Liquorish

Schezwan Sauce

Hi all. I must start my post on this note. I was so overwhelmed by the reactions on Facebook and my post.  I was actually teary eyed when my near and dear ones wrote to me, wishing me luck! I love you guys and I hope you all try my recipes and feel great about yourselvesJ

My recipes are all tried and tested and not once but several times because only I, can satisfy my cravings! When I’m happy, I like to eat. Binge rather. When we go out, the most important for me is food. When I’m upset, I believe eating brings down my depression. Oh how I love good food!

So, my next post is again dedicated to a lovely friend of mine. This girl loves meat! She can eat meat all day, lunch, dinner, breakfast, brunch, supper and unnamed meals we create. I learnt the word, “belting”, from her. It is a Bangalore slang and I am an out and out Bangalorian, so I got what she meant. Her statements would sound like this, “I belted biryani for lunch today”. Not many would get what she meant. But that’s the fun thing about friends; we understand each other’s language without having to spell it out!

My next post is Schezwan sauce. My mother in law travelled to China recently and heard a group of Indians ask for Chicken in Schezwan sauce at a restaurant there. You can guess the waiter’s reaction. Anyway this sauce is not made to suit everyone’s palette. We, Indians, have a very high ‘spice threshold’, which is why we absolutely adore anything made with this sauce. My next few posts will feature the uses of this sauce. I, usually, make this sauce in bulk, like they do at Chinese restaurants, here in India. This can be stored air tight, refrigerated for 15-20 days. So here goes…

What you need

Boil dry red chilies with enough water for 15-20 minutes on medium. This is the only time consuming step and a one-time thing. Meanwhile, chop up equal quantities of ginger and garlic. Mince fresh red or green chilies (around 2…this entirely depends on you)

I, personally, love the flavor of fresh red chili and so, chose red over green.

Chop up some celery. For those of you that can’t get celery, substitute with finely chopped spring onion bulb. However, try and get some celery as it makes all the difference.

I have a Godrej outlet near home that has fresh produce. They have a variety of herbs like marjoram, kaffir lime leaves, thyme, oregano and also things like alpha sprouts, leek, celery, and asparagus. I can go on about this place. But that’s not the point here, now, is it?

Drain the cooked chilies (ensure they are soft) and grind them smooth with little water from the boiling.

Next, for the unhealthy step, heat about 5 tablespoons of oil in a wok (peanut oil tastes lovely) and add chopped ginger, garlic, fresh chili and celery.

Fry on medium to low flame, ensuring all the ingredients are cooked to dark brown, if undercooked; your sauce will not last long in the refrigerator. So, you want to be sure about this step.

Now, turn down the flame and add red chili paste and cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Dump in a tablespoon of store bought chili sauce and a tablespoon of tomato sauce and cook on low until you see all the oil oozing from the sides and finally float on top.

Finally, sprinkle sugar, salt and monosodium glutamate/ajinomoto/china salt  (Please avoid ajinomoto if pregnant; just remembered another friend).  You can add a pinch of red color if you like. I do not as I am not too fond of the artificial taste it renders.

Cool and store air tight in the refrigerator.  This sauce can also be diluted slightly and used as a dip.

I hope you guys never have to buy bottled schezwan sauce again. I never did and I never will.

Have a great day!

Ingredients

Dry red chilies 12-15

Ginger 2 thumbs (the size of your thumb)

Garlic same amount as ginger

Celery 2 sticks

Fresh red chili 2

Oil 5 tbsp

Chili sauce 1 tbsp

Tomato sauce 1 tbsp

Salt

Sugar

MSG

Method

Boil dry red chilies. Chop ginger, garlic, fresh red chilies and celery. Heat oil and add ginger, garlic, fresh red chilies and celery. Cook until dark brown. Meanwhile, grind cooked chilies to a smooth paste. Add the paste to the wok and cook. Add chili sauce and tomato sauce and cook until an oil film is formed. Lastly, add sugar, salt and MSG, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes and turn off heat. Let this cool down completely and you can store in an air tight container refrigerated.