Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Express Summer Cooking: Hot and Sour Soup, Eggplants in Garlic Sauce and Vegetable Fried Rice

by Priyanka posted at 10:57 PM 15 comments

Mallugirl's theme of Cooking under 30 minutes is every woman's dream. Who wouldnt like to cook sumptous dishes without going that extra mile when you are bogged down by work and also have to manage personal life along with it. A couple of years ago when pressed for time, either khichdi, or some dal preparation, alu sabzi or rajma- would serve as a quick and easy way out. However that has all changed since the day i first made Chinese. Some of these recipes can be made in minutes if you have some of the ingredients on hand in the pantry or the fridge or some leftovers. I always have some carrots (baby and grated ones), capsicum and cabbage stored away in my fridge for emergencies when i am out of veggies or i have cook up something in a jiffy. I usually keep a paste of green chilies, garlic and ginger too in an air-tight container in the fridge which lasts me for a week. Sometimes i make a paste of only ginger and green chilies. Today presented a perfect opportunity for me to cook up some Chinese. My school starts tomorrow and i had a lot of assignments to catch up on (by now you must already know that i am quite the last minute doer) plus i had some rice left over from yesterday. And since i had been grocery shopping just a couple of days back, i also had some eggplants (Indian baby eggplants, not the chinese or Thai variety) sitting in the vegetable drawer of my fridge.

Moving on to the recipes, the famous hot and sour soup is the first appetiser that you order at a restaurant. This hot and spicy soup is perfect for wintry evenings or when you are down with a cold or flu. You can serve it with some tasty vegetable spring rolls. I found the recipe to this soup on the internet eons ago, but i dont have the link to it. I must add here that without timed planning and simultaneous cooking on 3 different stoves, cooking all the three dishes is not possible. At the most you can make any 2 of them with another 10 minutes to spare if you do not have all the necessary ingredients. It was only because i had most of the ingredients on hand that it made the cooking so much faster and easier.

How did i do that?

I put 4 cups of water to boil on one stove and 6 cups on another stove on a very high flame. While the water boiled, i assembled all the ingredients required for all the three dishes- namely- soy sauce, green chili sauce, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, cabbage, carrots, capsicum, coriander, garlic, ginger, sugar, cornstarch powder, rice, oil, green chili-ginger-garlic paste, salt. This took me approximately 5 minutes. Next i added the sauces required for the soup to the 4 cups of water and went about dicing the cabbage (i only needed 1 cupful), capsicum and eggplants. I already had some grated carrots on hand, so it made my job that much easier. This took another 10 minutes. Next, I added the veggies to the boiling soup concoction and eggplants to the boiling water on the other stove and covered it for 4-5 minutes till the eggplants were cooked but not mashed. In those 5 minutes, i cooked the veg. fried rice- recipe follows. Next i made the sauce for the eggplant dish by mixing all the sauces together which took like 2 minutes, grated some garlic and ginger and made a paste of cornflour by mixing it in little water. This cornflour paste i added to the soup and voila in another couple of minutes my soup was ready with another 6-7 minutes to spare. I heated up oil in a skillet on a high flame, stirred in the spices, sauce and the eggplants and let it cook for the rest of the time, allowing the sauce to seep in. And thats it..... my express Chinese meal was ready.

Hot and Sour Soup

Serves 4


4 cups of water

1/2 tbs of green chilly sauce (Ching’s preferably- or adjust according to your taste)
2 tbs of vinegar
1 tbs of soy sauce
1 cupful of grated carrots, cabbage
tofu (optional)

chinese bean sprouts (optional)
finely chopped coriander
1 and a half tablespoonful of cornstarch powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Take 4 cups of water, add the green chilly sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and a little sugar to taste and boil it.
2. When the concoction is boiling real hard add the grated carrots and cabbage. You can also add Chinese bean sprouts (cooked according to directions on the packet) if you like. And boil it for 5 minutes.
3. Take the cornstarch powder and mix it in half a cup of water and add it to the boiling mix to thicken it a little.
4. Now add tofu if you like it. Cook for another 2 minutes or so and garnish it with finely chopped coriander.
5. Dont add pepper to the soup because it might make it really spicy. Leave it for the guests if they want it.
6.Also you can use a little less of the green chilly sauce if you don’t like it very hot.
7. Serve the soup really hot, because as it starts turning cold it looses all its taste.

I did not have any chinese bean sprouts or tofu on hand, so i only added the cabbage and carrots.

Eggplants in Garlic sauce

Serves 2

I found the recipe here, however i made some modifications.

8 small baby eggplants chopped

3 cloves of garlic grated

2 inch piece of ginger grated

2 shallots diced

salt to taste

2 tsp oil

To make sauce:

1 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs vinegar

2 tbs chili-garlic sauce ( i added a little of the green chili sauce too)

1 tbs sugar

2/3 cup water

1. Add the chopped eggplants to the boiling water and cook them for 5 minutes (pressed under water or they will float) till they are cooked but not mashed.

2. Next heat oil and add the grated ginger-garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes and add the eggplants and the sauce and let it boil till the mixture thickens a little.

3. Add salt and shallots and serve hot with plain rice.

You can also add some wine to it as the original recipe calls for to give a slightly sweet taste.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Serves 2

4 cups of boiled rice (each grain of rice should be cooked but separate- if the rice has been refrigerated overnight or for atleast 4-5 hours even better)- If you were to actually make the fried rice with time on your hands, cook the rice a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight.

2 cups of diced carrots, capsicum, shallots and cabbage (i used half a capsicum, 2 shallots, 8 baby carrots and some cabbage)

1 tbs green chili-garli-ginger paste/ Ching's green chili sauce

1-1/2 tbs soy sauce

salt to taste

2 tbs oil

1. Heat 2 tbs oil in a skillet on a high flame. add a pinch of sugar to it- when the sugar turns brown, add 1/2 tbs of ginger-garli-chili paste and saute for a minute.

2. Add the veggies and saute for 2-3 minutes (they should remain crispy and partially cooked).

3. Next add the rice, salt, soy sauce and remaining green chili paste/ching's chili sauce. Mix well and serve hot.

This Chinese meal goes to Shaheen of Malabar Spices for the Summer Express Cooking Event.

P.S.- Just a tip- incase you dont have Ching's green Chili sauce you can replace it by making a paste of green chilies, ginger and garlic at home. The taste of the dish wont be altered.

Comments 15 comments
Roopa said...

wow you cooked a full meal! the soup looks delicious. nice entry!

Asha said...

Beautiful! I love real Chinese food.I will post one next week.All of them look great,yummy dinner!:)

archana said...

This is a grand meal I love chinese food:) Fried rice itka chaaan distoy , mast colour ahey. mala tar attach bhook lagli. Tuza bhaat chaan mokla zala ahey :)

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

WOW that soup is rocking.....Looks great....excellent set of recipes...

Sharmi said...

loved the look of the veg fried rice and soup. sounds like a delicious Chinese meal. said...

I think this is way better than chinese take out! And probably faster....


Richa said...

love indo-chinese, meal looks delicious. soup cha color ekdum jabardast ahey. kay ga, aajkal postings jorawar ahet, good going!

Raaga said...


I want that now. All of it. Never mind that it is only 10 in the morning here. I still want it. :-(((((((((((((

Mallugirl said...

that was fast! nice tips too. i used to love hot and sour soup till i found all the soups here in US have pork in it. so ur recipe is a keeper.

zlamushka said...

Hey Priyanka,

I LOOOOVE Chinese food. The best thing is that your pics even look Chinese. Now, that´s an authentic achievement, girl ;-)

Laavanya said...

Priyanka, what a great entry! Every dish looks fabulous and so authentic and to think it only took 30 mins - unbeatable.

Richa said...

Wish you a very Happy Independence day!

Rachna said...

hi there - ive been going thru your blog and you have some lovely lovely recipes... esp loved the coconut burfi...

Sandeepa said...

Wow Priyanka, you sure are super fast...cooked up so many stuff in 30 minutes...great job

SHUBHA said...

wow... the soup look tpoo good... amazing full dinner in 30 minutes... will surely try ur recipes..... where do u get the green chilli sauce.... can u guide me?? i tried in ralphs and walmart..... can u temmme where u got it from please? thanx a lot..

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