Chinese food has been popular in India from a very long time now. Chowmein has even become an integral part of the street food scene in different nooks and corners of the country. Maggi is something which most of us have been eating from the time we were kids. Momos is another chinese speciality that has made deft inroads in the Indian culinary scene. In short, Indo-chinese food has become the new hallmark of the “hindi chini bhai bhai” paradigm .
Today’s recipe is Hakka Noodles, deriving it’s name from the chinese province of Hakka. Hakka Noodles is basically noodles cooked with plenty of colourful veggies. In that sense, it is the Pasta Primavera of the Chinese cuisine .
Hakka Noodles is prepared using the chinese trademark stir-frying technique. Stir-frying is generally done in a wok, which is somewhat similar to the Indian kadhai, except that it has a wider bottom to provide a uniform heating surface.Also, stir-frying is done over a very high temperature and this is what makes replicating the perfect chinese noodles at home so difficult. Only in the industrial gas burners used in restaurants, can one cook perfect stir-fried food.Nevertheless, this dish can be tried by the home cook if one is not very particular about the elusive perfection of stir-fried food.
To make Hakka Noodles, first boil some noodles (I have used egg noodles) in salted water for 5-8 min. Add few drops of oil to the water to prevent the noodles from sticking.Next cut a few veggies into juliennes. I have used red and green bell peppers, babycorn, carrots and spring onions. One can also use shredded cabbage and bean sprouts.Once the noodles is cooked, drain it. Now heat some oil in a wok (or kadhai). Using groundnut oil is recommended. Now one by one add the vegetables into the wok and stir-fry by stirring continuously for around 3-4 min over high heat.Next season the veggies with salt, ajina moto and white pepper powder. Then add 2-3 tbsp of soya sauce. This will impart the dark colour to noodles. You can also add a dash of white vinegar for tanginess. Finally mix in the boiled noodles and stir for another 2-3 minutes, till the noodles is uniformly coated with sauce.
Chinese cooking is easy to master, but most often requires a lot of ingredients. But having said that, it’s always worth it.So next time you are having a craving for chowmein, then instead of making a dash for your nearest chinese outlet, try out this recipe in your home. It will cost you only a fraction, not to mention the joy of stir-frying .