Saturday, December 10, 2005

Happy Birthday V: An Indo-Chinese Feast

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:
Korean pancakes
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.
For florets
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
For sauce
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)
3 eggs
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!


  1. Sounds like a great menu Nupur!!
    I know V will love it :)

  2. Hi,
    I love your idea of going through the alphabet and cooking a up a storm!
    I have a question... I love to eat Indian food but I am really bad with remembering names of the dishes I've had. I wonder if you know the name or have the recipe for a dip for pappadums. The dip comes as an appetiser with the pappadums, it's dark green n maybe it has mint, salt n lime? I'm not sure. Does it ring a bell? I'm not sure what it's called so I can't really look it up on the internet. If you can help, I'd really appreciate it.
    I'd just like to end by saying keep blogging and keep that stove hot! :)

  3. Sounds yummy, Nupur! Many happies to V :)

    Btw, I'm going to India next week, so I can send you some of the authentic dried berries for vattha kuzhambu - if you're interested, email me at It wont be any expense either... my mum's gonna send lots to my sister as well (she's in the US), so it'll be part of the package :)

  4. Hooray for Nupur! What a delicious looking celebration. Hope you guys had a good time :-) I am itching to try out some of the great recipes you have here... but it would be wise to wait until the current busy period has passed :-(

  5. What a great looking meal, a feast really. Several things I plan to try. The cauliflower looks especially wonderful.

  6. Wow, this are too delicious combo-packs. :-) I came back to see how you made the sweetcorn soup. Looks so yummy. It was a sheer coincidence, I made it that day emulating Argentina's Humita. Cheers!

  7. Hi Clare, thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Tabehodai, I totally know what dip you are talking is called "mint chutney" or "green chutney". It is really very easy to make at home, there are several recipes out there. Thanks for your good wishes :)

    Hi Kalyn, thanks for stopping by! and here's to cauliflower!

    Hi Shammi, well, I am told you can get those in NYC, but thanks so much for offering to send them. You are such a sweetheart!

    Hi Garam Masala, it was such fun! Hope you get a chance to try the recipes sometime :)

    Hi Lindy, the cauliflower is addictive stuff!

    Hi VKN, the soup would have been even more delicious with some fresh corn!

  8. Please convey our belated birthday wishes to V, Nupur.
    He is one lucky guy and everything looks spectacular.What a wonderful feast.
    Gobi manchuria is giving me serious cravings. I am going to make it soon, this week:)

  9. Indian-Chinese *sigh*. Happy Birthday to V.

  10. Thank you for the tip off!
    Do you have a good recipe for green chutney or mint coriander chutney? I much prefer to have a tried n tested recipe than grope on the internet for a random one.

    I have many Indian spices and I am trying to get used to reading a long list of ingredients and not be afraid to make a dish. I really wanna make good Indian dishes with my spices especially in my town that doesn't hv a good Indian restaurant.

  11. Hi Indira, that gobi manchurian was addictive...I could eat it at every meal :)

    Hi Faffer :) thanks

    Hi Tabehodai, I sure have a is the link
    Brett of "In praise of sardines" has another which looks amazing:
    As you can see, it is a pretty flexible chutney!

  12. Sorry the second link is messed up, here it is again:

  13. Hello Nupur,

    This is how it turned out ( - looks good. But it didn't taste as good. It was oddly enough, not flavourful and the gobi ended up being too raw. What would you recommend?

    Thank you.

  14. Hi Nicole, I'm sorry it did not work out :( Here are some things you could check:
    1. The flour/cornflour batter for the florets...was it too thin by some chance? It should be thick enough to stay on the florets when they are dunked into it.
    2. Did you fry for long enough? If not, the florets could have stayed raw. My suggestion would be to taste one after frying and check that it is cooked to the right degree (not raw but not mushy). Adjust the heat while frying such that you don't get browning too quickly (this will not give enough time for the inside of the floret to cook).
    3. After you make the sauce, taste a little bit of it. It should be very flavorful, aa balance of salty (from soy sauce), sweet (from ketchup) and hot (from chillies). See if you can identify what is missing and adjust it in the sauce. Even is, say, only the salt is a little less, a dish can turn out less-than-flavorful.
    I hope this helps!

  15. Hey Nupur,
    Thank you. I did some of what you said, right after I left that message. Turns out I needed more spicing up and also should have used the non-stick pan. I had tried a Chilly Chicken recipe from 'My Dhaba' earlier and it didn't work in the non-stick.

    Anyway, thanks for this. I am going to be printing one more chicken recipe right now and heading home to make that. Will write about that.

  16. Thank you for posting the Gobi Manchurian recipe! I tried it out today and it turned out great!!

  17. Ohmygosh this looks AMAZING! I'm ready to try the entire meal... thanks for sharing.

  18. Your menu looks wonderful! I keep meaning to try more Indian recipes but I don't have the time right now.

    I'm also glad to hear that the flan was received so well! Must make it again soon :)

  19. Thanks Nupur for this perfect recipe for Gobi Manchurian! I had some friends over for dinner last weekend and I tried out your recipe. This is the first time i made gobi manchurian, but it turned just like the real deal.Got a lot of compliments and the whole credit goes to you and your recipe!

  20. Thanks Nupur, this was THE perfect recipe... it turned out very very good..Thanks a bunch :)

  21. Hey Nupr! I tried the gobi manchurian recipe and it turned out so well.. Thank you so much for the wonderful and detailed recipe... Could you do me a favour of sending / putting up the Chinese bhel recipe please?

  22. Do u mean corn starch or corn flour for the gobi manchurian?

  23. Puja, from CanadaOctober 01, 2009 5:56 PM

    I've tried many nanchurian recipes before but none turned out as great as yours, Nupur. I'm a regular here now. Thanks!

  24. Hello Nupur,
    Greetings! BTW what size is the corn packet????

    Thanks and you have an awesome blog.



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