Manchow Soup

It is always hard to replicate the flavours of a foreign cuisine at home. I have always struggled with Chinese dishes and was almost about to give up when I came across a recipe for Manchow soup. This is a great dish and I found it very versatile as it can be used as the base for veg ball manchurian dish or you can add fried paneer and capsicum to make it a chilli paneer dish. It would go perfectly with fried noodles to make it American chopsuey or can be eaten with fried rice as well. Just adjust the consistency.

Here is my version of Manchow soup.

Ingredients

1 carrot

¼ head cabbage

1 capsicum

8-10 french beans

1 large onion

8-10 garlic cloves

1 inch ginger

1 Green chilli

2 tbsp oil

3-4 cups water or vegetable stock

1 tbsp chilli sauce

2 tbsp dark soya sauce

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tbsp vinegar

4-5 tbsp cornflour

Salt and Pepper to taste

Manchow Soup

The first step is to prep the vegetables. Some people like to chop them into tiny bits. However, it is easier to shred them in a food processor. It will give better texture and the process itself is very fast. So shred the carrot, cabbage and capsicum to get about 2 cups of vegetables. Chop or julienne the french beans. Keep aside.

Chop the onion, garlic and ginger as well as the green chillies.

Heat oil in a large pan and saute the onions, garlic and ginger followed by the rest of the vegetables.

Add the water or if you prefer, vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer on low.

Add soya sauce, ketchup and chilli sauce.

Add salt and pepper.

Mix cornflour in a few spoonfuls of water and add to the soup. Let the soup thicken. Keep stirring continuously when adding cornflour to avoid forming lumps.

Add vinegar and let the soup simmer for 10-15 mins.

Serve hot with croutons and cream.

Crispy Sabudana Vada

Potato might be a staple but it is very difficult to use it sometimes. Take the example of sabudana vada. Various recipes suggest using boiled and mashed potatoes but it is very difficult to form perfect vada with them. There are many problems. First of all, the vada sometimes breaks off in the oil and does not hold its shape. This dirties the oil and also spoils vada. Second, the vada ends up being very soggy and oily. Here is a recipe which rescues the vada and makes it crisp as well as makes sure the shape is held together.

Ingredients

1/2 cup soaked sabudana

1 medium potato

2 tbsp peanut powder

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp red chilli

1 tsp chaat masala

1 tbsp chopped coriander

Oil for frying

The recipe calls for 1/2 cup soaked sabudana and not the dry version. This will make around 10 vada. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the sabudana.

Peel and grate the potato. Again, squeeze out as much water as possible.

Mix sabudana, grated potato, peanut powder and the rest of the dry ingredients. Make 10 equal sized balls and press slightly to form disks.

Heat the oil in a skillet or a pan. Make sure the oil is boiling hot before frying the vada in it or they might break.

Fry the vada till golden brown turning once. Drain the vada on a tissue and serve hot.

Homemade Garlic Bread

Life is so simple that everything is available ready made these days. However, a home cooked meal is the best thing in the world. Simply because the smaller the quantity, the greater the attention to detail and hence, better the taste. Also, you can vary the ingredients as you choose. One such dish is garlic bread. Having never made it myself, till yesterday, I always thought it tastes best when ordered at Pizza Hut. Only, it gets cold and tasteless by the time it gets home. Try this recipe at home and you will never purchase garlic bread from the market.

 

Garlic bread served with pasta

Ingredients

1 ciabatta or small baguette

3-4 galic cloves

4 tbsp butter

1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Salt and pepper for seasoning

 

Garlic Bread

Peel and chop the garlic cloves and mix with the butter. Keep aside.

Slice the baguette along its width to get 1 inch thick circular slices.

Pre-heat the oven to grill.

Spread the garlic butter on the baguette slices. Sprinkle mozarella cheese and salt and pepper.

Pop the slices in the oven and grill for 5 minutes.

Serve hot.

Tip: You can add chopped veggies on top of the mozarella cheese  for some color and extra flavor.

Gobhi Manchurian

There were days when I used to order in Gobhi Manchurian every week and order it whenever I would go out without fail. Unfortunately, it is not available in London. So I thought why not try it at home. It is quite easy to make but requires a lot of ingredients. As this is a very spicy dish, you need all the ingredients to make it a success.

Ingredients

1 medium-sized cauliflower

4 tbsp plain flour

4 tbsp cornflour

1 onion

4-5 cloves garlic

1 green chilli

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tbsp red chilli sauce

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 sprig green onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil

 

Gobhi Manchurian

To Fry Gobhi

Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets and wash properly.

Mix flour with 2 tbsp cornflour. Add a little salt and pepper and slowly add water to make a paste of pouring consistency.

Heat oil in a skillet or a large saucepan. When the oil is hot, dip the cauliflower florets in the batter and fry them in it till they are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside for later.

Gravy

Chop the onion and garlic. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and garlic in it. Chop the green chilli and add to it.

Add the tomato ketchup and saute for 2-3 mins till everything holds together. Add the soya sauce, vinegar, red chilli sauce, salt and pepper and mix.

If you want to serve dry gobhi manchurian, mix the fried cauliflower and fold it in till it coats all the florets completely. Chop the green onions and sprinkle on the gobhi manchurian before serving.

If you want to serve gobhi manchurian with gravy, mix cornflour with 1 cup water and add to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 mins to get a nice consistency. Add the florets right before serving to keep them crispy. Don’t forget to garnish with chopped green onions.

French ‘melt in your mouth’ Meringues

Meringue is a French dessert made by whipping egg whites. There are various types of meringues, the sweetened uncooked beaten egg whites, the partly cooked ones or the classic dry light featherweight ones. Different techniques are used for each one of these but the most commonly used by home bakers is French meringue. These resemble cookies and are like candy fluff which melt as soon as you place them in your mouth.

Meringues used like cookies are baked at a very low heat for a long time. One name for them is ‘Forgotten Cookies’ as they can be left in a gas oven for long periods of time after the cooking is done. They are not supposed to be tanned at all, but they need to be very crisp and dry.

Meringues are actually very easy to make. All you need is eggs, an electric whisk (do not try to beat eggs by hand – it is too time consuming and not worth it) and clean utensils. Yes, clean bowls and spoons are required because the beaten egg whites will not hold if any grease or water is present. For the same reason, so not use plastic utensils. Stainless steel or glass bowls are best.

Also, make sure that the egg yolk does not mix with the egg whites otherwise the peaks will not form. Use separate bowls to carefully remove the egg yolk. If any egg shells fall into the egg whites, use a clean dry spoon to remove them.

When egg whites are beaten you will get soft, firm and then stiff peaks. Some of the hydrogen bonds in the proteinbreak, causing the protein’s structure to unfold. This change in structure leads to the stiff consistency required for meringues. Cream of tartar may be required to additionally denature the proteins to create the firm peaks.

Cooked meringue cannot be refrigerated or it will become soggy. They will keep for at least a week if stored in an airtight container.

French Meringues

Ingredients

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

1 tsp food coloring (optional)

Separate the egg whites. Whisk them into stiff peaks. The peaks should not fold when the whisk is lifted.

Mix both the sugars and add a little at a time to the egg whites while whisking. The egg whites will change texture and become shiny and soft. Add the vanilla essence and mix.

Drop the food coloring and give it a swirl.

Set the oven at the lowest gas mark (Gas mark 1 or 110 C). Line a baking try with cookie sheet. Drop the egg whites with a dessert spoon forming little peaks on top. Bake for 1 hour and then let cool in the oven itself for another hour.

The meringues will be light and airy and will give a hollow sound when tapped at the bottom. Remove from oven and store in an air tight container.

 

Mini Chocolate Croissants

My mother always encouraged me to cook and gave me various ideas to work with. Now that I am married, it is my hubby who has taken up the role. These mini chocolate croissants were his idea completely. Right from getting puff pastry roll to making chocolate croissants out of them instead of boring old veg puffs. Good for me the goods were in the house….he he he. Well, I had always fancied making them after seeing It’s Complicated….but them who hasn’t 😀

Ingredients

Puff pastry dough (I used ready-made)

Chocolate spread

1/2 cup Walnuts (chopped)

Plain flour

1 egg + 2 tsp milk for egg wash

Thaw the pastry dough as mentioned on the cover and roll it out to the required specification.

Cut it into squares and then the squares into halves to get triangles.

Chocolate Croissants

Place 1 tbsp chocolate spread and a few walnut pieces near the largest edge of the triangle. Roll from this largest edge till the very tip of the triangle. Press lightly all over the croissant to make sure all the edges are sealed so the chocolate does not seep out. Form a crescent and place on the cookie sheet/baking tray with the triangle tip facing downwards. This will prevent the croissant from unravelling while baking.

Whisk an egg with 2 tsp milk and give an egg wash to the croissants to get a shiny surface.

Bake for 35 mins at 165 C in a preheated oven. Leave to cool on a wire rack before storing in an air tight container.

Choco Vanilla Pinwheels

Cookies are a great snack. The best thing is you can make some and keep them for later for the snack attack. Chocolate and vanilla cookies are beautiful to look at and taste great too.

Ingredients

2 cups and 1 1/2 tbsp plain flour

13 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 pinch salt

1 1/2 cocoa powder

1 egg

2/3 cup sugar

Chocolate and Vanilla Pinwheels

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla essence. Mix in the baking powder, salt and flour to get a firm dough.

Divide the dough in half. To one half add the cocoa and to the other, add the remaining flour.

Roll the vanilla dough and cocoa dough separately into equal rectangles on plastic wrap. Place either vanilla or cocoa dough on top of the other depending on which flavor you want on top.

Slowly roll the layered dough with the help of the plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 170 C. Cut the chilled dough into 2 mm width circles and bake for 25-35 mins.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.