sauces accordingly.
Note: If you want you can prepare the sauce before hand. Fry the florets just before serving as they will loose the crispiness if kept for a while. You can assemble the dish just before eating.
Assemble the dish:
- Reheat the sauce if made previously.
- Add the florets to the sauce. Mix gently.
- Garnish with any of these – chopped cilantro, green chillies, chilli vinegar or chopped spring onions.
How to make chilli vinegar:
You can use this for any Chinese / Indo-Chinese cooking. So if you need it very frequently make in large quantity or else if you are going to use it once in a while like it do make a smaller portion.
- Take 3-4 tbsp of white vinegar.
- Roughly or finely chop 2-3 green chillies and add them (along with the seeds) to the vinegar. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Use it for garnishing.
Serve it as a side or a starter.
After a wonderful and sunny weekend, the rains and dark clouds have come back to pester my state of mind again. I realize how much dependent my mood has become on the weather. So after days of being not in touch with my blog I decided to catch up on the pending recipes lying in the draft section. Somehow I know working on my blog is going to cheer me up today in spite if the gloominess outside! Tomorrow will mark the completion of a year of my marital bliss and am suddenly feeling very happy and excited about it. One whole year of togetherness just flew by…. last year this time I was amidst houseful of relatives and festivities. Looking back it sure had been the most memorable year in my life. I plan to watch my wedding video today before BBC joins me in the evening. But prior to that I need to share this wonderful recipe with you all.
Chilli Chicken, originally a Chinese ‘formula’ has undergone may different variations in different parts of the world. So I am not sure in which version my recipe might fall into. However, I am familiar with the way my mom cooks it and I followed suit. My husband also does a good job of this ‘sans’ the egg. Have it as a starter or a main course, it will remain a lip-smacking dish always!
- Chicken, cut into small bite size pieces – 500 gms
- Vinegar – 2 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Egg – 1
- Cornflour/Cornstarch – 2-3 tbsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp for frying
- Onions, sliced – 2 medium-sized
- Bell peppers, cut into thick strips – 1
- Ginger paste – 1 tsp
- garlic paste or chopped – 8-10 cloves
- green chilies, chopped – 5-6
- Soya sauce -1.5 tbsp
- Tomato sauce -2 tbsp
- Chilli sauce -1 tbsp or to taste
- Chicken stock – 1 cup (if not available, substitute with water)
- Cut the chicken into small pieces and marinate with vinegar and salt for 10 minutes. (Boneless chicken is preferrable.)
- Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch to the chicken, break the eggs and mix well. keep it aside for another 10-15 mins.
- Heat sufficient oil in a pan and fry the chicken pieces till golden brown. Drain and keep aside.
- In the same pan (add 1 tbsp more oil if required), heat the oil and fry the onions.
- Add bell pepper, chopped green chillies, ginger paste and garlic to it and saute for a while.
- Add soya, tomato and chilli sauce to it as per taste and mix well.
- Add the left over marinade and chicken stock or water and mix well.
- Add the chicken pieces and cover and cook for a while.
- Mix the remaining cornstarch with 2-3 tbsp of water and add to the mixture.
- Mix well and let it simmer for a minute.
- Garnish with spring onions and serve hot.
- For starters or a dry preparation let the excess moisture evaporate to the desired consistency.
- For main course or gravy add chicken stock or water and cook till the desired consistency.
It was after my first month of cooking that I woke up one morning and just blurted to my husband that I wanted to cook veg manchurain. I don’t know what happened but I just did! And I had no clue how to do that. Following my routine I started searching the websites and finally got down to preparing the dish. Boy!!! It was my first experiment with a new dish and what an achievement it was! I realised that this was probably one of the easiest things to cook (though the preparation can take some time). A very healthy way of cooking (if you ignore the consumed in frying) all the vegetables and tasty one too!
- Vegetables – grated, can also use ither than those mentioned below or can exclude any of them as well.
- Cabbage / Cauliflower, grated – 1 medium
- Carrot, grated – 1 medium
- French beans, chopped – 1 medium
- Spring onions with greens, chopped – 3 medium (optional)
- Green capsicum, seeded and chopped – 1
- Salt – taste
- Refined flour (maida) – 1/4 cup
- Cornflour/ corn starch – 1/4 cup
- Chopped Green chillies / Red chilli powder
- Oil – to deep fry
- Oil – 2 tablespoons
- Onions, finely chopped – 1 large
- Ginger, chopped – 1 inch piece
- Garlic, chopped – 4-6 cloves
- Green chillies, chopped – 3
- Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
- Sugar – 1 teaspoon (or to taste)
- MSG/flavored salt – 1/2 teaspoon (optional but the preferred)
- Salt – to taste
- Vegetable stock – 2 1/2 cups (optional)
- Cornflour/ corn starch – 2 tablespoons
- Vinegar or lime juice – 1 tsp (optional or as per the desired tangy taste)
- Mix the grated veggies in a bowl with one teaspoon of salt (to taste), green chillies or red chilli powder, chopped spring onion, capsicum, refined flour and one-fourth cup of cornflour.
- Mix thoroughly and shape into lemon sized balls.
- Heat sufficient oil in a wok and deep-fry vegetable balls in small batches for three to four minutes on medium heat or until golden brown.
- Drain on absorbent paper.
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wok or a pan and stir-fry chopped onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
- Add soy sauce, salt. sugar and MSG to taste.
- Stir in vegetable stock and bring to a boil.Ignore this step if vegetable stock is not available.
- Stir in cornflour blended in a cup of water and cook for a couple of minutes or till the sauce starts to thicken, stirring continuously.
- Add the fried vegetable balls, vinegar and mix well.
- If you want to serve it dry without the sauce, reduce the stock to one cup and add cornflour in the sauce to one and a half tablespoons only.
Note – Tastes best with fried rice.