Mar 23, 2007

I is for......?

Hmmm..this was a tough one. I racked and racked my brains to come up with some vegetable starting with “I”. All I could think of was “Idli”. But, it’s a snack, not a vegetable. So, I cancelled it. All the while I was thinking that maybe there’s something popular that I am not remembering right now. I waited for a few days, hoping for a miracle. Alas, nothing did. I also tried the following options:

1.Ate hubby’s head to come up with something starting with I. He said, “Idli”..duhhh…

2.Asked a couple of friends. Again, no positive outcome.

3.Searched my recipe books (I have only 4)..but found nothing suitable.

4.A Google search for “Vegetables starting with the letter I” also turned disappointing.

5.Thought of cheating and renaming some dish, but again couldn't think of any:(

And then finally it stuck me. Back in our courtship days, I and P used to frequent many restaurants and try different dishes. We are both food lovers. We relish eating everything from mocktails, soups, starters, main courses, and ofcoz the dessert. For us, no meal is complete without a dessert. On one such expedition, we tried something new and instantly liked the dish. You can classify it as a starter, snack, or vegetable. This dish is a wonderful blend of the South-Indian and Chinese cuisine. Yes, it uses idlis too. I think you must have guessed it by now. Recipe adapted from here.

Idli Manchurian

1.8 Refrigerated or hard idlis
2.½ cup Cornflour
3.½ cup all purpose flour (Maida)
4.1 ½ tsp Soya sauce
5.¼ tsp Ginger
6.¼ tsp Garlic paste
7.Oil to deep fry

For gravy
1.1 big Onion
2.5 Green chillies
3.1/4 tsp Ginger paste
4.¼ tsp Garlic paste
5.1 Capsicum
6.½ cup spring onions
7.½ tsp Soya sauce
8.1 tbsp Oil
9.2 tbsp Cornflour
10.½ tsp red chilli sauce
11. Salt to taste

1.Cut idlis into small squares. You can use instant mix to make the idlis. I always prefer making the batter from scratch using 2:1 ratio of rice and udad daal.
2.Mix maida, cornflour, ginger garlic paste, soya sauce, and very little salt with water to a medium batter. The batter will be very sticky and stiff.
3.Dip idli pieces in this batter and deep fry till golden brown. Drain on paper napkins.

(Fried Idlis)
4.Finely chop onion, green chillies, capsicum, and spring onions.
5.Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add onions, green chillies, and ginger-garlic paste. Fry for some time. Add capsicum and fry till cooked.
6.Add the soya sauce, red chilli sauce, and fried idlis.
7.Add 2 cups of water to the cornflour and mix thoroughly. Pour this in the idlis. 8.Add salt and spring onions. Boil this mixture till the gravy thickens.
9.Serve hot with rice or enjoy as a snack.

Idli is a South Indian snack famous all over India. It is a popular breakfast item. Idlis are steamed and cooked in a special utensil called the “Idli Stand”. Served with sambhar and chutney, idlis should always be consumed hot. There are several varieties of chutney that can be served with Idli – garlic, coconut, mint, red-chilli to name a few. There’s a famous joint named “Mani’s” near Ruia college, Matunga. It serves tastiest Idlis I have eaten so far. The best thing about this joint is that it offers free refills of sambhar and chutney. Idlis are prepared and devoured in many forms such as masala idlis, fried masala idlis, vegetable idlis, and kanchipuram idlis.

Manchurian is famous vegetable gravy from China. The gravy is a bit sticky and has a distinct ginger-garlic flavor. I have eaten three kinds of vegetable Manchurian up till now; made from cabbage, cauliflower, and idli. In cabbage Manchurian you make vegetable balls of cabbage and add them to the gravy. In Gobi Manchurian, dip cauliflower florets in the batter and fry them before adding to the gravy. Vegetable Manchurian is usually served with rice and noodles and consumed hot. Manchurian reminds me of the famous political movie named “The Manchurian Candidate”. I was greatly impressed with the story, suspense, and the ending of this movie.

Idli Manchurian combines the softness of Idlis, the crispiness of fried idlis, the freshness of vegetables, the garlicky taste of the gravy, and the stickiness of cornflour to form a wonderful filling dish. Idli Manchurian is my entry for Nupur’s A-Z series. Mark your calendars for next weekend for the letter “J”. Yippy, I still remember A,B, C, D:)


Coffee said...

Thats Tamilnadu marrying china!!!!!! What a wonderful twist!!!!

Nupur said...

Whoever invented this was a truly innovative person! To take hard left-over idlis and covert them into a delicious indo-chinese appetizer :) pure genius! Thanks for the creative entry, Swapna.

Sia's corner said...

u r one amazing cook swapna. idli manchurian? very very veryyyy innovative dish.

Supriya said...

I for Innovative,thats what this recipe is.:) Neat. I made veggie Manchurian a couple of days back and I use the soy-based burger mixture along with bread,capsicum and onion to make the the veggie balls for the Manchurian recipe.

Richa said...

that looks sooo delish. where do you live? i need to come right now to savour this!! A friend of mine uses the mini idli's for this.
any kind of manchurian dish is most desirable to me!!
thanks for the recipe.

Kajal said...

What a great idea. I like it very much. I am late to see your blog. Before two days I made Idle and it is remaining also for second day. But next time I will defiantly try this. It is very creative idea and it is come in your mind because you try and try to think. Our mind is always support if we try it.

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hey great combo!!!
It looks g8 too.

Lakshmik said...

Wow Swapna. I have never heard of idli manchurian. Innovative entry.

Swapna said...

Coffee: Glad you liked the dish!
Nupur: Your event makes bloggers think out-of-the-box and come up with creative entries. I should thank you:)
Supriya1: Thanks for your compliments dear!
Supriya2: This was my 1st attempt at Manchurian. Shall try ur method the next time.
Richa: I live a couple of hours drive from NJ. Just checked Google maps.It's 11 hr 17 mins to be precise:))..Welcome anythime.
Kajal: You can use left over idlis to make this dish. Thanks for your encouraging words.
Aparna: Just visited ur blog. Amazing tips on Yoga that I will definitely use.
Lakshmi: I am happy you liked the dish.

bee said...

that is so very clever. looks yummy.

shivapriya said...

This is completely new to me. Very creative swapna. You have a wonderful blog and i'm really gald you stopped by. I will keep visiting ur's.

musical said...

Very creative recipe, Swapna :).

I will try it when i make idlis.

Sharmi said...

Oh my God that looks so innovative.
Such an Idea!!

great cooking

trupti said...

very nice recipe, creative to use leftover idlis, I am always wondering what to do with I can try this!


Richa said...

hey swaps, like the new look!
good banner & colors.

Sushma said...

wow thats a creative idea....Idli manchurian..never heard of it..


RML said...

Hi swapna,
This is my first visit to your blog and what caught my eye was your idli manchurian.This is new to me and very innovative.
Grt invention of recipe and the dish looks sooooo yummy...
Sure i shd try this soon.

Anonymous said...

The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.


Swapna said...

Hi Swapna,

My first visit to your blog.It is bright and beautiful.