Sunday, June 22, 2008

Indo Chinese Kitsch...and my first award



Chinese food is probably the most common take-out, order in, eat out food in India. Call it indo-Chinese, Punjabi-Chinese or (my favorite term) dhaba Chinese – it is fusion food at its best.

The dhaba Chinese that I grew up on had vegetarian chowmein and some sort of Manchurian as its central dishes. Chowmein is, of course, some noodles with vegetables. And its spicy - very Indianized spicy.

Manchurian is a story in itself. You will never find Manchurian in any Chinese menu outside India, for the obvious reason that it’s an Indian invention. Legend has it that a Chinese chef, who lived in India all his life, wanted to pep up the menu of his newly opened restaurant in Bombay with something customized to Indian palate. So he combined two Indian favorites – deep fried and spicy food to create something that’s symbolized Chinese food to generations of Indians ever since. Its essentially some batter fried vegetable/meat (close to but not exactly a ‘pakora’) dunked in a basic spicy sauce.

Then there are stir fried veggies. Dunk any vegetable in a mixture of soy sauce, tomato sauce, some chilli, corn flour and you are there. I've never been able to replicate this dhaba chinese flavor at home, but decided to give it one last try for this month's AWED.

Before we get to our recipe for Beans and Tofu Stir Fry, some good news. Swati from Chatkhor has passed on Bombay Foodie's first ever award. Thanks a ton, Swati - you truly made my day.



I would like to pass on "you make my day award" to:

Bhags of Crazy Curry, the book lover foodie I love to chat with

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, who was the first one to write a comment on my blog

Sunshinemom, my fellow Bombay blogger

And now back to the dish for AWED. This isn't true Indo-Chinese (if there is such a thing). My biggest problem with cooking Chinese at home is the over-salty overbearing flavor of soy sauce. The recipe I learnt many years back called for vinegar to balance that and some sugar, but I replaced the two with naturally sweet balsamic vinegar.

To make beans and tofu stir fry, cut 100 gms tofu into squares. Cut 100 gms beans into small pieces and parboil until half cooked. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Add beans and stir for a minute. Then add tofu and stir fry for 2-3 minutes on high heat. Mix 1/2 tbsp each of dark soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Add to the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. In a bowl, mix 1/2 tsp cornflour and 2 tbsp water. After a couple of minutes, add cornflour to the pan and cook on high for 1-2 minutes. I didn't add any salt, but do add some now if you like. Done!

Beans and Tofu Stir Fry goes to DK for this month's AWED.

16 comments:

bhags said...

The Indian(dhaba) chinese remains my fav version of chinese.....come what may, those manchurians and chilli fry wud never let anyone down......:)

Congrats for your award, and I really appreciate you passing it to me.

Divya said...

Indo-chinese is my fave too..stir fried veggies and manchurians with yummy spicy fried rice is an ultimate combo..!!!your entry looks yummy!!and congrats for your award!!!

Sireesha said...

Indo-Chinese is my favorite too...Ultimate combination of stir fried veggies and manchuria....Looks yummy and delicious....Congrats for the award

Srivalli said...

thats one lovely dish simran..I am still thinking what to make!

Trupti said...

I alos love indo-chinese food..mostly manchurian.. nice entry

notyet100 said...

nice post nd recipe,,,indo chinese food always rocks...

Bharti Khemani said...

Oh..I love dhaba chinese. My chacha used to take my bro n me on his "luna" to the linking road stalls to eat yummy fried rice. I have never tasted fried rice that tasted so good again. Your entry looks fab. never thought of using balsamic vinegar for chinese. Congrats on your award!!

Bharti Khemani said...

...So I saw the Taste and Create event that Simran had participated in and found myself signing up for the June event at For the love of Food.....
http://veggiefoodist.blogspot.com/2008/06/world-peace-cookies-pizza-and-rainbow.html

Aparna said...

Looks good. Did it make the dhaba Chinese grade? Liked that term by the way.
I believe the guy who invented Manchurian is called Nelson. Saw him talk about it on TV sometime back.
Thank you, Simran, for the award. You certainly made my day!:)
I didn't know I was the first commentor on your blog.

Sunshinemom said...

It became just manchuri by the time it got to Bangalore! Indo, fusion or whatever, I love the look! Congrats on the award! I have not tried using balsamic vinegar as yet. Must try it out soon. Thanks for passing the award on to me - YOU MAKE MY DAY TOO:)

Simran said...

Thanks everyone!

Aparna - it tasted great, but not a patch on dhaba chinese. Guess there's extra thrill involved in ordering junk food

Sunshinemom - Balsamic vinegar added a nice, delicate touch. Try it sometime

skribles said...

unique recipe! - sounds delish ...
Congrats on ur award!

Bharti Khemani said...

yeah..I actually got paired up with engineerbaker. It just so happened that those cookies were what caught my eye and then jugalbandi did the post on them a few days later. Their pics are soo good!
My little guy's name is Sidhant and he is 3.

Sailaja said...

first time to your blog. Your blog looks great.

Nice entry for AWED

Swati Raman Garg said...

waah ... love dhaba style chinese.. nothing can beat it yaar...
and this one looks aaaaaaah

Bagdesh said...

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