A lip smacking Schezwan Vegetable is a perfect blend of sweet, spicy and sour flavors, one of the best Indo chinese recipe it is. The recipe is partly adapted from Nita Mehta Recipes, and partly inspired by the flavors that I can recall from the dish that we tasted at a Chinese Bistro . The spiciness of chillies is perfectly balanced with the tartness of tomatoes and vinegar and subtle sweetness provided by honey. We loved it with the Veg. Fried rice and fried noodles (Noodles parboiled and fried till golden brown) that added a nice crunch to the wholesome meal.
Vegetable stock is a crucial ingredient in all Chinese dishes or else the end result will turn to be a bland or with unbalanced flavors. Do not skip the veg. stock or try to substitute it with Veg. stock cubes available in market. Make your own stock, I insist
For vegetable stock:
- Cauliflower chopped ½ cup
- Cabbage chunks ¼ cup
- Carrot chopped 1
- French Beans 3 chopped
- Fresh button mushrooms 3 , chopped
- Cloves (Laung) 2
- Onion diced 1 small
- Spinach leaves 2-3
- Water 4 cups
- Garlic cloves peeled 2
- Oil 1tsp
Vegetables needed for Schezwan Veg.
- Carrot 1
- Broccoli 3-4 florets (Do NOT use cauliflower if Broccoli is not available. Just Skip it)
- French Beans 8
- Onion 1
- Baby corns 4
- Zucchini (or Cucumber if Zucchini is not available) 1
- Spinach leaves 5-6
- Tomato 1 large
- Capsicum 1
Ingredients for the Sauce:
- Ginger ½ inch crushed
- Garlic 4 -5 cloves Crushed/grated
- Hoisin Sauce 1 tsp (Optional)
- Chinese Schezwan/ Red / green chili sauce 2 tsp OR Use red chili powder 1/2 tsp and 1 chopped green chilly and 1 dried red chilly
- 2 tsp Soya sauce
- Vinegar 1 ½ tsp
- Honey ( More or less) 11/2 tsp
- Tomato Ketchup 1tbsp
- Salt as per taste
- Black or white pepper powder ¼ tsp
- Water 1/2 cup
- 2 tbsp Oil
- Corn flour 2 heaped Tbsp (More or less) mixed with 1/4 cup water
- Scallions or Spring onion to garnish
- Veg Fried rice or Fried noodles to serve with.
- To make Vegetable Sauce, rinse well and chop the vegetables.
- Take 1tsp oil in a pan and saute the cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, carrot, french beans and mushrooms for a minute. Add garlic, laung and 4 cups of water and let it boil. Simmer till water is reduced to half. Alternatively you can use pressure cooker to speed up the process. Strain and reserve the liquid.This is our 2 cups of vegetable stock.
- For Schezwan/Sichuan Vegetable, peel and slice the carrots. Separate the broccoli florets, chop the french beans in slants of 1 inch . Cut the babycorns, tip off the thick stems of spinach, dice the capsicum, slice the zucchini along with skin, peel and cut the onion into quarters, and then halve each of the quarter further. Chop the tomato too.
- Take a bowl and mix all the ingredients listed under ‘Ingredients For Sauce‘.
- Now in a wok or thick bottomed pan, take 2 tbsp of oil and heat it. Add onions and saute till translucent. Add broccoli, carrots, French beans and babycorn and cook for two minutes on high flame. Add a pinch of salt or so.
- Just toss Zucchini or cucumber and Capsicum and immediately add sauce that you have mixed in the bowl.
- Add the vegetable stock and mix everything gently. Add the cornflour paste ( that you have made by mixing cornflour with water). Let the mixture comes to a boil. Simmer for a while till the gravy thickens. Taste at this stage to adjust salt and seasonings.Since there is enough salt in different sauces used, its better to add salt in final stages. You can add more cornflour paste if the gravy looks thinner even after 2 minutes or so. Do not overcook.
- Garnish with chopped scallions or spring onions and serve with either Veg fried rice or Noodles. (Hakka Noodles or Fried noodles).
Delicious Vegetarian Kebabs, made from Split Red lentils, flavored with Indian spices and deep fried, a fantastic recipe by Nita Mehta!
- 1 Cup Split Red lentils (Dhuli Masoor dal )
- 1″ Ginger
- 8-10 Garlic cloves (I used 6)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Garam masala powder
- 1 tsp red chilly powder (I used 2 green chillies instead)
- 3 bread slices dipped in water and squeezed well.Crumble these.
- Salt as per taste
- 3 tbsp oil (I used 2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp each of red, green and yellow pepper, and onion, chopped finely
- Some freshly squeezed lemon juice and some mint leaves to garnish.
- Oil for frying.
- Rinse well for few times, and soak lentils for 2 hours. Drain and grind along with cumin, ginger, garlic and green chillies using minimum possible water.It should look like a thick paste.
- Heat 2-3 tbs of oil in thick bottomed pan or nonstick one, and add the paste.Stir fry for 4-5 minutes, on low flame, stirring the paste frequently.Cook till the paste is dry and no longer sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Cool this mixture and add crumbled bread, salt and garam masala.Mix well.
- Heat oil for frying. Grease wooden or metal skewer, spread a ball of lentil mixture along the length of skewer such that it is inserted into the roll. Make a finger thick, 2 inch/5 cm long kebab
- Stick the chopped peppers and onions on the surface of kebab by gently pressing these on kebab.Repeat for remaining mixture.(I just rolled the kebabs in a finger shape without using any skewers. You can shape these the way you prefer)
- Gently remove the skewer and deep fry kebab in hot oil on medium flame till golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel.Fry only 2-3 kebabs per batch or else they might turn soggy.
- Serve hot on a bed of onion rings, with a dash of lemon juice and mint leaves. Goes well with mint/ mint coriander chutney or ketchup.
This recipe could be considered as a cross between french roll, dinner roll and Italian bread. While it looks like a French baguette , the crust is soft unlike baguette and the softness of bread inside, is like that of dinner rolls (or Ladi pav, as we say in India). While the addition of Olive oil and the crust toppings of oats and dried herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, basil is like that of herb-ed Italian bread, in this case the herbs are sprinkled on top instead of mixing in the dough.
We used this bread to make Subway style sandwich, with Veg. Shami Kebabbs, on the bed of sliced onions, tomatoes, cabbage /lettuce, Jalapeno with Honey mustard sauce and a drizzle of Olive oil.
The recipe is inspired by Nita Mehta’s Pizza bread recipe, with some adaptations.
Make two rolls
- 300 gms All purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Lukewarm water
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 10 gms of dried yeast (2 heaped tsp)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Dried herbs like basil, oregano, sage, thyme etc (optional)
- Rolled oats 2 -3 tbsp ( optional)
- Mix 1/4 cup of lukewarm water and add 1/2 tsp of Sugar
- Sprinkle on top, 2 heaped tsp of dried yeast and mix vigorously
- Let the mixture foam and froth well , around 10-12 min. If by the end of 15 min you do not see the bubbles or froth, discard and repeat the procedure.This is what we call as ‘Proofing’ of yeast.
- In the mean time, mix 3/4 th cup of lukewarm milk with 1 1/2 tbsp of oil, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar and mix well.
- Add this milk mixture to the ‘proofed’ yeast and mix gently.
- Now add this mixture into the sieved Maida and knead a dough. Knead for about 5 minutes.Then cover it with damp cloth for 5 minutes and then knead again for 7-8 minutes till the dough becomes soft and spongy.
- Roll it in a ball, and coat it generously with olive oil (or any oil). Cover the dough with a damp towel and keep the bowl in warm place. The dough will rise to double its volume by 1 or 11/2 hour.
- Knock down the dough for few times.Divide it into two
- With the help of your fingers ( and palms too) shape each piece into a rectangle. Be sure to keep the second portion covered with cloth while you are working on one.
- Now flatten a bit, the center of rectangle ( vertically) , and gently bring along the opposite (larger) sides of the rectangle towards each other and press against each other, pinch in, the top and bottom sides of the rectangle too and seal every meeting point of the sides by wrapping over and pinching the dough. At the end it should look like a bit flattened oblong roll ( Or use this style of folding). Repeat the procedure with other loaf. Give some diagonal slashes to the roll with the help of a knife.
- Place these rolls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and keep these covered. The dough will rise again till double its volume in around 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven on 180 degree centigrade.
- Now take a clean paint brush(used exclusively for baking) or a piece of tissue rolled tissue paper, dip in the milk and coat the top layer of the roll generously. You can use beaten egg instead of milk.
- Sprinkle some herbs, and oats and press gently. This is optional though !
- Bake the rolls at 180 degree C, for 20-25 minutes for soft crust and for 30-35 min for hard crust.
- Take the rolls out of the oven and let these cool on rack for 15-20 minutes at least, since the bread will continue to cook for minutes together even after taking out of oven.
- You can use this bread to make garlic bread, subway style sandwich or in any other way you fancy !
This is a Neeta Mehta recipe, a simple to cook and delicious to eat, healthy Pulao recipe !
- 1 Cup Rice
- 1/2 cup moong sprouts (You can use mixed sprouts..moth beans, moong, masoor dal etc)
- 1 Carrot finely chopped
- 4-5 French beans finely chopped
- 3 tbsp Peanuts
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 onion
- 4 tbsp tomato puree or 2 tomatoes pureed in mixer
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp Garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder (I used MDH brand Biryani Masala instead of Garam masala)
- 1 tsp salt
- Pick, rinse and soak rice in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes
- In a Microwave safe dish add oil, peanuts, cumin, and chopped onion.Microwave for 4 1/2 minutes
- Add turmeric powder, salt and garam masala.Mix well.Add sprouts, carrot, french beans and tomato puree. Microwave for 3 minutes.
- Add rice and the water in which rice was soaked, to the tomato masala.
- Mix well and microwave covered for 12 minutes.
- Allow to stand for 3 minutes.Fluff with a fork and serve hot with curry of your choice or simply with curd/ raita/ papad /pickle.
NOTE: This recipe is cooked in LG microwave.The time taken at each step may marginally vary from Microwave to Microwave. So go head with a caution !
After trying many recipes to make restaurant style Hot and sour soup, this is one recipe that taste much closer to that served in Indo-Chinese restaurants.The recipe is inspired from Nita Mehta’s recipe. Do try and let me know whats your take on this
Ingredients for Veg. Hot and Sour Soup :
- Ginger 1/2 inch piece crushed finely
- Garlic 2 cloves (or more) peeled and crushed
- Shredded Cabbage 1/2 small cup
- 1 small carrot (Orange carrots ) grated
- Fresh Button mushrooms 3 (or use any that you have) or canned mushrooms (1-2 tbsp)
- French beans 2-3 finely chopped
- 1 tbsp oil
- Salt as per taste
- Ajinomoto 1/4 tsp (strictly optional)
- Black /white pepper powder (any one) 1-2 pinches
- Green chilly 1 finely chopped or use chilli sauce (1 -2 tsp)
- 1 1/2 tbsp dark Soya sauce
- 1 tbsp Rice vinegar or synthetic vinegar will do
- 4 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 1/2 cup water
- Vegetable stock 2 cups
- Tomato stock (Explained below)
- Greens of spring onions to garnish
- To make vegetable stock, just boil different vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, french beans, carrot, beetroot etc in sufficient water. Cut vegetables in huge chunks and pressure cook with 3 cups of water. Let the pressure subside and strain the liquid without mashing the veggies.
- To make tomato stock, pressure cook 2 tomatoes with 6 cups or less or water for 2-3 whistles.Strain without mashing tomatoes.This clear liquid gives a perfect tomato tangy flavor to the soup. As per Nita Mehta, you can also use 4 veg. seasoning cubes with 7 cups of hot water instead of vegetable and tomato stock !
- In a huge pan, add 1 tbsp oil, allow it to heat and add crushed ginger garlic. Saute well but donot let these burn.Add green chillies now, or if using chilli sauce, add that later with rest of sauces. Add chopped mushrooms (if using dried ones, then soak them in water for half hour ) and cook till somewhat dried .
- Add carrots, beans and stir fry. Then add cabbage, add vegetable and tomato stock and bring it to boil.
- Add sauces,vinegar and mix well.. Add black or white pepper powder. Now mix the cornflour paste and let it boil till the soup reaches the required consistency.Taste the broth at this stage and add salt and ajinomoto (optional). If you find the soup too thin, add some more cornflour paste, if too thick, add some water and boil for a minute.
- Garnish with chopped greens of spring onions and serve right away.
- If using synthetic vinegar, just add a pinch of sugar to the soup.
- Be careful with the salt if you are using seasoning cubes.Also soya sauce contains lots of salt
Veg Hakka Noodles
- 3 tbsp oil
- carrot 1 sliced into matchsticks
- French Beans 4-5
- Button mushrooms (Optional) 3-4, cleaned and chopped
- Cabbage 1/4th small, finely shredded
- Capsicum 1 small, finely sliced
- Onion 1 sliced
- Hakka Noodles 1 pack (200 gms)
- Salt to taste
- Soya sauce 1tbsp
- Tomato Ketchup 1tbsp
- Vinegar 1 tbsp
- Green chillies 1-2
- Ginger garlic paste 1 heaped tbsp
- Spring onions, chopped finely, 2 tbsp
- Boil the noodles as per instructions on pack
- Drain and add fresh water to stop cooking process
- Drain again, add fresh water and let the noodles rest in the water till use
- Heat a wok or non stick kadai, add oil.
- Add chopped Mushrooms, sliced onions, ginger garlic paste and chopped green chillies
- Add carrots, beans and stir fry on high flame for few seconds.
- Add cabbage, capsicum and Noodles and give it a toss.
- Add salt, soya sauce, tomato ketchup and gently mix everything using either Noodle ladle or you can use two large spoons or forks to mix it with both hands
- Add vinegar, and cook on high flame for few seconds. Add chopped spring onions and serve immediately.
An Update: Here is an excellent tip to impart that spicy and smoky flavor to the noodles…just the restaurant style !
After boiling and cooling noodles….take 2-3 tsp of oil in a wok, and add around 1-2 tbsp red chilly flakes.Immediately add the noodles and give it a nice mix with the help of two fork spoons.
Add 1-2 tsp of soyasauce ( remember then to not to add any soya sauce in the vegetables as stated in above recipe) and keep on mixing till noodles change a bit of colour (takes nearly 2-3 minutes).Now add these smoky noodles to the vegetables and enjoy a restaurant like taste !(Tip Courtesy: Nita Mehta’s Book)