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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Schezwan Sauce

Let me start off by saying that this probably has nothing to do with the Sichuan cuisine of China, but is an Indian interpretation of spicy sauce used to make many Indo-Chinese dishes (Indianized version of Chinese food). It is a sauce used to make Shezwan vegetable stir fries as well as rice or noodles. Once you have the sauce prepared then just mix it into your fried rice/noodles/vegetables preparation and lo and behold a simple stir fry gets transformed into something spicy and delicious. As always, I have made this sauce without ajinomoto/MSG, however you can add this in if you want. It is listed as an optional ingredient.  I feel it is the use of celery in this sauce which gives it a unique taste.


Ingredients
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp ginger
3 tbps crushed red chillies or 8 whole dry red chillies
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp vinegar
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red chilli powder (preferable something like kashmiri chilli powder/deggi mirch)
1 tsp dry parsely
salt to taste
a pinch of ajinomoto/msg (optional)
couple of drops red food coloring (optional)
water to soak chillies


Method
Soak whole red chillies or crushed red chillies in water and boil it for a few minutes. Cool it and strain. If using whole chillies then pulse through the mixer or food processor and mince them.
Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic, ginger, onions and stir fry for a couple of minutes till the onion is cooked and soft. Then add the celery, the chillies, ketchup, vinegar, black pepper, red chilli powder and parsley. Stir and cook the ingredients for a  minute. Pulse this mixture through the mixer till a coarse paste is formed. Once the paste has been cooked, it is ready to be added to rice or noodles. Add a little bit at a time, mix and taste the rice/noodles. The paste is very spicy and if you add a large amount at a time then it make the entire dish very spicy. Store the extra paste in a glass bottle in the fridge.


Tips
Add a couple of drops of red food coloring once the paste is cool. This will help provide the red color to the rice which is generally seen when you order shezwan rice or noodles in the restaurants. Also, if you want to get the restaurant style taste you may want to add ajinomoto or msg to the paste. If you add this then make sure to taste the paste before adding more salt. However, the paste can be a little salty. When you add it to rice or noodles, then taste the preparation before adding additional salt. Since the paste has so many spices and acidic ingredients, it is better to store it in a glass jar. You can store this paste for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

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