Friday, May 14, 2010

Jiffy Indo-Chinese

I miss the wonderful Indo-Chinese delicacies that we get back in India. Every time I visit, I gorge on gobi (cauliflower) manchurian, baby corn manchurian, paneer (Indian cottage cheese) manchurian, veggie ball manchurian, chicken manchurian and oh, mushroom manchurian. Hope I have not forgotten any other kind of manchurian that might exist. Whoever first came up with this dish is a genius for sure!

There is one Indo-Chinese restaurant around here, but no way comparable to the real thing you get back in India. So well, since necessity is the mother of all invention, I started cooking different kinds of manchurian myself at home. Started with the most popular one, Gobi (cauliflower), followed by baby corn, mushroom and then graduated to chicken manchurian too.

Now I used to follow this very tedious method of first marinating the chicken, then making a corn flour batter, dipping each chicken piece into the batter and then frying it all. Then make a sauce out of onions, garlic, ginger & tomato paste. Finally pouring the sauce over the fried chicken. I would literally stand in the kitchen for at least 2 solid hours. Then one fine day, my friend P happened to give me a recipe for her chilli chicken. I followed the recipe and then suddenly I got this brilliant idea of adding this "miracle ingredient" towards the end of the cooking process and I was thrilled with the final result! It was chicken manchurian alright! Without all that tediousness.

So here is how I make chicken manchurian--- you could call it chilli chicken too:
I just buy the organic boneless skinless chicken thighs from Costco. So convenient. I cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Marinate in soy sauce and vinegar (1 cup soy sauce+1/2 cup vinegar is the ratio I use), crushed garlic, tad bit of salt (soy sauce is pretty salty already), red chilli powder (paprika) and that's it. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. If I am going to be cooking this for a party, I just do this the previous night and that way the marination happens for a good 24 hours and the chicken ends up tasting oh-so-awesome!

Chicken marinating in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, paprika & salt

While the chicken is marinating, I slice some onion, crush a couple extra cloves of garlic and slit some thai chillies (gotta have that kick!). Then I saute` this for a couple minutes and then throw in the marinated chicken pieces. I try not to put in the marinade along with the chicken because then it just poaches the chicken and then there is, well, no fun to the dish! Of course, some amount of marinade does sneak in somehow--- so I just keep stirring the entire contents till it sort of evaporates. This takes about 20-25 minutes. (I tell myself to be patient--- you know me, I want my cooking to be done in no time........)

Then, when there is still a little bit of sauce left in the pot/pan (I make sure the chicken is cooked at that point), I add that "miracle ingredient" I mentioned earlier. Cornflour!! I add a couple to 3 tablespoons of cornflour and immediately start combining it with the chicken. The flour coats the chicken pieces and seals in the yummy flavor and as you keep stirring it, the outside part becomes nice and brown and at that point, it starts sticking to the bottom of the pot/pan. Not to worry. That just improves the flavor. Then finally in about 35-40 minutes (from the start), it is done. Sometimes I add some freshly ground black pepper in the end. It is delicious!

Still waiting for the evaporation to happen!

Chicken Manchurian/Chilli Chicken garnished with some green onion. Cilantro would be good too.

My family loves my chicken manchurian. We usually eat this with a simple veggie fried rice.

I use this same method for baby corn manchurian too. Works real well!

We don't miss Indo-Chinese food that much anymore. I mean, why miss it when I can cook it; in a jiffy, that too!


adibud34 said...

You is forgotten "Spanish Manchurian"! Spanish = Spinach Balls!

Dreamer said...


spartan said...

er..what does that mean? inside joke?

Dreamer said...

@spartan so in bengalooru there's also this kind called "Spanish manchurian." So one would expect something, well, Spanish, right? It so happens that it is actually made with spinach! Prolly spelling issues.......