Last week, I went to my friendâ€™s home to wish her little son a belated birthday. When she introduced me to her mother in law and told her that I specialize in sattvic food, the lady did not hesitate to tell me upfront â€śOh..it is not my kind of food! I like tasty food with a lot of masalas in it.â€ť
As I entered the elevator, I remembered a follower writing to me about an argument with her friend. When her friend claimed that sattvic food cannot have variety and is not interesting, she only had to direct him here to dispel his notion.
That made me happy but at the same time sad. Sattvic food has its roots in Ayurveda, the oldest science of medicine for the body and mind, known to have originated in India, thousands of years ago. There was a time, when Ayurvedic tips and tricks were known and followed in every household in India. Unfortunately over a period of time this was lost and most of us became unaware of this precious art of healing.
And its quite unfortunate when others across the globe are realizing the benefits of this age old system, while many of us look at it with a degree of skepticism.
My whole endeavor here is to showcase the wide variety of pure vegetarian (sattvic) food that one can make for oneself and the family. And yes, sattvic food is far from boring! And sattvic food, literally feeds your body, mind and soul. The many people I have fed from so many walk of life, eminent film makers, artists, scientists, doctors, engineers and others have not been able to detect any missing element in my food.
You can also make great Indo Chinese food without onions and garlic. When I started to cook, my Indo Chinese food was one of the most loved amongst my friends and family members. I mostly cooked Cantonese style of dishes, (relatively less spicier than Schezwan or Sichuan food) which unfortunately havenâ€™t made their way in here, as yet.
I intend to correct this lapse and promise to feature many Chinese and Indo-Chinese dishes in the near future. Letâ€™s start with this lip smacking Schezwan sauce. You can use this sauce to make any Schezwan style Indo Chinese recipes. And you can also use it to make a dip to serve with chips and any other snacks that need a dip with a punch.
This sauce is very easy to make and you can always have a batch of it frozen in the refrigerator to cook dishes with fresh vegetables and other ingredients.
I used this Schezwan sauce to cook a delicious wholewheat and noodle dish when I freshly made it. I see myself using this sauce to make Schezwan fried rice and also mixing it into soups and stir fries.
Make this sauce with your favourite chilies or a mix of many different chilies which will give the right balance of colour and pungency. Since I had only Guntur chilies on hand, I used them. Next time around, I plan to use a mix of Kashmiri and Byadgi chilies too. I usually have a stock of these chilies along with Salem Gundu chilies, but it was one of those very rare days, when I had only Guntur chilies on hand and there was no way, I was going to stop my experiment for the lack of a certain variety of ingredient (Iâ€™m quite rigid when it comes to ingredients, but this time around the desire to make this sauce was so strong, that I just couldnâ€™t wait!).
This sauce is so good, that it can perk up many meals. You can use this to cook Indo Chinese dishes and also find other ways to add zest to your food. And once, you try it, you will be assured that food without onion and garlic is not dull and boring and can infact taste as good or even better since there are no overpowering flavours and one actually gets to taste the real flavor of the vegetables and spices used in the dish.
Schezwan Sauce Without Onion And Garlic
A spicy sauce with chilies. Can be used as a dip or mixed into several dishes. Use a mix of different chilies for an interesting mix of flavours.
20 dry red chilies*
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp finely chopped celery sticks
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
Â˝ tsp asafetida* (optional)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt or to taste
For a dipping sauce:
2 tbsp tomato ketchup or puree
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
Remove the stem from the chilies and soak them in water for 2 hours. Drain the water, reserving a little water to grind the chilies.
Blend the soaked chilies to a smooth paste, using a little water.
In a wok, heat the oil and put in the chopped celery and ginger. Stir fry for a minute, add in the optional asafetida if using and then stir the red chili paste.
Cook until the chili paste is nicely cooked and oil begins to ooze out.
Stir in the apple cider vinegar and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes more and turn off the heat.
You can use this sauce for cooking any Schezwan dish. To use as a dipping sauce, add tomato ketchup, soy sauce and a little sugar to balance the hot flavours.
- You can use an assortment of chilies to get your desired colour and heat.
- Since there is no onion or garlic in the recipe, a little asafetida helps to improve the taste and flavor and you wont even be able to detect it once it blends into the spices.
- Use regular Vinegar, if apple cider vinegar is not available.