Like a lot of Indians, even I discovered that Chinese cuisine found in India is essentially something a very innovative and adventurous chef in India came up with and has nothing to do with authentic Chinese cuisine. No matter what the origin, I just love it.
The basic rule of all these dishes is the same. 'Oodles of garlic, green chillies, pepper, cubed onions and soy sauce' - with this list of ingredients you can whip-up some lip-smacking dishes by tossing in pre-cooked rice/noodles for a main course or some stir-fired veggies, soup or make the sauce for a starter like Manchurian.
This Chinese Fried Rice is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover rice. I tasted tofu only after I came to the US and just love it. I like the firm/extra firm kind and just hate the slimy ones found in a few soups ! The firm one has a very nice texture and goes very well with the soy sauce and garlic in Chinese/Thai dishes.
- 2 cups: Mixed vegetables, like carrots, beans, cabbage - julienned You can also add broccoli florets, baby corn, bean sprouts, water chestnuts
- 1 nos: Onion, cubed
- 10-15 nos: Extra firm Tofu, cubed
- 1-2 nos : Green chillies, finely chopped
- 4 nos : Garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp : Ginger, finely chopped
- 3-4 Tbsp : Soy sauce
1-2 tsp : MSG/Ajinomoto
- 3-4 Tbsp: Oil (I used Olive oil)
- Salt and Pepper(freshly ground) for seasoning
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a wide bottomed pan, add the tofu pieces and let them brown a little on all sides. Any amount of oil that you add, will get soaked up by the tofu as they have a spongy texture, so be careful while adding oil.
- Once the tofu browns, I drizzle a few drops of soy sauce on them, so that they have similar flavors when mixed with the rice.
- Reserve the tofu and add the rest of the oil to the pan. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Give them about 30 seconds before you add the onions and cook till translucent. Adding the ginger-garlic-chillies first, infuses their flavors into the oil and gives the dish a uniform flavor when mixed.
- Microwave the veggies for a few minutes and then add them to the onions.
- Saute till the vegetables are done but let them retain their crunch. Take care to not overcook them.
- Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and stir well. Also add a little soy sauce so as to coat all the veggies well.
- The rice should be pre-cooked and cooled and should have separate grains or the final dish will get all mushy !
- Add the rice, soy sauce and ajinomoto. Taste for salt and pepper, add as required and stir well. Soy sauce contains salt, so keep that in mind while adding salt. Pepper is one of the main flavors in this dish and freshly ground pepper is the best.
- Add the reserved tofu and keep covered for a couple of minutes before turning off the heat.
- Garnish with spring onions and serve.
Do try it out and let me know how you like it. I will also be glad if you share with me your variations to this dish.