Chinese food is rich, aromatic, colourful and flavourful. It involves creativity that deserves appreciation. Chinese cuisine comprises of various yum dishes with diversified colour and textures and can usually arouse people’s appetite greatly. One such combo dish is Fried rice and Manchurian. The dish has aromatic flavours and a wonderful taste. Garlic, ginger, onion, green chillies, seasonings and sauces are added to make this dish fragrant in flavour and excellent in taste.

Regarded as the soul of this dish, taste can be divided into four classes – salty, sour, hot and spicy. Seasonings such as vinegar, salt and pepper powder in appropriate amount contribute to the unique taste. After seasonings, sauces and flavour boosters, an array of rainbow vegetables is the most vital part of this Chinese dish. Cabbage, broccoli, baby corns, mushrooms, cauliflower, string beans, carrot and bell peppers are usually used along with spring onions in fried rice. When making Manchurian, many of these vegetables are used to give the dish a bright colour and delectable taste with healthy crunch.

Fried rice and manchurian can easily be prepared at home. The ingredients are commonly available in local super market. Although the dish takes time in preparation, but layering and combining things on flame takes not much time. So here is the recipe:

Serves: 5

Preparation time: 60 minutes

Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Veg fried rice –

Long grain rice: 1 ½ cup

Garlic: 12 flakes

Ginger: 1” piece

Onion: 1 (large)

Green onion: 4

Green chillies: 2

Green capsicum: 1 (large)

Red bell pepper: 1 (large)

Yellow bell pepper: 1 (large)

Carrot: 1

Green beans: 6-7

Broccoli: ½ cup (chopped)

Baby corns: 4

Mushrooms: 10

Pepper powder: ½ tsp

Salt to taste

Aginomoto: ½ tsp

Soya sauce: 1 tbsp

Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Chilli sauce: 1 tbsp

Oil: 3 tbsp

Method:

Boil rice. To boil rice wash them thoroughly first. Then soak them for 30 minutes in water. Boil 10 cups of water in a big pan and add soaked rice draining the water in which they were soaked to the boiling water. Cook uncovered over medium flame stirring occasionally until rice remain little bit tender. Rice should not be overcooked. Drain the rice discarding the water and let the rice be in the strainer for 20-25 minutes. It’s better to use one day old rice kept in refrigerator to make authentic fried rice. Otherwise, let them cool and give them a rest of at least two hours before stir frying them.

Make a paste of garlic, ginger and green chillies separately. Finely chop all other vegetables and keep them aside.

Heat oil in a big pan. Add ginger paste, saute for a few seconds.

Add garlic paste, saute for a few seconds, then add green chillies paste and saute for another few seconds.

Add chopped onions and green onions (not the green part). Saute for two minutes on high flame.

Add chopped carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, baby corns and cabbage one by one giving a stir after each addition. Saute until slightly tender. Add beans, mushrooms, capsicum, bell peppers and green part of spring onions one by one stirring after every addition of these veggies. Saute for two to three minutes. Vegetables should be slightly cooked so that they become a little tender and not lose their original colour and crunch at the same time.

Add soya sauce, saute, then add vinegar, saute and then add chilli sauce and saute to mix all ingredients well on medium high flame.

Add aginomoto, pepper powder and salt and give a good stir.

Add steamed rice and mix well for three to four minutes stirring gently but scrapping from deep bottom.

Turn off flame and serve hot. You can garnish it with fresh coriander leaves and greens of spring onions.

Manchurian:

Ingredients:

For Manchurian balls-

Cabbage: 1 (medium)

Carrot: 1

Beans: 10-15

Green onions: 5

Capsicum: 1

Garlic: 3 flakes

Ginger: ½” piece

Maida: ¼ cup

Salt to taste

Pepper powder: 1 tsp

Oil to fry

Method:

Grate cabbage, carrot, ginger and garlic. Finely chop capsicum, green onions and beans.Squeeze well grated carrot and cabbage.Mix all the vegetables together. Add maida, salt, pepper powder and make a dough mixing all ingredients well together. Heat oil for frying in a pan. Make small balls of lemon size out of the Manchurian dough and deep fry them until golden brown.Take them out on a kitchen towel straining all the excess oil. Let them cool properly.

For gravy-

Ingredients:

Ginger: 1” piece

Garlic: 8-10

Green chillies: 3

Onion: 1 (big)

Carrot: 1

Capsicum: 1

Corn flour: 2 tsp

Aginomoto: ½ tsp

Salt to taste

Pepper powder: 1 tsp

Chilli sauce: 1 tbsp

Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Soya sauce: 1 tbsp

Vegetable stock: 3 cups

Oil: 2 tbsp

Method:

For vegetable stock, take one carrot, one potato, one cabbage of medium size, five green beans, four flakes of garlic and half inch piece of ginger. Chop all these vegetables and pressure cook them for 15-20 minutes on low flame adding five cups of water and a little salt. After turning off the flame, when the pressure releases, open the lid and strain the vegetables along with the water in a clean bowl without mashing or pressing them. The strained water is your vegetable stock. Use it as required.

Make a paste of garlic, ginger and green chillies separately. Finely chop, onion, spring onion, capsicum and carrot. Heat oil in a pan. Add ginger paste, saute, add garlic paste, saute and then add green chillies paste, then saute. Add chopped carrot and saute for two minutes. Add chopped onion and saute for two minutes. Add chopped capsicum and stir fry for one minute.Add soya sauce, chilli sauce and vinegar one by one and saute. Add salt, pepper powder and aginomoto and give a good stir. Add vegetable stock and mix well.

Mix corn flour in one cup of water. Put this solution in the masala gravy. Stir well. Keep stirring till a boil comes on high flame. Turn the flame to medium low and add manchurian balls. Cook for five minutes and then turn off the flame.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and green part of the spring onions.

Tips to make delicious Chinese dishes

Be sure to have everything prepared before you start cooking – cutting, chopping, steaming, blanching, sauces and seasonings ready on hand.

Use fresh vegetables. Fresh is the best. Always use fresh ginger, garlic, green chillies and not the store-bought powder or paste forms.

Do not use more corn flour than called for in the recipe.

When stir-frying vegetables, cook the toughest vegetables first like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot and baby corns first. These should be cooked for a longer period. Soft vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers and green beans should be added at last and cooked for a short time.

Use long-grain rice for best results when making fried rice. Also the rice should be cold and precooked, preferably one day old. It is because the moisture in fresh rice will cause it to steam instead of fry.

Choose sauces of good brands that are not over loaded with salt or MSG. Do not throw everything into the pan at the same time. Layering and making sure each ingredient has time in the pan before it comes together with the seasoning is important.

Heat the oil, then put in aromatics first, then vegetables, then sauces, then spices and then the main ingredient.