Gobi Manchurian, chowmein, paneer fried rice, chilli chicken- you’ve probably heard of these popular dishes. Maybe you even live and thrive on these delicious meals!
Advertised as Chinese cuisine and consumed with forks (instead of chop sticks?) in India, it ranks as the most favourite cuisine after local food. What Indians relish as Chinese food is about as Chinese as the hot dog!
The history of this melting pot cuisine goes back to late eighteenth century, Calcutta. An ethnic group of Hakkas crossed the hilly borders into the erstwhile British India capital. These immigrants worked in tanneries, wood workshops and other small industries as skilled and unskilled workers. Later they established sugar mills and restaurants. An inevitable intermingling of cultures took place during this era and one of the results is the Indo-Chinese cuisine.
Indo-Chinese cuisine can be easily differentiated from authentic Chinese cuisine as it is spicier to suit the Indian palate. The ingredients used in Indo-Chinese dishes are also different. In Indo-Chinese, a lot of vegetables like carrots, capsicum, cabbage, spring onions etc. are used. Whereas in Chinese cuisine, bok choy, watercress, bamboo shoots and Sichuan pepper are favoured.
The need to re-invent food has led to some yummy developments in recent times…
Honey rice balls
This perfect marriage of the Indian staple rice and Chinese style is a hot favourite among the fans of Indo-Chinese cuisine. It is made with cooked rice which is hand moulded into balls. These balls are dipped in a batter of honey, some finely chopped fried vegetables, soy sauce and corn flour. The balls are coated with sesame seeds and deep fried. Honey rice balls are served with a variety of sauces and chutneys.
Schezwan noodle dosa
The South Indian masala dosa gets an Oriental makeover in this mouth-watering dish that is conquering the appetites of both rural and urban consumers. The dosa is made in the traditional manner. The dosa is then smeared with Schezwan sauce and in place of the regular aloo filling, noodles cooked with finely chopped veggies is stuffed. The crispness of the dosa meets the slurpiness of noodles in an explosion of flavours!
Tibetan tandoori momos
Ever imagined the simple momo with a smoky flavour? Well, momos are Delhified in this crackling tandoor version! Momos are prepared in the regular manner by steaming. Later they are marinated in chilli sauce before being baked thoroughly in a tandoor. The dish can be paired with lots of curries and sauces.
All you snackers are in for a delight as there is a new chaat on the street! This heavenly dish will leave Mumbaikars astounded as it takes their evergreen bhel puri recipe and turns it into a roller coaster evening snack. Made with noodles, Indian masalas and fresh vegetables, it is a sure shot snack to making a flavourful memory.
Chilli soya nuggets
This is a healthy appetizer especially for vegetarians who like try the taste of meat with soya. Soaked soya nuggets are mixed with chopped green chillies and onions and sautéed in a wok. Vinegar, soy sauce and other condiments are added while the whole lot is fried till golden brown. Crisp and yet juicy nuggets of soya that melt in your mouth! Ravishinggg!
The fusion food culture is a mass phenomena and it is catering to the tastes of diversity. Who doesn’t like choices when it comes to eating? Whatever the skirmishes across the border are, for now, it’s Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai time!