Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Indianized Chinese Dishes We Can’t Live Without

I think the most relished food in a family restaurant is going to be none other than Chinese food. One of the most astonishing things about this country is how easily Chinese cuisine is available in each and every corner of it. Likewise, Chinese cuisine has become an ultimate favourite meal for most of us. You can step into any sort of restaurant be it from a beach shack in Goa to a south Indian joint in Karnataka to a fast food restaurant in Mumbai, it won’t be difficult for you to find a whole part of the menu solely devoted to Chinese dishes. And this isn’t even close to the countless Chinese restaurants and stalls that are so readily available in this country. You can also find several Chineserestaurants in Ahmedabad to satiety your cravings for Chinses food.

We Indians are so much in love with the type of Chinese food we relish that if we were to step outside of the country, you and I would not be able to recognize the authentic Chinese food from a local takeout outlet. Pretty much like our own version of ‘French toast’ and burgers and sandwiches, the type of Chinese dishes we consume comes with a blanket of our cultural ingredients, with only a few totally authentic things thrown in. And yet, it is the tastiest thing we could have eaten.

So the roots of this Indianized Chinese cuisine go all the way to Kolkata. It is known to have started somewhere in the late 19th century. Rumours have it that some kind of Hakka Chinese emigrated for work in the ports of Kolkata and consequently, he established the country’s first ever Chinatown. And gradually, the Indo-Chinese variation in food caught on popularity as it began ramping up with delicious Indian spices. Here are some of the basic Chinese dishes you’ll find in every Chinese restaurant in the country.

1. Chicken Lollipops
Chicken lollipops are one of the most preferred Chinses starters by non-vegetarians. It is an extremely popular appetizer, which consists of a chicken wing that has been split in half. By doing so, the bone of the chicken forms a very convenient handle. The chicken is then marinated in a mixture of hot spices consisting of chillies, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Most of the restaurants make use of red food colouring to give it a proper colour, and then it is deep fried. Believe it or not, this concept of chicken lollipops is miles away from what the actual Chinese cuisine offers.

2. Gobi Manchurian
If non-vegetarians have chicken lollipops, then vegetarians have their beloved Gobi Manchurian. India has an extensive portion of vegetarians. So in order to inculcate some veggies, which is none other than cauliflower, the Indo-Chinses cuisine cult has brought to your rescue the Gobi Manchurian. Manchurian is the most signature Indianized Chinese preparation, however, you will be disheartened to know that no other country has ever heard of it. The dish is basically nothing but the florets of cauliflower, which is deep fried and coated in a batter of refined flour. Then these florets are simmered in a gravy of onions, green chillies, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and various other delicious sauces. Ideally, this curry-like dish is served with rice or noodles. For starters purposes, there also exists a “dry” version of this spiced fried cauliflower, which is ideally served with schezwan sauce in the form of an appetizer.

3. Manchow soup
Manchow soup is the most popular soup served in the whole of India. It is a kind of hot-and-sour riff that you can order in most of the fast food restaurants. So the vegetable manchow soup is usually made with a thickened vegetable broth. A non-veg variant is also available for this dish, and it uses the broth of chicken. Both these versions are flavoured with some dark soy sauce, garlic and ginger, some spring onion greens, carrots and cabbage. It is served with fried noodles.

5. Chilli Paneer
This iconic Indian-Chinese dish consists of cottage cheese cubes, popularly known as paneer, which is coated in a thick paste of garlic, ginger and refined flour, which is then deep fried. After this, the paneer cubes are sautéed with onions, bell peppers and green chillis. This is a vegetarian version of the dish. For ardent non-veg lovers, the restaurants have replaced paneer with seafood, chicken and sometimes beef as well as, depending on where you are ordering it.

6. Hakka noodles
Noodles are one of the most popular dishes of an Indian Chinese meal. It is often called chowmein on the streets. The dish needs no explaining. People from all age groups know what all falls in a platter full of noodles. There are many varieties of it, both in veg as well as non-veg; they include, schezwan noodles, chicken noodles, egg noodles, chilli garlic noodles, etc. And yet again, the concept of ‘noodles’ all over the world is extremely different from what is served in India.

These are the most basic dishes that you will find in every Chinese Restaurant Ahmedabad has in store for you. Enjoy your lovely meal!


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