Monday, July 18, 2011

Vegetable Hakka Noodles And Chilli Paneer

Every now and then, I have this craving for Indo-Chinese and sadly there are just one or two places in the bay area where I can get something very close to what you get in India. So at times, I slog it out in the kitchen to recreate some of my favorite dishes. The first ever taste of noodles I had was from a Restaurant in Hyderabad near my home called Reddy's and they used to pack these awesome hakka moodles with a salan-like gravy. I know you are probably thinking gravy with noodles??? But trust me, this was the tastiest accompaniment to the noodles and it tasted even better when reheated the next day. Sadly that place closed down and I have never found an equivalent of it since then. I didn't fathom it back then but that was my first taste of fusion food :) . Another tasty haunt for indo chinese is the road side stalls where they cook up the food with fire rising from the wok. The downside to these places is that you never really know what you are eating and the upside is that whatever is on your plate will please your taste buds. My initiative of cooking Indo-Chinese food started with my desire to get my mom to taste some of it since she is a hard core vegetarian and very apprehensive about trying chinese food. So I started with fried rice and vegetable manchurian and was delighted when she ate it and loved it. The recipe I have in this post for Chilli Paneer was an outcome of a weekend I spent at my friend Renuka's place in Chicago. She introduced me to mushroom soy sauce which is a thick and rich variety of soy sauce and adds wonderful flavor to all chinese food. It is high in sodium but then you cannot afford to pay much attention to the sodium and oil content of Indo-Chinese food if you don't want it bland. I have used this sauce for making alu 65 with tater tots as my friend did and it is a very easy and tasty dish to make for a pot luck. The chilli paneer version with this sauce is easy as well and a perfect accompaniment to any fried rice or noodle dish that you whip up. I could go on and on about Indo-Chinese food but I should probably stop here so that I have more to write next time:)

Vegetable Hakka Noodles Recipe:

  1. Hakka Egg Noodles - 1 packet, boiled and strained (I get this pack in the India store)
  2. Ginger - 2 inch piece chopped finely
  3. Garlic - 10 cloves, finely chopped
  4. Carrot - 1 cup, cut into thin long strips
  5. Beans - 1 cup cut diagonally and thin
  6. Cabbage - 1 cup, chopped long
  7. Spring onion - 1 cup
  8. Salt
  9. Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
  10. Vinegar - 1/t tsp
  11. Mushroom soy sauce - 1 tsp
  12. MSG or ajinomoto - 1/4 tsp
  13. Red chilli flakes - 1/4 tsp
  14. Oil - 1 tbsp
  1. Heat oil in a wok and when it gets very hot, add the ginger and garlic.
  2. Once the ginger and garlic are fried, add the sprint onions and cabbage.
  3. Saute on high heet for a min and then add the carrot and beans.
  4. Once the veggies are cooked slightly (don't let them overcook), add the noodles, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, msg, vinegar, soy sauce and mix well.
  5. Let the noodles cook on high heat for a couple of mins and they are done.

Chilli Paneer Recipe:

  1. Oil - 1 tsp
  2. Ginger - 2 inch piece, finely chopped
  3. Garlic - 10 cloves, finely chopped
  4. Spring onion - 1 cup, chopped
  5. Jalapenos - 2 , sliced diagonally
  6. Paneer cubes - 1.5 cup
  7. Mushroom soy sauce - 1/2 cup or more as needed

  1. Heat oil in a wok and when really hot, add the ginger and garlic. Let it cook for a couple of mins.
  2. Add the spring onions and paneer and stir fry until the paneer browns lightly and starts turning crisp.
  3. Add the jalapenos and cook for a couple of mins. Add the mushroom soy sauce and cook for 2 mins.
  4. Add more soy sauce if you want a little sauce in the dish. Garnish with some sprint onion and enjoy hot.

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