Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Indo Chinese - Vegetable noodles, spicy, tangy and made in a jiffy

A decade or so ago when access to International food in India was very limited, Indo-Chinese cuisine was one of the most sought after cuisine after our special Dosa and the very Indian chats. Gobi Manchurian became such a popular dish that it is now main streamed into Indian snacks :-). I have heard my Chinese friends say that Indo-Chinese doesn't taste anything like Chinese and not anything like what they cook at home :-), I understand the sentiment totally which is how I feel when I go to an Indian restaurant. The food has to adapt to its surrounding culture and sensibilities for survival.

According to Wikipedia - Indian Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. This brand of cooking is thought to have originated in Kolkata started by the 1700s Chinese immigrants to India. I found a nice article about Sino-Indian cooking and its popularity in CNN travel here, it is about 3 years old but a good read.

There was a restaurant close to where I worked in the heart of Bengaluru before our offices moved all the way out of city and after I started working, I found out that it was a favorite joint for most office parties. It was right across from the street, had decent and spacious dining rooms and served good food. The first time I went there, I found that the food was Indo-Chinese which I had never tasted thus far. After pouring over the menu and customizing the order, I had a plate of Vegetable Fried rice. It was very different from the Fried rice I was used to and there was a very distinct flavor in it which I later found out was the Soy sauce. When I told BH about my lunch adventure, he said that I should have tried their noodles. I did eventually and liked it.

Both BH & DD love pastas and noodles while I am indifferent to them. So I started making them at home to see the happiness quotient go up and the pesto pasta has been a favorite with both of them. I was not very sure of this vegetable noodles being a success with DD as she picks out bell peppers (with the exception when grilled). But to my pleasant delight, the bowl was wiped clean and there was not a single whiny sound about 'why I had to have bell peppers in the dish' :-). Buoyed by the success, I made it again the next time when she had a friend visiting and both the girls enjoyed it thoroughly. This is now a favorite at home. I have used the Angel Hair pasta I get here and not the Chinese Hakka noodles, you can use either one or any other thin spaghetti in this recipe.

Some highlights of Indo-Chinese cooking are that the vegetables are never mushy but always retain the crunch and crispiness. The dish is almost always doused with a generous dose of soy sauce. I do not use ajinomoto or MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) in my cooking and with the limited knowledge I have, I do not recommend it but will show you how to make a really awesome Indo Chinese noodles loaded with vegetables and gets ready in a matter of minutes. I have a secret ingredient which makes this dish irresistible but will also show you alternative ingredient should you not have access to it :-)
What do you need to make Indo-Chinese vegetable noodles?
2 cups cooked noodles (angel hair pasta/hakka noodles/thin spaghetti)
2 Tblsp sesame oil
1/2 cup thinly chopped onion - preferably red onions or shallots
1/2 cup french cut green beans
1/2 cup carrots - chopped into thin match sticks
1/2 cup finely shredded cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced bell peppers - mix colors if you have
1/4 cup chopped green onions/scallions/spring onions
1/4 Tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tsp salt (divided use)
1 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp Maggie hot & sweet sauce (or use 1 Tblsp Tomato ketchup + 1/2 Tsp regular chili sauce)
How do you make Indo-Chinese vegetable noodles?
  • Cook the noodles per package instructions until al dente and as soon as it reaches the right texture, switch off, pour it into a sieve, and run cold water on it for 15-20 seconds. 
  • Heat oil in a wide wok on high heat, add onions and give it a stir. Add green beans, carrots and cabbage.
  • Cook for a minute stirring continuously. 
  • Add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Add the bell peppers followed by the sauces.
  • Add the cooked, drained pasta and mix it well. 
  • Top it with chopped green onions, give a mix.
  • Serve warm. 
  • Keep the heat on high and ensure that the entire bottom surface of the pan/wok is heated uniformly. This is important to get the vegetables cooked right. 
  • I use sesame oil for the flavor it adds to the dish but you can use any other regular oil you use in your kitchen.
  • Use a tong and spoon to quickly mix and serve the noodles.


Saranya Balaji said...

very delightful recipe...

Anonymous said...

Yum, slllluuurrrppp. Nothing beats the indo-Chinese, better than original Chinese for most Indians :) Thnaks for bringing this to us - a unique one indeed from your kitchen so far.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

very nice with vegtables looking very tasty. i must taste it.nice recipe

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

very delectable n mouth watering...

Priya Suresh said...

Indo chinese foods are my weakness, wish i get that bowl of droolworthy noodles rite now.

Akila said...

Looks so yummy and very interesting

Kannada Cuisine said...

Looks fabulous! My little one is fond of noodles too.