To celebrate V's birthday, some friends came over to join us for lunch. The menu: Indian-Chinese ! In decades past, Chinese cooking has become a major food trend in India, and as with all transplanted cuisines, there has been the evolution of a unique Indo-chinese fusion cuisine. Chinese food carts dot every city in India, and many Indian restaurants will obligingly include some Indo-chinese dishes on the menu. In the past several months, this trend has crossed over to NYC and if anyone would like to try it in a restaurant, I would suggest "Chinese Mirch" (28th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan).
V loves Indian-Chinese and when you are the birthday boy, what you want is what you get, so this is the menu I made (I was a bit rushed with all the prep, so some of the photos are quite awful but they still give an idea of what the food looked like). All recipes are for 6-8 servings.
To start with, some Sweet corn soup, just perfect for this cold weather. It could not be simpler to make but is very hearty and comforting.
3 boxes frozen cut corn
2 green onions (green parts only), chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 vegetable buillon cube (I use "Knorr" brand)
fresh ground pepper
For chilli relish
1/2 cup white vinegar
6 green chillies
Make the relish by mixing chopped green chillies and vinegar. Set aside. Cook the corn in 6 cups water till tender (I used a pressure cooker). Using a blender/ immersion blender, puree the corn, leaving some kernels intact. Add the soy sauce, green onions, sugar, vinegar, buillon cube and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot topped with a spoonful of chilli relish.
The first appetizer:
This one is not Indian-chinese at all, but it uses all the ingredients of a spring roll and so fit in very well with the menu. I participated in blogging-by-mail 3 and Sima generously sent me a huge package of Korean Pancake Mix. I mixed 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 grated zucchini, 1 chopped green pepper and 2 chopped green onions, and added water to make a thick batter. Then I made mini-pancakes in a non-stick pan. For a dipping sauce, I mixed equal parts of red chilli paste (store-bought) and soy sauce. The result is a delicious appetizer just bursting with veggies!
The second appetizer:
Gobi Manchurian This is everyone's absolute favorite and I was so thrilled that it turned out tasting just like the real deal. I made it in the appetizer style, not very saucy, and the sauce given in the recipe just serves to coat the florets and make them really tasty.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into neat florets
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornflour
salt to taste
oil for frying
5 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 inch piece of ginger, minced fine
5-6 green onions (green+white parts), minced
5 green chillies, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1. Toss the florets with soy sauce and ginger-garlic paste and set aside for 1-2 hours
2. Mix the all-purpose flour and cornflour with enough water to make a thick batter. Add salt to taste.
3. Dip the marinated florets in the batter and deep fry till golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
4. To make the sauce, heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet. Fry the ginger, garlic, green onions, green chillies for under a minute. Take off heat, then stir in the soy sauce and ketchup.
5. Toss together the fried florets, sauce and minced cilantro. Serve immediately.
The entree ...
Mushroom-Egg fried rice This is a simple stir-fry of rice with veggies, with strips of omelet adding to the nutrition and the heartiness of the dish.
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 green pepper, sliced fine
4 green onions, chopped
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 veg buillon cube (I use "Knorr" brand)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Wash the rice in 3-4 changes of cold water. Add 2 1/2 cups water to the rice and cook till just tender. It is important that the rice is not overcooked and mushy.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil and quickly stir-fry the green onions, green pepper, carrots and mushrooms. Add the rice, soy sauce, pepper, buillon cube and mix well till everything is heated through.
3. Beat the eggs with some salt and pepper. Make omelets with the eggs. Cut the omelets into strips and serve atop the rice.
Now for the sweet ending to the meal:
Dessert: Dulce de leche flan There are no authentic desserts in this fusion cuisine, so I went with a dessert that V loves. I normally make a very plain and easy version of caramel custard but this time I wanted to try something new, so I chose a recipe for Dulce de leche flan made by Angela of "A spoonful of sugar" for a sugar high friday many months ago (how I love these foodie events! I can always refer back to the round-ups for some great recipes.) I followed the recipe exactly, boiling an intact can of condensed milk for 3 hours to get the dulce de leche. This is what happens to condensed milk after that treatment:
Nice and caramelized! The flan was very easy to put together and the results were astounding! I don't have a picture of the flan (people gobbled it up before I had a chance!) but you can see it on Angela's blog. We all loved it...this recipe is a keeper!
That was a great party, and here's to V having a wonderful year ahead!