Growing up in Calcutta, the one thing you develop a hankering for once you move away, is the indo chinese food that is found at almost every street corner. The Hakka technique of cooking is called so because the vast majority of Chinese settlers in Calcutta were from the Hakka region.
There are Chili, schezwan, sweet and sour, american chopsuey and all variations of Chinese food that I’m sure would raise a few eyebrows in the motherland. This is a variation of the typical roadside vegetarian “chowmein” as it is called. Since it is always cooked up right in front of you, it is very easily customised.
You might find it hard to believe but one of my favourite stall guys even serves up his chowmein with chopped cucumber, carrot, beet, onion and a liberal sousing of somewhat orangey looking ketchup. However weird it sounds, it all seems to work amazingly well together. Hope you enjoy cooking and eating these as much as we did.
Vegetarian Hakka Chowmein (serves 4)
Noodles 1 packet -200/250 gms
Ginger garlic finely chopped – 1 tablespoon or little more
Mixed veg cut into thin strips – cabbage, capsicum, carrot, beans, mushrooms, spring onion
Black pepper + salt
Chinese spice mix [ I used Keya but you can pick any you like]
Add salt and oil to boiling water, cook noodles a minute less than instructed on the box. Drain and rinse under cold water. This helps the noodles to stop cooking and not become a soggy mess. Add oil and toss the noodles so they don’t stick together.
Heat oil in a large wok and add chopped ginger garlic, after a couple of minutess add in chopped spring onion followed by carrot, mushroom and beans. This is done in this order to make sure each vegetable gets the cooking time it needs. Fry on high heat for couple of mins and add in cabbage and capsicum. Sauté for another couple of minutes. Add soya sauce, some Chinese spice mix and salt and pepper. Add in cooked noodles and vinegar. Mix well on high flame and serve garnished with the green spring onion.
I used organic apple cider vinegar instead of the regular synthetic one. You can use the white vinegar if it’s more easily accessible or you are better adapted to that taste.
Please let me know how you liked this!