Friday, 29 June 2012

Vegetable Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese Recipe

One of our favourite dishes to order when we eat out at an Indian restaurant is the 'vege-manchurian'. It consists of small, deep fried dumplings made of vegetables and flour, served with an amazingly thick, dark gravy full of Oriental flavours like soy sauce and ginger. The dumplings can contain most varieties of vegetables but I've chosen to keep my version simple with just carrots and cabbage.There are lots of Chinese inspired Indian recipes on the menus of Indian restaurants these days from honeyed potatoes and different varieties of noodles but we like this one the most! I often wondered how it was made and happily, upon researching it, found it was not difficult at all. Now we can enjoy one of our favourite restaurant dishes home made Devnaa style, and so can you :)

indo chinese cuisine, vegetarian recipe

Vegetable Manchurian Recipe (serves 8)

1 vegetable stock cube
500 ml hot water

600 g cabbage
300 g carrots
5 tbsp plain flour
5 tbsp corn flour
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp grated garlic
1 small green chilli (finely chopped)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp red chilli flakes
Ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

  • Dissolve the stock cube in the hot water and leave aside to cool.
  • Finely chop the cabbage and grate the carrot to achieve coarse (small but not too mushy) shreds.
  • Combine the vegetables and stir in the flours, ginger, garlic, chilli, soy sauce, chilli flakes, pepper and salt.
  • Mix well to combine, you should be able to take a tablespoon of the mixture and squash it into a rough ball that holds together. If this does not work, add some of the vegetable stock mixture until you achieve the right consistency.  (You should still have about 400 ml stock left over for the gravy).
  • Heat up oil in a deep frying pan or wok placed over a medium-high heat. The oil is ready if you place some of the cabbage mixture in and it rises to the surface immediately.
  • Take tablespoons of the cabbage mixture, roll into rough balls and deep fry until golden brown all over.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

3 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp oil
250 g spring onions (use the green bits too!)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp grated garlic
2 small green chillies (finely chopped)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
5 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
Salt to taste
5 tbsp finely chopped coriander

  • Mix the corn flour into about 100 ml of the cold vegetable stock and leave aside.
  • Heat up the oil in a large pan and then add the spring onions, ginger, garlic and chilli.
  • Allow to cook until lightly browned and the flavours have released well.
  • Carefully pour about 300 ml of the vegetable stock into the pan and stir well.
  • Allow the stock to come to a boil over a high heat and then reduce the heat slightly before adding the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, sugar and salt.
  • Mix well and allow the sauce to come to the boil over a medium heat.
  • Stir in the corn flour mixture and cook until you have thick gravy.
  • Arrange the dumplings in a serving dish and pour the gravy on top.
  • Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately.

Chef's note: You can use most vegetables when making the dumplings but as they are deep fried, be careful not to add sweetcorn in case the corn bursts in the oil whilst frying. xx

Monday, 18 June 2012

Devnaa: Indian Inspired Desserts

Today I take a pause from recipe posting to announce the very exciting arrival of our first ever published recipe book!

indian dessert recipes

Devnaa: Indian Inspired Desserts presents our portfolio of original, egg-free recipes that combine both eastern and western flavours. The Cake and Biscuits section includes some of our favourite recipes, such as Apricot and Saffron Scones, Indian Inspired Carrot Cake, and Raspberry Nankhatai. These are great to enjoy with family or friends over a lovingly-brewed cup of chai and they are also a brilliant way to start experimenting with Indian spices. The Sweet Treats section is dedicated to the rich, intense, bite-sized delicacies found in Indian sweet shops. Chikki and Shahi Barfi are traditionally Indian, while others, like Dried Fruit Ghoogra or Chocolate Khaja have an updated fusion twist. The After Dinner Desserts section presents sweet, fragrant Indian puddings that that can be served chilled or piping hot. Following recipes like Seera and Shrikand, fusion desserts include Coconut and Ginger Cheesecake and Exotic Fruit Trifle. Cool, refreshing recipes in Drinks and Frozen Desserts include Mango and Cardamom Lassi, Rose and Vanilla Kulfi, and Watermelon and Strawberry Spiced Sorbet.
Devnaa: Indian Inspired Desserts is available via the Devnaa website, signed and with free delivery. It is also available in Kindle and paperback format from Amazon.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

A Jubilee Dessert Fit For An Indian Raj

I wanted to post something special for the jubilee weekend but for weeks couldn't think of what to make. An Indian style spin on a British classic? Something sticky toffee-esque? How about a British curry night inspired menu? Seasonal veg Jalfrezi? Hmm... Nothing was quite hitting the spot. It had to be something fitting for this royal occasion, something different, luxurious and indulgent but light and summery for the season.

I thought back to the British rule in India which inspired so many great dishes, most of which can still be found on the menu in any 'tandoori' style restaurants here in England today, but none of which seemed right for a British street party. Then I thought of an Indian tea party... What would I serve at a tea party at one of the Royal palaces in India? Something to complement a fragrant cup of masala chai, which is not too heavy in the Indian heat, that is special and regal enough to serve to royalty. Something which is beautiful, simple to make and full of delicious flavour.

The result - a trifle inspired slice, with sparkling vegetarian passion fruit jelly, lightly spiced ginger biscuits and egg free mango custard, topped with lashings of whipped cream and some very British strawberries, yum! Trifle and strawberries are British classics and mangoes are the national fruit of India. Cream is an international indulgence and the ginger biscuits complement the flavours of the fruits as well as the aroma of masala chai perfectly, and they are egg free to boot! Passion fruit have become extremely popular in India, although they are not native there. As they are originally from Brazil, my guess is that they were brought to India by the Portuguese who colonised the western region of Goa in the 16th century. The climate in India suits passion fruit well and they are now cultivated across the country as well as in Sri Lanka.

indian vegetarian trifle with passion fruit jelly and mango custard

A note on the recipe: I'm certain there are far more sophisticated ways of making this than in a disposable foil tray but for ease and convenience, this works great. If you are lucky enough to have more suitable tools to hand please go ahead and use them :) Also, sticking with the vegetarian friendly theme I have used vegetarian jelly and egg free custard, feel free to substitute if your diet permits although I believe this tastes just as good.

Indian Inspired Jubilee Trifle Slices

For the sparkling passion fruit vegetarian jelly:
4 ripe passion fruit
300 ml cold water
2 x 6 g sachets of vegetarian gelatin (such as 'Vege-Gel', available in most supermarkets or substitute with agar agar if you are able to get it)
sugar to taste
200 ml sparkling passion fruit drink (such as Rubicon)
100 g (about 8) ginger crinkle biscuits (not ginger nuts as they are too hard!)

  • Lightly grease a shallow 30 x 20 cm foil baking tray.
  • Chop the passion fruits in half and scoop the flesh out into a fine metal sieve placed on top of a measuring jug.
  • Press all the pulp through the sieve, you should get at least 50 ml, use more fruit if necessary.
  • Having pressed out all of the juice, if desired you can add one or two teaspoons of the seeds to the juice to add texture to your finished jelly, or just discard them if you prefer a smooth version. Leave the pulp aside.
  • Add the water to a saucepan and thoroughly whisk in the powdered vegetarian gelatin.
  • Set over a medium heat and until boiling.
  • Whisk in the passion fruit pulp and sugar if using then allow to cool for 2 minutes in the pan, stirring continuously.
  • Gently stir in the sparkling juice and pour quickly and carefully into the prepared tray - you don't want to lose too many bubbles.
  • Roughly break up 4 of the biscuits and randomly place across the surface of the jelly.
  • Roughly crush the remaining biscuits in your palms and sprinkle coarse crumbs in the gaps between the biscuits.
  • Leave aside, vegetarian jelly sets at a much higher temperature than other gelatin so this should be set within a few minutes.
For the egg free mango custard:
1 ripe kesar mango
275 ml full fat milk
4 tbsp vegetarian custard powder (such as Bird's)
sugar to taste

  • Peel and chop the mango into chunks, pulse in a food processor.
  • Press the mango puree through a fine metal sieve and into a measuring jug.
  • You should get around 125 ml of smooth mango pulp.
  • Pour the milk into the measuring jug and whisk with the mango until well combined.
  • Add the custard powder and sugar if using to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add a few tablespoons of the mango/milk mixture to the powder and whisk to create a thick, smooth paste.
  • Heat the remaining milk mixture until almost boiling.
  • Pour the hot milk into the custard paste, whisking continuously.
  • Whisk well and then return to a saucepan and back to the heat.
  • Heat the custard, whisking all the time until thickened.
  • Leave aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
600 ml double cream
100g caster sugar
strawberries, ginger biscuits, dark chocolate to decorate

  • Spread the cooled custard over the set jelly and refrigerate until the custard has set.
  • Whip the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form.
  • Spread on top of the set custard.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the trifle and then carefully cut away the sides of the tray.
  • Using a knife dipped in hot water cut the trifle into slices and place each slice onto a serving plate.
  • Decorate with strawberries, extra ginger biscuits or even drizzle on some melted dark chocolate if desired.
  • Serve immediately.
indian vegetarian trifle with passion fruit jelly and mango custard