Why does one enjoy the spicy 'Indianised' Chinese food so much? What is the reason that a bowl of fried rice or noodles at a roadside stall can break the dieting resolve of the most hardened health freaks? It all boils down to that one secret sauce that has made Chinese dishes such crowd pleasers. Whether you are a rice or a noodles person, you will agree to one thing - they both taste the best with spicy and flavourful schezwan sauce. This hot chilli sauce is the ingredient that makes Chinese dishes irresistible. The sauce (or as Indians call it, schezwan chutney) can be used in a number of ways. You may stir-fry your vegetables in it or spread it on sandwich breads and paninis.
You can toss plain rice or noodles in schezwan sauce along with some cooked meat and your favourite vegetables, and get a stunning main dish. You can also bake some fries or simply open a packet of chips or crisps along with a bowl of schezwan sauce and call it a night. Our point is; the sauce is a multi-purpose flavour-enhancer that goes with pretty much everything. You can also be a little creative and try schezwan sauce in a number of recipes. You can spread it on your paratha rolls, add it to your soups, add it to idlis and dosas, and even dump a spoonful in your regular curries and dry subjis! There is probably no wrong way of using schezwan chutney, except, if you want to add it to desserts or smoothies (please don't!).
This delicious schezwan sauce is available at all grocery stores and shopping marts. But you can easily make it at home and save yourself some money. The preservative-free homemade version will have a shorter shelf-life as compared to the packaged sauce, but it can still last you about two or three weeks, if stored in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator. You will need whole dried chillies, ginger and garlic, some onions and some spices to make this sauce. All the ingredients are easily available.
So let's look at the recipe of homemade schezwan sauce:
1. Grind onions, ginger and garlic together.
2. Saute whole red chillies in sesame oil. Add the ginger, onion and garlic paste to the pan and cook.
3. Add some corn flour in water and mix. Add this corn flour mixture to the pan.
4. Add chilli powder, vinegar, soy sauce, chilli sauce and finally salt.
5. Cook the sauce until it's blended well and then allow it to cool before storing in an air-tight jar.
For the full recipe and details of ingredients, click here.