Today’s recipe is very, very close to my heart.
In all our lives, there are some foods that are extremely nostalgic to us! Maybe it’s the ‘vada-pao’ from that vendor who sat across the street from your college, where you used to spend all your breaks with your friends….or maybe it’s that simple tomato and cheese pizza from a little bakery where your grandfather used to take you as a kid every Saturday as a treat….or it can even be something as plain as a tetra-pack of Frooti, which was your favourite of all the drinks throughout your childhood.
‘Veg. lollipop’ is one such dish that makes me very emotional for the carefree days of adolescence.
I am from Indore and when we were in high-school, a massive hotel called ‘Amar Vilas’ opened up not far from our house. Incidentally, it was owned by the family of a very good friend of my sister’s. In no time, it became our favourite restaurant to dine in, and if there was one dish that was truly Amar-vilas’s signature dish, it was this amazing appetizer they served- Veg. Lollipop!
I mean, we have ordered this starter for years and years straight, whenever we visited the restaurant. I am a die-hard non-vegetarian but this dish drove me crazy with its yummyness. It was so sooo good. Throughout the three years of college, we had my cousin stay with us. Infact, we studied in the same college, same class. Me, my sister, my cousin, my gang from college …everyone got hooked to this dish in no time. Even now when we meet or talk, there is never a time when we don’t fondly mention Amar-vilas’s Veg lollipop.
Moreover, I had my school’s farewell party (like a prom) in Amar-vilas and a few years later, I even got engaged in a lovely banquet hall of this hotel. Thus, it has been a favourite haunt of mine for many many years.
Re-creating this dish was a lot of fun. It brought back a hundred memories instantly to my mind and made me smile several times during the whole time. This dish is saucy, tasty, hot & spicy. It’s a perfect snack for your next dinner party with friends.
Give this amazing recipe a go guys, and enjoy!
For the lollipops:
– 1 large carrot, grated
– 1 cup cabbage, grated
– 1/4 cup spring onion greens, finely chopped
– 1 tsp soy sauce
– 1 tsp chilli sauce
– 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
– 1 tbsn cornflour
– 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
– Salt and black pepper powder to taste
– Oil for deep frying
For the sauce:
– 4-5 dried red chillies (available at any Indian store)
– 2-3 tbsn tomato paste/puree
– 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– A large piece of ginger, peeled and grated
– 2 tsp sugar
– 2 tsp soya sauce
– 1 tsp vinegar
– 3 tbsn tomato ketchup
– 1 tsp Mirin (optional)
– 2 tbsn sweet chilly sauce
– 2 tbsn oil
– 1 tbsn sesame oil (optional)
– Salt & pepper to taste
– Some soup-sticks
– Some chopped scallion greens for garnishing
– Let’s make the tangy sauce first!
– De-seed the chillies and then, soak them in ½ cup water, for around an hour. Blend along with the water you had soaked it in and set aside.
– Heat vegetable oil + sesame oil in the wok.
– Add the garlic & ginger in hot oil and fry for about 10 seconds. You do not have to brown them.
– Add the blended red chilly paste and fry for 1-2 minutes.
– Add your tomato paste/puree and fry again, till you see the oil leaving the edges.
– As the sauce simmers, add the tomato ketchup, mirin, soya sauce, sweet-chilly sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for around 6-7 mins more on low flame till you again see the oil leaving sides. The resulting sauce should be absolutely thick and not at all watery.
– Check and adjust salt and sugar as per your preference. Your yummy sauce for the veggie lollipops is ready!
– Let us make the lollipops now……
– In a bowl, combine the grated carrot, cabbage and spring onion greens.
– Transfer the mixture into a clean muslin cloth and squeeze the veggies very well. This is so that the veggies releases almost all their water, otherwise the lollipops won’t hold. Transfer the veggies back into the bowl.
– To the dried vegetables, nowadd soy sauce, chilli sauce, ginger garlic paste, black pepper powder and a little salt.
– Next, add all purpose flour and cornflour.
– Make a nice thick dough without adding any water. It should all combine very easily.
– Now comes the most important part- making the lollipops. Divide the prepared mixture equally and shape into balls. Put a ball on top of each soup-stick and adjust to make a lollipop.
– Deep fry the lollipops on medium flame till they turn golden brown.
– Place on a kitchen towel to remove excess oil.
– Ladle generous amounts of sweet sauce on top of your lollipops, garnish with scallion greens and serve hot immediately! You can also serve the sauce on the side, as a dip. Enjoy!
If you start by squeezing out the water from the grated veggies before you prepare your sweet and sour sauce, then you can use that water in your sauce instead of throwing it away. That’s what I did today!!