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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Chinese - for beginners.

Veg. Noodles, Fried Rice with Veg. Manchurian and chilli vinegar.

Chinese food is all about preparation. If you have all veggies chopped up. Noodles boiled and rice steamed - then Chinese is the fastest way to chase your hunger away!

So without further ado - Lets dig in!

Veg. Fried Rice

Ingredients --
2 bowls of boiled Rice, preferably Basmati as that tastes n smells nice! Left overs will be fine!
1 medium sized onion diced into 1cm squares.
1 carrot carrot diced into 1cm squares.
1/2 capsicum diced into 1cm squares
handful of french beans finely chopped
1 small bowl peas (boiled) *optional - only if u r a pea-a-holic*
1 chopped chilli
2-3 table spoons of oil
2-3 table spoons of dark soy sauce
Chilli flakes (optional or how hot u'd like)
Black pepper (Cracked/powder)
Salt to taste

Method --
1. Add oil in a hot pan.
2. Add onions and cook for a minute.
3. Add the capsicum, carrot, beans and peas. Let the vegetables cook for about 4 minutes. Keep tossing so they mix well.
4. Add the boiled rice to the pan. Pour the soy sauce, add black pepper and salt to taste. Now mix the rice and the veggies. (if you mix the rice - then season - then mix again - you'll break the rice too much!)
5. Cook for a minute.


* Sprinkle white vinegar before serving.
* Sprinkle long bean sprouts over the rice before serving.
* Can add more veggies like snow peas, beans, cabbage and brocolli.

Basic Veg. Fried Noodles

Ingredients --
2 bowls of plain boiled Noodles
1 large sized onion chopped into long strings
1 carrot chopped julianne
1 capsicum chopped julianne
1/4 cabbage chopped julianne
handful of french beans chopped diagnally *optional*
2-3 table spoons of oil
2-3 table spoons of dark soy sauce
Black pepper (Cracked/powder)
Salt to taste

Method --
1. Add oil in a hot pan.
2. Add onions and cook for a minute.
3. Add the capsicum, carrot, beans and cabbage. Let the vegetables cook. Keep tossing.
4. Add the boiled noodles to the pan. Pour the soy sauce, add black pepper and salt to taste. Now mix the noodles and the veggies.
5. Cook for a minute.

Same TIPS as for the fried rice above.
*Shall put up recipes for Hookien Noodles with Thai curry in future posts.*

Veg. Manchurian

Ingredients --
Gravy -
1 large sized onion chopped
1/2 cup spring onions chopped
1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger finely chopped
2 tablespoons corn flour dissolved in 1 small bowl of water
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste

Manchurian Balls -
1 carrot boiled n chopped into small pieces
handful of french beans boiled n chopped into small pieces
1/4 cabbage chopped finely
1/2 cup corn flour
2-3 table spoons of dark soy sauce
Black pepper (Cracked/powder)
Salt to taste

Method --
Gravy -
1. Add oil in a hot pan.
2. Add onions and cook till the onionc turn slightly golden.
3. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for a minute. Add soy sauce to the mix, then add 2 cups water and let the whole mix come to a boil.
4. Add the corn flour and water paste to the boiling mix in the pan and cook till the gravy thickens.
5. Add black pepper, sugar and salt to taste. Garnish with spring onions n put aside.

Manchurian Balls -
1. Mix the chopped carrots, cabbage and beans in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add corn flour, soy sauce, black pepper and salt. Now add water 1/4 cup at a time till you get a thick mix that can be easily rolled into balls.
3. Fry the balls in hot oil.
4. Once all balls are ready, mix them with the gravy and enjoy with noodles and rice!!

* Can also dip cauliflower florets in the paste made with just Step 2 of manchurian balls above and fry the cauliflower florets to make 'Cauliflower Manchurian'.

The simple and tasty garnish for all Chinese dishes - Chilli Vinegar.

Ingredients --
Handful of fresh green/red chillies
1/2 bowl of white vinegar

Method --
Before you start cooking all your Chinese dishes - just chop the chillies into little rings and put them in white vinegar and leave to the side.

Garnish the mix over your rice/noodles and see the *zing* it adds to your Chinese!! :D

*PHEW* - Longest recipe post me thinks.....

Monday, August 15, 2005

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer - which is the Indian word for Cottage cheese or Fresh Ricotta Cheese.

This is one easy dish that tastes awesome and looks absolutely delicious. Be it a party at home or just a big lunch/dinner you want to make to pamper yourself on the weekend....Paneer - is the best!

I should tell you in advance that I use a masala that I import from India from my mum's kitchen to make all Paneer and Pulao things. We (mummy, didi and I) call it the "Maharaj Masala"!
And unfortunately I don't know the exact ingredients for it and I keep forgetting to ask Mom everytime I call her - thats why it's been days since I'm finally posting the recipe...without that masala.
But I promise to post the Maharaj Masala ingredients as soon as I get them . In the mean time - we can use the Kitchen King Masala assisted with a bit if Kasoori Methi as Google tells me that they taste just as good.

Paneer Butter Masala

Ingredients --
(for 4 people)
1/2kg Paneer or Fresh Ricotta Cheese or Fried Paneer cubes (for those in North America)
1 200-300ml tub of Thickened cream (can use full cream milk too, but will need to boil the mixture much longer!)
10-12 Cashewnuts
2 large onions
2 large tomatoes
4 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
2 teaspoons of turmeric powder *haldi*
5 crushed cloves *laung*
5 crushed cardamom *elaichi*
Kitchen King masala + Kasoori Methi powder OR "Maharaj Masala" (That I shall post soon)
Chilli flakes (upto you how hot u'd like)
Salt to taste

Method --

Preparation -
1. Soak the cashwes with water in a small bowl and put aside.
2. Paneer Prep - For those using fresh Paneer/Ricotta - cut it into small cubes and fry them in oil will the pieces are slightly golden. Remove paneer from oil and put aside.
3. Onion Mix - In a vegetable chopper/mixie put the two peeled onions cut into large pieces. Add the ginger-garlic paste, add the cloves and cardamom. Make a fine paste and put aside.
4. Tomato puree - My mom told me to boil the tomatoes and then remove the skin and puree them. And well...I am too lazy to do that - so my cheat trick => Simply cut the tomatoes into large pieces and puree them in the chopper/mixie and put aside.
5. Cashew Paste - Puree the cashews with the water they were soaked in the chopper/mixie (Can add more water if the mix is too dry!). Make rough paste and put side.

Cook -
1. With the remaining oil in the pan after frying the paneer (if you did fry it!) add the onion mix and fry till golden brown.
2. Add the Kitchen king masala, Kasoori methi, turmeric powder and chilli flakes - fry the mix a few more minutes.
3. Add the tomatoo puree to the frying onion mix and continue to cook for another 10 mins. Stir randomly so the mix dosent settle to the bottom.
4. Add cashew paste and cream to the frying onion/tomato paste and continue to cook for another 5-10 mins. Add salt to taste.
5. Add the fried paneer cubes and cook for 2 minutes.

Serve hot with Parathas or Naan or just steamed rice! :D