Indo Chinese - Veggie fried rice and mushrooms in sweet and sour gravy

Almost everybody from India loves Indo-Chinese food which is the Indian version of Chinese food. The predominant flavors in this type of food are from ginger, garlic and soya sauce. Whats not to love about that. I, for one, love my ginger and garlic and in my opinion they just make everything taste better.
This is the perfect meal for a cold evening when you want something comforting, while making your taste buds sing.

Usually, Chinese food falls in the same category as greasy fast food. But by making it at home, it can actually qualify as a healthy meal. I have loaded up the fried rice with lots of vegetables (almost as many vegetables as the rice). Instead of deep fried manchurian, I used sauteed vegetables in a gravy.
Although, the meal is healthy, it does not skimp on flavor one bit. As long as you take care of the aromatics (ginger, garlic, onions) and the flavorings (chilies, soy sauce, vinegar), your dish will be satisfying and delicious while remaining healthy.

Vegetable fried rice with sweet and sour Mushroom gravy
Fried rice with sweet and sour Mushrooms

These recipes yield 4 servings.

Vegetable Fried Rice

1 1/3 cup rice
1 inch ginger piece
4 big garlic cloves
1 green chili
1 onion
3 spring onions
2 carrots
1/4 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup edamame (fresh soy beans)
1/2 large bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped spinach
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice
  • Cook the rice and spread on a plate to cool. The rice needs to be completely cold. Stale rice from the refrigerator works great here.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil and add the minced ginger and garlic along with a chopped green chili and onion. Also add the white bulb of the spring onions. Saute for about a minute or two.
  • Add chopped carrots and green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the edamame and bell pepper. Cover for 5 minutes to cook the edamame.
  • Add the spinach, soy sauce, cooled rice and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix everything up well. Add the spring onion greens and vinegar or lemon juice. I used apple cider vinegar.
  • Mix it up. Cover and let it sit with the heat off for about 5 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
  • I use organic frozen edamame because soy tends to be a common GMO crop. Instead of edamame, peas can be used.
  • I used spinach because it needed to be used up but cabbage is more authentic. In case cabbage is used, add it in with the edamame.
  • While you can mix up the vegetables, using bell pepper, spring onions and cabbage in addition to the aromatics, will give an authentic tasting fried rice.

The sweet and sour mushroom gravy has a lot more intense flavor compared to the fried rice which has a mellower flavor. The diners can adjust the spiciness and flavor by adding as much or as little gravy to the rice as per their taste.

Mushrooms in Sweet and Sour Gravy

1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 inch ginger piece
5 large garlic cloves
1 big onion
1 big bell pepper
3 green chilies
3 spring onions
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
2 cups water
  • Heat a teaspoon of oil and add the chopped mushrooms. Cook them till the water evaporates from the mushrooms and they start to caramelize. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and keep aside. This step is optional and mushrooms can be added with the rest of the vegetables. I do this because I like mushrooms cooked this way instead of spongy mushrooms.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pan and add minced ginger and garlic along with chopped onion, green chilies, spring onion whites and bell pepper. Saute for a few minutes till the onions and peppers begin to soften.
  • Add a tablespoon of tomato paste or 1/4 cup of tomato puree. Cook it for a couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the soy sauce and sugar along with 2 cups of water and the caramelized mushrooms.
  • Make a paste of corn starch and water and add it to the pan while stirring.
  • Cook the gravy till it thickens.
  • Add some vinegar if the tomatoes are not sour enough. Garnish with spring onion greens.
I used to add tomato ketchup instead of tomato paste to the gravy earlier but I found that I can get a much better flavor by adding tomato paste and sugar instead. This way I can really control the sourness and sweetness instead of going by the inherent taste of ketchup which is a lot more sweet.


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