Chilli Chicken Gravy

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Chilli chicken, what can I say about it. It tops my favorites list, especially this version of it. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, Indo Chinese is my favorite cuisine and for the same reason, I am very particular about how it tastes. I miss the kind of variety of Indo Chinese dishes we get in India. I haven’t found a restaurant here that serves good Indo Chinese food.

Some of the these dishes that has sweet, hot and sour taste, can be really tricky. They would taste awesome with the perfect proportions and awful if the proportions go wrong. For me, Indo Chinese and Chat varieties fall in that category. That’s my problem with these restaurants. Somehow, the proportions don’t go with my liking. The problem with most restaurants is that they make the dishes more sweet. I am a person who can manage more hot or sour taste but I totally dislike when the dish/main course is sweet.

This is my mom’s version of Chilli Chicken which has been a hit in our family and also among my friends. When I go home for vacation and return to the hostel, my friends would wait for me to get my mom’s chilli chicken and tomato rice. The combination might not sound very appetizing, but trust me, we all used to just dig in and end up licking our fingers, still wanting for more 😛

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Chicken – 300 gm
Bell pepper/Capsicum – 1 no, chopped
Onion – 1 no, chopped
Garlic – 10 pods, minced
Green chilli – 1 no
Soy sauce – 1/2 tsp
Chilli garlic sauce – 1 tbsp
Vinegar – 1/4 tsp
Ajinomotto – 2 pinches
Ground black pepper – 1/4 tsp
Cornflour – 1 heaped tsp(optional)
Oil – 5 tbsp
Salt – to taste (1/2 tsp)
Red color – 2 pinches
Coriander leaves – 5 stands(optional)
Green onion – 2 nos

To cook chicken:
Soy Sauce – 1 tsp
Vinegar – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Water – apprx. 1/4 cup

METHOD:

1. In a saucepan, boil and cook the chicken with some soy sauce, vinegar and salt. Cook covered and add water as required. Measurement given under ‘To cook chicken’ section.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Fry the minced garlic till its turn light brown. Strain the extra oil and keep the fried garlic aside(on a kitchen towel for the oil to drain fully).
3. Now fry the chopped bell pepper/capsicum till it turn crisp and light brown. Strain the extra oil and keep the fried bell pepper aside(on a kitchen towel for the oil to drain fully).
4. Now in the same pan, fry chopped onion. Let it cook till it becomes light brown. To this, add the fried garlic and bell pepper(that was kept aside).
5. Add red chilli powder(optional), green chilli, salt and ajinomotto and saute well.
6. Add cooked chicken along with the stock and stir well.
7. When the stock starts to dry up, add the hot sauce(Chilli garlic sauce), vinegar and food color(mixed in 1/4 cup water) and mix well.
8. Once the sauces evenly cover the pieces, add ground black pepper. Also, add water if you want gravy.
9. If you want the sauce to be thick, mix cornflour in 1/4 cup water and mix it to the chilly chicken. (I avoided step 9 since I din’t want a thick sauce.)
10. Let it boil and when it reaches the right consistency, remove from burner.
11. Garnish with chopped green onion/chives or coriander leaves.

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Schezwan Veg Fried rice

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Indo-Chinese is one of my favourite cuisines. As much as it is available in India, so much is it scarce here in US. There are couple of restaurants here and there, but it doesn’t come even close to the ‘Chinese’ we get in India. Usually we call Indo-chinese as ‘Chinese’ in India. So I was always under the impression that, what we get in India as Chinese, is what is authentic Chinese food 😛 I know! I was sooo ignorant!!! So when I came to US, one day my colleagues were discussing about where to go for lunch. So when someone suggested Chinese, I immediately supported him 😛 and so we went to a good Chinese restaurant. To my surprise, I didn’t find any of our ‘Chinese cuisine’ dishes in the menu. Chilli chicken, Chicken manchurian, Schezwan fried rice!!! I was so disappointed, but more than my disappointment, I was confused 😀

After talking and discussing with couple of my Chinese colleagues, I came to realize the hard fact that Indo-Chinese is just a creation of us Indians or Chinese who lived in India 😉 Atleast all the dishes I mentioned, weren’t even in their dictionary, let apart it being in their menu 😛 Haha..It was a big realization that Indo Chinese is just a cuisine that came up when apparently some Chinese living in India, used some of their ingredients/spices and adapted it to Indian cooking techniques. What a find!!! 🙂 I am glad we have this amazing cuisine today.

Unfortunately or fortunately, whenever I have Indo -Chinese food craving, I have to think of making it myself. But having said that, it is really simple if you have some of these ingredients handy. Usually, whenever you make Indo-Chinese, it turns out pretty good. So I keep making it and enjoy it each time 😛

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is rice cup, 1 cup = 180 ml

Garlic – 6-7 pods
Ginger – 1 inch size
Dry red chilli – 4 no(s)
Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Red bell pepper – 1/2 no, chopped
Green bell pepper – 1/2 no, chopped
Green peas – 1/2 cup
Carrot – 1/2 cup, chopped
Green onion – 4 strands, chopped
Onion – 1 small no(s)
Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp
Vinegar – 2 tsp
Chilli garlic sauce – 1.5 tbsp
Ajinomotto – 2 pinches
Ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 5 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Soak the ginger, garlic and dry red chillies in water for an hour and grind it into a smooth paste.
2. Wash the rice and soak for 10 mins. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the rice for few mins(The color of the rice will become more solid white).
3. Cook the rice in cooker/rice cooker or any other preferred way. Keep aside.
4. Heat remaining oil in a pan and put ground ginger-garlic-dry red chilli paste.
5. Saute till the raw smell of the ginger and garlic goes off. Then put onion and cook till onions turn pink.
6. Put all vegetables(green peas, carrot, red bell pepper and green bell pepper). Saute till the vegetables cook through.
7. Then put ajinomotto, ground black pepper, soy sauce, chilli garlic sauce, vinegar and green onion.
8. Saute for few mins till the sauces mix well with the vegetables.
9. Mix cooked rice with the vegetable mix and give a good mix. Remove from heat.

Serve with chilli-vinegar and manchurian 🙂

Veg Hakka Noodles

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Right from my childhood, if there is one thing that has consistently been in the top 5 of my favorite food list, that would be Noodles. I remember during my schooldays, I used to take noodles almost 70% of the times for lunch. And I was very skinny then. So everyone used to tease me saying I eat so much noodles and that’s the reason I look like it too 😛 Funny huh!!! But that never demotivated me 😉

There used to be a time, when I used to really enjoy Maggi , Top Ramen and all. But these days, I prefer making noodles with flavors I like. So I prefer buying any kind plain noodles (Hakka noodles, Egg noodles, rice noodles etc. ) Today let us make Veg Hakka noodles. This is one of the most easiest recipes and a quick one too. And it tastes yummy just like you would get in an Indo-chinese fast food restaurant 😀

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INGREDIENTS:

Hakka noodles – 2 cakes or 300 gms
Red bell pepper – ½ nos
Green bell pepper – ½ nos
Cabbage – ½ cup
Carrot – 1 small sized
Green onion – 4 nos
Onion – 1 small sized
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Oil – 6 tbsp
Ground Black pepper – 1/4th tsp
Ajinomoto(optional) – a generous pinch
Salt – to taste (approx. 1/2 tsp)

METHOD:

1. In a sauce pan boil sufficient amount of water to boil the noodles. To avoid sticking of noodles, add 2 tsp of oil to the water. To boiling water, put the noodles and boil for few mins so that the noodles is 80% done. Drain the water and keep noodles aside.
2. Cut all the vegetables into thin slices or julienne.
3. Heat oil in a wok/pan. Add sliced garlic and saute till it becomes light brown.
4. Add onion and saute in medium flame for a min. Add red bell pepper, green bell pepper and carrot and saute for 1 more minute.
5. Then add the sliced cabbage and saute all the vegetables for about a min. To this add enough salt, ajinomoto and freshly ground black pepper.
6. Note that the vegetables doesn’t have to cook through fully. For this kind of noodles, the vegetables should have little crunch to it.
7. To this add the cooked noodles. Stir for couple of minutes.
8. Garnish with chopped green onion.

Serve with chilli garlic sauce or ketchup/hot sauce.