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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Chow Mein/ Veg Hakka Noodles

In the 80's, back in India, growing up I remember Chinese food as one of the most sought after fast food (pizzas and burgers had just about started to get popular but were a little too expensive to relish on a regular basis) amongst all age groups. Food vans parked in the corner of your neighborhood market  were a common sight alluring the customers with lipsmacking chinese food- chow mein, sweet and sour chicken, chicken manchurian amongst many other delicacies.To add to the delicious waft of aromas and the sizzling sounds coming from the van, was the visual theatrics of the person cooking the noodles, tossing them up high in the huge woks succeeding in breaking down all your resolves of resisting the delicious fare. Who in the right mind could resist it, not a foodie like me.  
Apparently that Chinese food served India, has not even a remote resemblance to traditional Chinese cuisine. As the history goes, in the early 20th century, the Chinese settlers came to India and settled in different cities. This communion between the Indian and Chinese people gave birth to, amongst other things ;)  the Indo-Chinese cuisine where Indian spices were added to suit the Indian tastes. This is what gave birth to dishes like the sweet corn soup, veg and chicken sweet and sour, Chilli chicken, Gobi manchurian. 
But now it has become so popular in India that one can get it in any restaurant in India and at the same time can also be found very commonly on the roadside street fast food joints.
Having moved here to U.S a year and a halfback, I have been craving and desperately missing our desi Chinese food. We tried a lot of restaurants but it just wasn't the same. In the end I just decided to recreate the same flavors at home, something that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
Seriously, nothing compares to the flavors from back home. I think this is what cherishing and holding onto sweet memories is.....that makes you long for your home, your friends and family left behind!!

prep time:15 minutes
cook time:15 minutes
serves: 3-4

Egg noodles- 400 gms or 2 packets 200 gms each
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 Tbsp
Sesame oil- 1 Tbsp.
Garlic- 1 tsp chopped 
Onion -1 medium, sliced thinly
Cabbage- 2 cups, finely sliced 
Carrots - 2, finely cut into thin strips (julienne)
Green pepper -1, sliced thinly
Bean sprouts- 1/2 cup
Chives- 6 sprig, finely chopped
Soy sauce- 2 tbsp
Vinegar- 1 tsp 
  1. Boil  the noodles in plenty of water till almost 3/4th cooked. Be careful not to overcook.
  2. When they are done, strain the noodles in a colander and run them under cold water. Toss them with 1 Tbsp. of oil and keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok on high heat.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the onion, carrots and green pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes on high heat or till the carrots start to get a little soft.
  6. Now add in the cabbage and toss again for 30 seconds.
  7. Add the noodles to the vegetables.
  8. Add  in 1 Tbsp. sesame oil.
  9. Add salt, pepper, vinegar and soy sauce and toss to mix thoroughly.
  10. Add in the beansprouts and toss again.
  11. Serve hot.

My recipe of Veg Hakka Noodles was also published in the Urban Spice. 

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