Indo-Chinese cuisine is often referred to disparagingly by chefs who favor authenticity. But this cuisine is probably the second most popular in India besides the native, regional cooking. It seems like a joke to combine the spicy, bold Indian flavors with the more subtle, yin-yang Chinese cooking. But the two combine so beautifully; the Indian counter-part providing the eye-popping flavor, heat and vegetarian-friendliness to otherwise silky, light and meat-oriented Chinese recipes. Indian cuisine, in turn, receives a taste of the healthy and smoky stir-frying technique.
Yes, fried rice can be found in all types of restaurants, food shacks and canteens in India. No, they are not the kind we get at the Chinese take-outs. How I wish it was! Many Indians in the West yearn for the Chinese foods that they have grew up on. Plates of American chopsuey, vegetarian manchurian, the fried cauliflower manchurian, Chow mein are all wolfed down with water. No cups of green tea or Thai iced tea to provide the authenticity. Fried rice is even combined with traditional curries like mutter paneer and paneer masala. What could be more Indian than fried rice made with basmati rice? You wouldn't find fried rice here that uses finely chopped celery, cauliflower and green beans. But the Indian version does; although broccoli, bok choy, water chestnuts and scrambled eggs are absent. The way of chopping veggies small, the nuttiness of the basmati rice and also the use of a green chili sauce gives this dish a unique identity.
I am feeling a little homesick today and so this is the recipe that will hit the spot...
Mushroom fried rice
Indian-style mushroom fried rice
1 red onion, sliced into thin strips
1" piece ginger, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 green chilies, split lengthwise
12 baby bella or button mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
1 T green chili sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground pepper
2 cups cooked basmati rice (should be at room temperature)
4 scallions, chopped fine
2 tsp oil
1. Heat oil until almost smoking. Add the onions, ginger and chilies. When the onion have softened a bit, dump in the garlic. Saute until onions have browned a little. Add the mushrooms and peas; saute for about 2 min.
2. Add the sauces, pepper and cook for a minute.
3. Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through. Adjust salt.
4. Just before removing from heat, add the scallions and mix.
5. For an authentic Indian experience, serve fried rice with tomato ketchup.