Well, this Friday ( 28,November, 2014) had been a pretty amazing day for me. My first Cooking Competition. Frankly speaking, a day before I had no idea that I am even going for it. But then, a phone call from the college representative confirmed that I have to go for the event. I thought, " Cool enough!! Tried cooking at home, lets try out this new experience." With this mentality I started preparing myself for the next day's task. I was worried about two things. Firstly, I have never done time bound
cooking as such as this was my first competition. Secondly, the fest was at International Institute of Hotel Management, Kolkata, where people who learn to cook professionally, are going to compete with me. Being just a home cook, I was a bit nervous then till I knew who my partner was. 

The college representative, Sneha Whatsapped me, " You and Atreya are going". Atreya is my school mate and now we are in the same college. I thought it will be real fun cooking with him. About him, what do I say, apart from pursuing his studies in various countries of the world, he is a professional public relations consultant. That is kind of too much for a second year student, right? Yes, but he is really talented enough to manage everything so well. About Atreya, I knew that he was keen in cooking from his school days. He was in the home science department and he cooked lovely dishes. So, I was pretty excited about my participation.
Manikuntala and Atreya ... :)
Before the competition started, we were allowed to check  the ingredients we are getting. We checked all the ingredients nicely and decided to work as we get the clue, what to cook. Then, it was announced that we needed to make one main course dish along with a side dish or a accompaniment. We decided earlier that we would either cook Italian or Chinese. We proceeded with the latter option. Our dish was a basic Cantonese noodles along with Schezwan styled honey  fish, both with a bit of twist. I am sharing those recipes below. After completing the dish, the judges came and tasted it. They said they liked it and also pointed out a flaw in our way of garnishing. We did not have much hopes and me and Atreya left for our next events that were going to take place. I was sitting in a hall, waiting for the quiz to commence, when Atreya came and said, "Mani, we've won." I was extremely happy at that moment because winning the first cooking competition of my life was a great deal for me. I heartily thank Atreya for this win, without you and our team work it would not have happened then.

Recipe – Cantonese  Styled Noodles


Durum Wheat Noodles – 200GM (Boiled or Al Dante)
Carrot  35 gm (Julienned)
Red Bell Pepper 35 gm (Julienned)
Green Bell Pepper 35 gm (Julienned)
Yellow Bell Pepper 35 gm (Julienned)
Cabbage 35 gm (Julienned)
Mushroom 50 Gm  (Sliced)
Chicken 50 Gm (Boiled and sliced)
Scrambled egg 1
4 Tbsp Chopped Spring Onion

Seasonings –
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Soy Sauce 2 Tsp
White pepper to taste
Oil to stir fry.

Methods – Heat oil in a wok and add the carrot, followed by the mushroom, red, green & yellow bell peppers. Then, add in the cabbage and give it a quick stir. Now add in the chicken, egg and add in the noodles. Give a toss and add in all the seasonings and continue stirring it gently. Once you are done with it mix in the spring onion and its ready to plated.

Schezwan Styled Honey Fish

 Basa Fish 300 Gm Jardiniere Cut

 For Marination of Fish –
Garlic  Paste 1 Tsp
Ginger Paste 1 Tsp
White Pepper Powder 1 Tsp
Black Pepper Crushed  1 Tsp
Tomato Ketchup 1 Tbsp.

For the Batter-
1 Egg Beaten
4 Tbsp Corn starch

For The Sauce –
Red Chilli Dried A handful
12 Cloves Of Garlic
Lemon Grass Chopped 1 Tsp
Oil 3 Tsp
Tomato Ketchup 2 Tsp
Celery Chopped 2 Tsp
Onion Chopped 2 Tbsp
Ginger Chopped  2 Tsp

Red Bell Pepper 30 Gm Diced
Green Bell Pepper 30 Gm Diced
Yellow Bell Pepper 30 Gm Diced

Seasonings –
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Honey 4 Tbsp
White pepper to taste
Oil to stir fry and Deep Fry

Garnishing –
Sesame Seeds Toasted 1 Tsp
Chopped Cilantro 2 Tsp

Method –

In blender churn all the ingredients for the sauce to a thick paste. Then heat a pan and stir  the sauce  till it releases oil and smells cooked. In a bowl marinate the fish slices with ginger and garlic for 15 min, and add in he white and black pepper and keep it aside for another 15 min, now finally mix in a bit of salt and the tomato ketchup. Now whip in the egg and the corn-flour and make the batter, Heat a wok and add in oil to deep fry the fish. Coat every piece of the marinated fish in the batter and deep fry till golden brown. In a separate pan stir fry the diced bell peppers and add in the fish the sauce and add all the seasonings. Gently mix that, take care so that the fish doesn’t breaks. Garnish with the sesame seeds and cilantro and ready to serve.

 Recipe Courtesy: Atreya Paul

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