Delicious World of Chefette Spicy

formerly Ladles and High Heels


Long Weekend Day 2: Veggie Spring Rolls with Soy Dip

This recipe is no rocket science. I stuffed spring rolls wrapper with wilted veggies. It was so darn yum! Perfect for a Sunday evening.
spring rolls2
Saute ginger-garlic paste with scallion whites. Add grated purple cabbage and carrot. Season with Sriracha, soy sauce and pepper. Mix in the scallion greens and Stuff spring roll wrappers. Heat two Tbsps of oil in a wok. Shallow fry the spring rolls, adding more oil as you go.

Mix quarter cup soy sauce, one Tbsp Sriracha, a splash of rice wine vinegar and scallion greens.
spring rolls



Red, Hot Szechwan Love

I am so happy that I don’t have to explain Indo-Chinese all over again! Explaining Schezwan cannot be avoided though because the word by itself has various interpretations: Schezwan, Szechuan and the most common (and the right one), Sichuan is a Southwestern province in China. The place is known for its spicy red peppers, which is used in all the dishes that roll out of a Sichuan kitchen. People who tell you that Kung Pao Chicken is an American-Chinese dish are wrong because it is a classic example of authentic Szechwan cuisine (with the spice level dialed down, of course).

schezwan fried rice2

Szechwan, like every other Chinese cuisine, has been borrowed, altered and adapted into Indian cuisine. My favorite Szechwan dish will always be the veggie fried rice and my favorite place to eat it, a restaurant called Cascade in Madras. With perfect spice level, filled with hearty vegetables and a portion fit for lunch and dinner, Cascade always knew how to make me pine for delish Indo-Chinese in the city. I bought a bottle of Szechwan paste back from India this time and was itching to use it. So I made my own version of Szechwan fried rice after reading up umpteen recipes for the dish by various bloggers and chefs.

I ended up with a wonderfully spicy fried rice full of color and flavor that was ready in roughly 15 minutes. Only grouse: I wish I hadn’t used the bottled spice and made my own paste. Oh well, there is always the next time.

This is how I made it…

Szechwan Mushroom Fried Rice:

One and a half cups any long-grained rice (I used Basmati), cleaned and cooked.

Four sprigs green onion chopped  (Whites and green separated)

Four pods of garlic and one inch piece of ginger minced together

A mix of vegetables  (I used frozen from a bag)

Two cups sliced mushrooms (Cremini was my choice)

Two Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

Two Tbsp tomato ketchup

One tsp Sambal Oelek (avoid this if you have problems with spicy food or are going to make your own Szechwan paste)

Four Tbsp commercial Szechwan sauce or Two Tbsp homemade, for which the recipe can be found here (Thank you, Tarla!)

A few cashew nuts, toasted

Four Tbsp sesame oil (or replace with vegetable oil)

Cook the rice at least four hours before you make the fried rice. Heat two Tbsp oil in a wok. When it starts smoking, add the mushrooms and cook for four minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the rest of the oil to the wok. Mix in the whites of the onion and the minced ginger and garlic. Saute on medium flame for a few minutes. Add the vegetables and let them cook for seven minutes. Meanwhile, drain the water from the cooked mushroom and return to the pan along with the vegetables. Add all the sauces to this mixture and half the scallion greens. Mix in the sauces and the cooked rice. Toss it all together gently (the rice might break into a mush so gently toss with the help of a spatula).

Finally, add the cashew nuts and garnish with scallion greens. This fried rice goes well with veg balls in garlic sauce but the Indian in me loves it with Raita or plain yogurt.

Can add: egg, baby corn, green peppers, Paneer, cabbage.

schezwan fried rice


Best Indo-Chinese Ever!

Oh yes, there really is a cuisine called Indo-Chinese and it is big in India. No, I am not making it up. Being neighbors and all that, Indian and Chinese cuisines share a similar spice palate and a lot of Chinese dishes have been Indianized and cooked all over the country. Every multi-cuisine restaurant worth its salt has a column in its menu solely dedicated to Indo-Chinese food. Beauties like Gobi (Cauliflower) Manchurian, Schezwan Chicken, Egg Fried Rice and Spring Rolls are a few gems from the Indo-Chinese trove. We love it at home because the cuisine offers a lot of vegetarian options.

I have never made a mean Indo-Chinese curry and never thought I ever could. But today, when my culinary creativity was at its lowest and I had this desperate craving for something Indo-Chinese, I decided to make my own version of a family favorite during our Madras Race Club frequenting days: Veggie Balls in Garlic Sauce. The chef at the club restaurant rocked the gravy like no one ever can. And since we were a family full of garlic lovers, we would order it every time we visited MRC. I cannot claim that I made the dish exactly how I like it but the husband loved it and he claims this is the best chow I’ve made in the recent past. I took the compliment rather reluctantly.

So here is how I made it.

Veggie Balls in Garlic Sauce


For the balls-
One cup shredded cabbage

One cup shredded carrot

One cup chopped onion

(You can add any vegetable you want as long as all of them together make three cups)

Half a cup fresh bread crumbs

Two Tbsp Cornstarch

One large egg

Half tsp Ajino-moto (you can find this in any Asian store)

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

Pepper to taste

Oil for deep-frying (or you can make this in the oven. 400°F or 205°C for 30 minutes)

For the gravy-
Eight garlic pods finely chopped

1/4 onion finely chopped (to make it better, replace with a bunch of scallions. Chop and separate whites and greens)

Two Thai green chilies finely chopped

One Tbsp grated ginger

1/4 cup tomato ketchup

Two Tbsp soy sauce

One Tbsp cornstarch

Two tsp brown sugar

Two cups water

A dash pepper

A pinch red chili flakes


The balls-
Slightly saute the vegetables with soy sauce, pepper and Ajino-moto. Switch off and let it cool. When cool enough to handle, mix the other ingredients. The mixture must be semi-solid which you must be able to mold into balls. Add more bread crumbs if it is a little loose. Make 12 medium-size balls. Deep fry in oil or bake in the oven.

The gravy
Mix together ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, water and pepper. Heat oil in a wok. Add the chopped garlic, onions/scallion whites, chili and ginger. Saute for five minutes on medium-high heat. Add the gravy mixture and switch the heat to low. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes. Increase the heat back to medium-high and let the sauce thicken. When done, add the chili flakes and then turn off.

Add the balls to the pan and let it soak up the good gravy. If you used scallions, garnish the dish with the greens. I did not have scallions so I used normal onion and garnished with cilantro. Very Indian, no?

Ps: This gravy is traditionally eaten with white rice or fried rice but my mom loves it with Naan/Roti or any other Indian flatbread.

I went blog accessory shopping over the weekend. And now, I am in love with my black soup/serving bowl!