I picked up a packet of Knorr Szechuan Mix and Knorr Chinese Manchurian Mix from Monday2Sunday the other day. The packet looked promising, the brand name reassuring. Having burnt my hand trying to make Chinese which never comes out the way the restaurants prepare it, I was wary. But I decided to give this a try as the photo on the packet promised me of instant Chinese Cuisine Superstardom. I could almost see the beaming faces of my Dad, mom, brothers and dogs sitting on the dining table, eating away in complete silence broken only by ecstatic gasps and admiring nods towards me. Then they all fall at my feet and pay homage to thunderous music in the background, followed by Chef Yan of 'Yan can Cook' fame sliding down a helicopter and presenting me with a Golden Wok for the spectacular feat of being the only non Chinese in the world, who made authentic Chinese food, while TV reporters throng my door.
A smug smile played on my lips as I picked out the vegetables that the packet mentioned should be used along with the powder in the packet. I came home and walked into the kitchen with a mysterious smile. I was going to surprise everyone!!! And what a surprise it was!! They were left gasping...literally.
I prepared the Szechuan sauce and the Chinese Manchurian sauce exactly as instructed on the packet. Then I fried the Paneer and the vegetable balls also as instructed on the packet. It is a very easy process and you cannot go wrong, right? Wrong!! Everything will go wrong with this dish. Read on and you will find out how. Then I put the fried Paneer and vegetable balls and mixed it into their respective sauces and viola...really terrible Chinese food was ready to eat!!
All I could taste was saltiness and sourness in the thick sauce. Absolutely no flavor!!
Chinese Manchurian tasted like Salt +Bitter sauce
Szechuan tasted like Salt+ Sweet Sauce
Try as I could, I could not get any other flavor from the bland sauce!!! Just plain thick sauce with salt flavor. (Please note I mean salt as a flavor and not “salty”) I thought perhaps, keeping the mixture aside will allow the flavor of the paneer and vegetable balls to permeate into the sauce. But half an hour later the sauce and the paneer and vegetable balls were still strangers and refusing to mix with each other. I felt like a hostess who invites the entire village for dinner only to realize that the cook she hired was not a cook but the village butcher!!
I had already ordered Fried Rice and Noodles from a nearby restaurant to “accompany” my gastronomic feat! But it ended up the main course and the “only” course that day! People who tasted the Knorr Wonder were unanimous that I needed a good ass whopping.
But let us look at the bright side friends…yes there is one. Yan did come down that helicopter and thwacked me hard for attempting to cook Chinese with something that is named “Knorr”!! And then the TV reporters laughed at my face and my family threw me out to introspect on the carnage I delivered to the lunch table. I am back home dear friends, but the very mention of "KNORR" has my entire family including dogs go GRR!!!
So all you bachelors and bachelorettes out there, please don’t waste your money buying this abomination. If you have too much, kindly send them over to me. Right now my tongue needs intensive care having lost all its taste eating the insipid goo!! Yeah, my parents made me eat it. “No wasting food” rules are still very much in place in the house. *sigh*
One Knorr Chinese - Rs 25/-
Vegetables and other ingredients - Rs 50/-
Look on peoples face when they ate the end product - Priceless!
There are some things money Knorr a Mastercard can buy! And that's learning from past experiences that only the Chinese can cook Chinese! :(