Ever since we came back from Beijing we miss eating the authentic Chinese food. I have been experimenting with different chinese ingredients and vegetables found here in the South-east asian grocery stores to get that authentic taste. To my good luck, recently I came across a book in the library by the name ” MY CHINA A feast for all senses” by “Kylie Wong”. This book is not just about recipes but gives an insight of the different regions in China, in short a culinary journey.
There are lot of Vegetarian dishes in this book which I will put up on the blog soon coz many people associate Chinese cooking with only Meats and sea-food. The three basic ingredients in most recipes is “Shao hsing wine” ” brown rice vinegar” “Light soy sauce” and “Sesame oil”. I tried out this Chicken dish and it came out very well.
For this recipe-
600g ( 1 lb 4 0z) Chicken thigh fillets cut into 1cm cubes
2 tbsp cornflour ( I used all purpose flour)
2tbsp Shao hsing wine
10 small dried red chillies
2 tbsp peanut oil ( I used corn coil )
2 in piece ginger cut into thin stripes
1 tbsp brown sugar ( granulated sugar will also do)
2tbsp light soy sauce
1tbsp brown rice vinegar. ( I used rice vinegar found in south -east asian grocery store)
The orginal recipe has green garlic chives but since I didn’t find them I used a bunch of scallions cut into 5cm lengths
Combine the chicken with the cornflour and the Shao hsing wine in a bowl and marinate it for about an hour.
Place oil and chillies in cold wok or pan and then turn heat to low. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes till the chillies begin to darken slightly. Using a slotted spoon remove the chillies and drain on kitchen paper. Now the oil is infused with the chilli flavour. Leave it in the wok and turn the heat upto high and stir fry half of the chicken for about 3minutes till you see it turning a bit brown in colour. Remove it with a slotted spoon. If needed add extra oil to the wok and stir-fry the remaining chicken in the same way. Return all the chicken to the wok along with the ginger and chillies and stir-fry for 1minute. Add sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the brown rice vinegar, soy sauce and scallions ( or garlic chives) and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Serve immediately.
The cooking time in Chinese recipes is very less as you must have noticed and they taste better if served immediately. Once you have the ingredients in hand its very easy to make the dishes. This particular dish turned out to be very good, its hot in taste and the scallions added a freshness and colour to it. One can add other veggies like green pepper as well instead of chives or scallions. I hope you all enjoy this one, zai -jian !
I had mentioned in my earlier post that this week is Food festival week so it was for me 🙂 Last Sunday was Ganesh Chaturthi one of the Indian festivals and I made a sweet dish called “Modak” which resembles a dumpling but with a sweet filling inside it. In the state of Maharashtra in India, Ganesh Chaturthi ( 4th day after the new moon day according to the Lunar calender) is celebrated with great enthusiasm and modak is synonymous with Lord Ganesha.
To make Modak one has to first prepare the filling.
Ingredients- 2 cup of fresh grated coconut
1 cup of jaggery / sugar. ( I took 3/4 proportion og jaggery and 1/4 of sugar)
1/4 tsp of cardamom powder.
Saffron ( optional)
Heat up a pan and mix the coconut with the jaggery and stir it over medium flame till the water from the coconut evaporates. Add raisins and cardamom powder to it.
Once the filling is prepared we proceed to make the dough for the modaks. Boil about 2 cups of water , add a little oil and 1/4 tsp of salt to it. Once the water boils add 2 1/2 cups of rice flour to it and stir immediately on a low flame so that the flour forms a lump. Then switch of the flame and cover the vessel with a lid for about a minute or so. While the dough is still hot apply bit of oil on the hands and knead the dough well. Take a small ball of the dough and with the fingers make it like a cup. Keep the rest of the dough covered as it tends to dry up quickly . Add the filling in the centre of the cup and then with your fingers pinch the sides and then gather them together to close the dumpling. When finished it should look like a lotus bud. Once the modaks are steam them and they are ready to eat. Traditionally they are steamed over a base of banana leaf so that they retain the moisture and the covering doesn;t become too dry.
Making modaks by hand is a skill which I haven’t yet mastered thoroughly so some of my modaks don’t look dainty. One can also use a Modak mold so the process is less tedious. I recommend that use a fresh pack of rice flour when you make modaks otherwise the dough tends to break at the edges .
I hope you all enjoy making modaks and if anyone of you has a nice picture do send it to me and I will post it on the blog.
The month of Aug in India is a month of festivals and for me that equates to yummy food. When I was growing up my mother always made special dishes on certain occasions. On Gokulashtami day ( Birth of Lord Krishna according to the Mythological tale) she used to prepare this recipe out of raw bananas. So this year I thought why not try out the same, ofcourse with variations because we don’t get those raw bananas ( rajali keli) in the US. For this recipe I took –
5 ripe Bananas,
1 cup of fresh grated coconut,
1/3 cup of jaggery ,
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder,
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder,
1tbsp of clarified butter / Ghee.
Cut the Bananas into halves and then slit them but not all the way. To make the stuffing, heat up the pan and add the grated coconut and jaggery and fry it well till the water in the coconut dries up. Add the raisins, nutmeg and cardamom to it. Now stuff the bananas with this taking care that they don’t break. The ripe bananas are very soft and tend to break easily and if they do then tie them up with a thread so that they hold the stuffing well.
Heat up a shallow pan and the clarified butter or ghee, then arrange the bananas in the pan and let them become brown on both the sides. In the original recipe you have to let the bananas cook but since we are using ripe ones don’t cover the pan to cook them. Once the bananas have a nice golden brown colour on both the sides take them off the heat. Some of the stuffing will come out of the bananas and thats acceptable.
This dish can be served either warm or cold. Its quick and easy to make and something quite traditional. I hope you enjoy this recipe.
This recipe is the Maharashtrian counterpart of the South-indian dosa. It comes from the western costal region of Maharashtra. My mom makes this in the month of “shravan” which falls in end July or August. I have never tried it but I thought of sharing this recipe with you all.
Ingredients- 1kg of rice, 1/2 kg or Urid flour, 1/2 cup of chana dal, 1/2 cup of wheat flour, 1/4 cup of methi ( fenugreek seeds) salt to taste.
First wash the rice & dry it indoors & then grind it in to a fine paste. The chana dal should also be soaked & then ground. Then combine all the ingredients, add sufficient quantity of water to make a thick batter like consistency & let if ferment overnight. Pour it in a metal vessel , cover it & keep the vessel in a warm place. If the batter comes up the next day that means it has fermented well. Heat up a pan or griddle & spread the batter for a thickness similar to that of “adai dosas ” or “pancakes”. Spread some oil around it so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. The ambolis are ready to eat when the bottom side turns golden brown.
One can eat this with any veggie or curry or even with Rice kheer. This is one of my favourite dishes. Thought the process & few ingredients are similar to that of Dosa it tastes different.
This is one healthy & easy to make recipe for kids. Take 1 cup of Moong dal ( green) & soak it overnight. Drain the water, cover the the container & let it sprout. Then grind the sprouts with little water, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, curry leaves, ginger, fresh cilantro/coriander & salt to taste. Soak 1/2 cup of Rice flour & then it to the above mixture. Add salt to taste. Heat the pan & spread the batter to make dosas.
This is a Maharashtrian Sweet dish called “Ninav” , the key ingredient of which is “Besan” . My mom always made this & everyone at home enjoyed eating it. So here is my mom’s recipe-
Ingredients- 1/2 kg chana dal ( or besan ) , 1/2 cup whole wheat grain ( or whole wheat flour) , 1/2 cup Rice ( or rice flour) . Roast everything separately . Grind it to fine flour if you are taking the whole grains. Take 1 cup of this flour & add 1/2 cup of jaggery, 2 cups of coconut milk, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp of cardamom, 1/4th tsp of nutmeg , 2 tbsp of ghee or clarified butter & mix it well. Put this mixture on low heat , keep stirring it to avoid lumps till you get a consistency of a porridge. Then take a baking pan, smear it with butter & pour this mixture into it. Preheat the oven to 150C & keep the above batter for 20 min till u see it getting a brownish tinge.
I hope you enjoy making this for your family!
Thought you might like to try out this recipe….lemme know how it turns out or any ways to improve it!
Heat up the Ghee, add the Rawa & saute it till it turns light brown .
Heat up the milk a little bit, add sugar in it so that it dissolves. Add the milk to the rawa & mix well so that it doesnt form lumps.
Once the Rawa absorbs the milk & swells up, lower the flame & cover it with a lid for 10 min or so.
Garnish with almonds, & raisins.