How often have you faced the dilemma of serving a veggie side for the kids when you make them some fried rice or noodles? Most kids just want noodles and nothing else with it! Even if you do take the trouble to make something, they complain of how spicy it is or how sour it is. Most of the Chinese dishes we order from a restaurant or make at home does comprise of a lot of spice or a touch of sourness that little kids can't handle. At our place we love a good Chinese meal and doesn't every one love a spring roll or a chicken lollipop? We try to avoid dining out too often, since invariably food cooked at any restaurant has the deadly addition of MSG. Not just MSG, but I believe even citric acid and high levels of soda are
added to the food, which is way too toxic for anyone to handle.
Here's a light vegetarian option that I tried out some time ago and was happily eaten up by the kids. Mind you I have had to go through several stages of recipe testing to get the final result. Do give it a try with your own combination of your kid's favourite veggies.
1 cup carrot cut into bite sized wedges
1 cup cabbage cut into bite sized chunks
a handful cauliflower florets
1 onion cut into wedges
1 green bell pepper cut into cubes
2 tbsps sesame oil
2 star anise
1-2 cups water
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tbsp white vinegar
salt to taste
3-4 tbsps cornstarch dissolved in some warm water
2 spring onions
Heat the oil in a deep pan, roast the star anise until it gives out a lovely aroma and then to this add all the veggies. Keep the heat on medium to high and stir fry the veggies until half done. It needs to retain a bit of crunch and colour. Once the veggies look done, set them aside. Pour the 2 cups of water into the same pan and bring it to a boil. Add all the seasoning , sauces and bring down to a simmer. Add the cornstarch paste to this and stir the sauce until it attains the right amount of thickness. This has to be adjusted according to your preference, so at times you might need more cornstarch to get the right consistency to the sauce. Lastly add the veggies to this sauce, let it almost come to a boil and turn off the heat. Serve it hot garnished with sliced spring onions.
Since it's a subtle flavoured main course, it goes very well with Chinese fried rice, Rice Noodles, plain glass noodles and steamed rice.
Tip- You can even add Tofu, Mushrooms, baby corn, red bell peppers, snow peas or Nappa cabbage to entice your kids. Go for whatever is in season which works out best. If you are making this for adults, toss in a few Thai Red chillies when you stir fry the veggies and hot sauce too for those who prefer this spicy.