I have come to believe, the simplicity of Indo-Chinese food is one of the world’s great gourmet triumphs.
This fact is merely enhanced by the fact that this particular cuisine offers quick and easy “turn-to” dishes that are perfect for our busy lives. Ever since tofu sprouts 5-spice rice became a hit at home, I have felt at ease with this spice concoction. Chinese 5-Spice powder is a powdered mixture of spices including cinnamon, cloves, star anise, Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds. They are the kind of flavours that makes these dishes popular with one and all.
Ragi and Chinese?! Yes sure and why not?! Finger Millet or Ragi, a cereal popular in southern states of India, especially Karnataka, is a gluten-free nutritious grain.
Being rich in iron, calcium, fiber, vitamins whilst being low in carbs, this diabetes-and-heart-friendly grain is widely used in various preparations from porridge to savoury breads. Thereby this simple meal of Chinese 5 Spice Fried Rice with 5-Spice Ragi Patties is nourishing and full of flavour too!
Chinese 5 Spice Fried Rice
Cooked long grain rice - 3 cups (Basmati rice or any other long grain rice)
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Spring onion - 1 cup sliced
Green, red and yellow peppers chopped fine - 1/2 cup each
Sweet corn - 1/2 cup (frozen or fresh)
Spinach - handful roughly chopped (optional)
Chinese 5-Spice powder - 1 & 1/2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Optional additions - sprouts, baby corn (chopped), pan-fried tofu
Chop all the peppers, spinach and keep them ready. Cook the rice in such a way as to keep the grains separate.
In a wok, heat the oil.
Add sliced spring onion and cook at high temperature until it softens.
Add the 5-spice powder now, mix, cook for few seconds.
Add chopped peppers, sweet corn, saute and cook until they soften slightly.
Add chopped spinach, mix.
Add cooked rice, salt and mix everything well.
Cook for a couple of more minutes.
Chinese 5-Spice Rice is ready to serve.
5 Spice Ragi Patties
Ragi flour (finger millet flour) - 1 cup
Rice flour - 2-3 tablespoons (to provide crispiness, and is optional)
Onion finely chopped - 1/2 cup (white or red onion)
Red cabbage - 1 cup (white cabbage can also be used)
Fenugreek leaves - 1 cup (methi)
Fresh coriander chopped - a handful
Chinese 5 Spice powder - 1 tsp
Green chilies - 3-4 chopped fine (use as per tolerance)
Garlic - 2 cloves chopped fine (optional)
Water as needed
Salt to taste
First chop all the vegetables fine and keep them ready
In a bowl add the chopped veggies, fenugreek leaves, fresh coriander, garlic, green chili, ragi flour, rice flour, 5-spice powder, salt and mix well.
Now adding small amounts of water at a time bring all the ingredients together to form a medium dough (not too soft nor too hard)
Make 2 inch diameter patties with portions of the dough.
Shallow fry over a heated skillet or griddle with a drizzle of oil or ghee (clarified butter). Cover and cook.
Flip once the surface browns.
Once again drizzle a few drops of oil and cook covered well enough such that the patties develop a dark hue all over with no whitish areas remaining. This takes a good 3-4 minutes on each side. It's important to cook this well.
Serve hot with chili sauce.
As an alternative, try the ragi patties with 1 cup chopped coriander instead of fenugreek leaves with 1 cup chopped red onion and 1/2 cup of finely chopped cabbage with green chili.
Cook the ragi patties very well to ensure no raw flour remains undercooked.