Thursday, September 18, 2008

Only Yan can cook Chinese

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! :(


Philip said...

Knorr used to give these nice coffee mug free with every 3 packs of their soup mix. We bought the soup just for the mugs (which were quite good). The soups were horrible, even by the standards of bachelors-who-can't-cook-for-their-life-and-hence-will-eat-anything.

mathew said...

I can't make head knorr tail of how the chinese make their delcious food!! neverthless as one of the old norwegian fable says..

The land of midnight toilet visits is Knorrway!!

Pramod Abraham said...

Hey! why don't you try at least the page looks interesting !! yummy pictures...

You can probably become a wholesale agent for authentic Chinese foodstuff in your area !! The town will be flooding at your gates and you will get rave reviews. and Yes the golden wok too...

My 5 cents worth of ..well I leave at that


Synapse said...

well i guess neither you Knorr your family ended up with a good taste in the mouth!:D

Vivek Menon said...

Maybe you should try making Maggi sometime to treat your tongue....LOL..!!!

meenakshi said...

"There are some things money Knorr a Mastercard can buy!"


I only trust Chinese restaurants to make good chinese. Once tried Pasta treat of ITC and vowed never ever to have Pasta again.

--xh-- said...

ha ha ha.. so knorr made ur family go Grr... :-D one more feather on the cap of silverline... :) good that u left the noodle and fried rice part to hotel... :)
I must try knorr once.. i always shy away from these ready-t-cook contraptions - but i will try it one day, when i want to give a treat to those whom i 'love' ;)

Sriram said...

ROFLMAO!!! Remind me never to learn to cook!
I never liked noodles, fried-rice and such Chineese stuff anyway. They all lack the gravy-gooeyness, the oozing-with-delicious-aroma-'liquidity' which only Indian cuisine has.

Anonymous said...

Listen lady, I'll tell you what exactly the problem was. You, a disgruntled Indian, tried to cook Chinese soup, which was made by my humble German company, Knorr. Folks, listen up, this lady is a bad bad eebil cook. I'm gonna sue you for this horrendous libel.

Anonymous said...

Listen lady, I'll tell you what exactly the problem was. You, a disgruntled Indian, tried to cook Chinese soup, which was made by my humble German company, Knorr. Folks, listen up, this lady is a bad bad eebil cook. I'm gonna sue you for this horrendous libel.

Santosh said...

O Dear GODD !!! I cant belive i reached on one of your post where there are no comments :o)

Nice as always :o)


Santosh said...

LOL :D i was not number 1 but number 11 :p ek se bhale do :o)

Rada said...

Talk about being saved on the nick of time!

I have a packet of both these wonderful Knorr creations in my kitchen shelf!

I thank you (with tears in my eyes) for saving me from a ghastly, culinary experience! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thats why I don't cook. I even have difficulty trying. Like Homer Simpson once said, 'Trying is the first step to failure'

RukmaniRam said...

the title was a bit of a spoiler wasn't it?

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

i've always wondered y knorr over do the salt bit.
chinese food can be made best without these ready to serve stuff.
i am a chinese food buff - love to eat it - cook it.
poor u-nothing like a culinary fiasco!

Neena Padayatty said...

LOL!...Happy to know even the culinary inclined make 'disasters'.It is such an encouragement for novices like me.The Chinese noodles I made for Dad's bday(yeah,the unfortunate bday boy was stuck with me )went down without any comments, which irritated me equally.I swear it was 'finger licking good'!!
But those Knorr ads are tempting.Maybe we should be satisfied with the visual treat.:D

nostringsattached said...

i tried knorr...but the only external ingredient they mentioned was water...i dont remember which flavor that was...but that was quiet good...may be you should try some ready to eat stuff like this and redeem your name as "Yan of India"

Unknown said...

"Look on peoples face when they ate the end product - Priceless!"... Your one liners are a revelation!

The Wanderer said...

Haha!! Happens to everyone once in a while when trying to take the shortcut!

About your last sentence "only Chinese can cook Chinese food"... I dont know the situation in your city, but here in Mumbai, there are a few dozen roadside Chinese food stalls (all decked up in red- red paint, red plates et al) who make Chinese food that would put all Chinese cooks to shame!

PS: Do visit my blog if you wanna know the whereabouts of these stalls (and ofc a lot of other rant!)

Divs said...

I tried manchurian once...
and err.. i can't even say how it looked like.. red? brown.. no black.
i messed it up big time as decided that anything not indian should be eaten only in the restaurants..
Not even at a friends place.Never there..

silverine said...

Philip: That mug trick never fails! :p

Mathew: Lol!!

Pramod: Amazing site!!! Thanks!! Now let us see if it gets me the Golden wok!! :)

Synapse: Touche! :)

Vivek: I hate Maggi! I prefer Curry Smoodles with grated cheese! Yum!

fundoome: ITC pasta is yuck!!! >:P

XH: Serve it to someone you thats a good idea!! :p

Sriram: I luvvvv Chinese!! Of course I love Indian food too. But Chinese tops! :)

Mr Knorr: Sir, can I send you a packet of Isabgol as a peace offering? :|

Santosh: :) Sorry about that! I try to publish comments regularly, but yesterday was held up in a four hour meeting and hence could not publish them till late evening!

Rada: Am glad I was able to help he he. :p Now throw it in the dustbin please! :|

Binny: Dont make excuses!!! X( This concoction was beyond my control as it was ready made!!

Rukmani Ram: Well...this wasn't a suspense thriller anyway! :)

kochuthresiamma: I cook Chinese too, at least the tried and tested stuff. But here, the ingredients were ready made, so beyond my culinary control!

Neena: Absolutely right!! Stick to the visual treat wonly! :)

nostringattached: The Knorr soups are okay, but their ready to eat stuff is yuck!

Abraham: :)

the blue Indian:What I learned rom this fiasco is to read up product reviews on mouthshutdotfcom and then buy it! :)

divs: You are right! Some stuff are better left to experts! :)

Anonymous said...

May be it is time we should either blindly go in accept the taste of indian "chineese food as such,
or permiting only import of foreign foods rather than making it foods that just fake names

Alexis said...

Nice one as usual. Hope you have recovered from your Knorr adventure.

Arti Honrao said...

One Knorr Chinese - Rs 25/-
Vegetables and other ingredients - Rs 50/-
Look on peoples face when they ate the end product - Priceless!

Thanks for the warning. I was going to buy KNORR!

only the Chinese can cook Chinese
My bro owned a chinese restaurant n our cook was pakka Maharashtrian! Chinese was delicious, service a bit slow :D


Lazith Aziz said...

I completely agree that there is some knorr mushroom yucky to the core!

but I loved once this usual knorr sweet corn veg and chicken soup.
It tasted good when I was having cold . Dont ever expect to imitate the PEARL CHINA kitchen ...these are times we give up chinese @ home and head to the chinese joints!! a very nice excuse ha!

silverine said...

JJ: I guess you are right, as we consumers waste our money on these fakes!

Alexis: Thank you! Nice to see you!

Arti: Throw it away gal and save yourself some pain! brr

Lazith: This product is the Knorr's Chinese Food offering. Their soups are okay.

rk said...

i disagree...i had bought a packet of knorr manchurian mix a coupla days back...but then i came across this post and i was plenty scared....i dint want to get kicked out of home before getting out of college.........well today something came over me and i somehow mustered enough courage to go ahead and give it try....n well what do you turned out pretty alright[:d].....nya nya.... im a bettr cook than you are[tongue out animation]