Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A healthier Gobi Manchurian

Gobi Manchurian is a product of "Indian Chinese" cuisine. This is neither Indian nor Chinese, but a cuisine that has evolved over the many years Chinese people have had restaurants in India, similar to how Chinese restaurants in North America have items such as fortune cookies that you won't see in Chinese restaurants in China. Any city with a sizeable Indian population will have Indian Chinese restaurants. To me, the cuisine is totally unique and usually very delicious.

One of my favorite dishes is called "Gobi Manchurian." It's cauliflower florets breaded and deep fried and topped with a delicious piquant ginger/garlic/onion topping. You can order it dry with a minimal sauce, which is usually eaten as an appetizer or "wet" with a gravy that is usually eaten with rice as part of the main meal.

I love this dish but I like to eat healthy at home and deep frying just doesn't make the cut. So I tried a roasting technique I learned from another recipe, and put a gobi manchurian sauce on it. This is what I ended up with:

Roasted Gobi Manchurian

1 head cauliflower
2 tsp olive oil
salt
pepper

2 tsp Oil
4 tsp ginger, minced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or more, to taste)
1 small bunch spring onions (about 5) sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 F. Cut cauliflower into florets. Toss cauliflower with 2 tsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in oven for 45 minutes, turning once or twice during this time period, or until browned and fork tender.

When cauliflower is almost done, heat 2 tsp oil in a medium-hot frying pan. Add ginger, garlic and crushed red chilli and fry for a minute, or until slightly soft. Add the salt and spring onions, stir fry for just another 60 seconds or so.

Add 2 tsp. cornstarch to 1/2 cup water and dissolve well with a fork or whisk. Add to the onion mixture and stir continuously till it boils. Boil till the sauce becomes thick and transparent, not more than a few minutes. Add in roasted cauliflower, stir to coat, and serve.

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The cauliflower was great, Mahesh especially loved it. For me, it was very good but the sauce wasn't as strong/piquant as I remembered from the restaurant. Maybe it needs some vinegar? Not sure. I doubled the ginger and garlic in the recipe I am recording here for next time, and I will compare this with other Gobi Manchurian sauces to find out how to make this closer to the restaurant version, this sauce would be nice to try.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Apple Cheddar salad

I just whipped up this salad for lunch, it was great and I don't want to forget the recipe!

for one salad:
-- 2-3 cups spring mix
-- 2 T. thinly sliced onions
-- 1/2 med. apple, thinly sliced
-- 1 square inch sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

dressing
-- 2 t. blueberry jam
-- 2 t. apple cider vinegar
-- 2 t. olive oil
-- salt and pepper

-- put all dressing ingredients into a small tupperware container, shake vigorously, open up, taste, adjust ingredients/seasonings to taste

-- put spring mix on a plate, top with the onions, apples, and cheese. Pour dressing over. Eat!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Spicy Cornmeal Muffins take 2

I think this one is the winner. A mix of Indian spices, slightly sour creamy yogurt, vegetables, and smokiness makes this a very delicious muffin.

2 tsp oil
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sambar powder (or any indian masala spice mix)

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal -- it is not a good idea to substitute polenta for this (I found that out the hard way)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp canned chipotles and sauce
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp minced cilantro
1 cup lowfat yogurt (or buttermilk)
1 large egg
1 tbsp butter, melted

-- Preheat oven to 350 Farenheit
-- spray oil or butter on 12 muffin tins, set aside
-- Saute cabbage, onion, and peppers with sambar powder in oil in a frying pan until cooked through. Add salt and pepper.
-- Measure out dry ingredients into bowl
-- Measure out wet ingredients into a smaller bowl, mix up so the egg is well incorporated
-- Add veggies and wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix up. Spoon into muffin tins. I got 12 muffins with this recipe. Bake for 35 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

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The taste of these was good, but the texture was a bit too wet. Maybe because of the additional vegetables. Next time I would try less wet ingredients, maybe only 3/4 cup yogurt?

Delicious cauliflower

Made a roasted cauliflower with "lebanesesque" sauce last night. It was so good! From this recipe.

I want to try this same roasted cauliflower with a gobi manchurian sauce next time, I am looking for a sauce without ketchup, not finding very many but maybe this one will be good.

another one to remember:
http://food.sulekha.com/cuisine/chinese/gobi-manchurian.htm