Nothing quite compares to the din and bustle of a busy Indian street. Adding to it are the ever bustling food corners scattered all around the place. I have almost always failed to resist the temptation of giving in to my evil desire of eating some slurpilacious (oh yes…I made that word up!) good food out on the streets! If you ever noticed one of those “Chinese” stalls around, they seem to be so much at ease tossing those noodles high up in the air and catching our attention and the noodles- both with remarkable dexterity. Compounding the desire is the whiff of a complex blend of sauces wafting in through the air, through our nostrils, directly to the tummy.
At times I sorely I miss those tastes, smells and of course, the sounds! But to my pleasure I can always look back and say that I have learnt how to make these and can always satisfy my craving –of course sans the sounds and the dexterous tossing of the noodles.
Almost every country has an exclusive version of its neighboring country’s cuisine. Just like the American version of Mexican food and our very popular Indian take on the Chinese cuisine. It’s impressive and almost unavoidable to notice as to how deep the local flavors seep into the “borrowed” cuisine and create a completely new version of the original, giving birth to a winner in its own right – like the “Indo-Chinese” cuisine.
Out of all the various renditions of the cuisine, Chow Mein stands out in memory because of its frequent demand at our place. Ma has always been a very adventurous cook,so when we kids showed our fondness to this “street’ food..in order to inculcate some good eating habits, she started making it on her own. How, when,why..there’s not much to my memory. This is also special since its one of the first dishes I made completely on my own,while at home. One interesting addition to the noodles at my place were potatoes. A sacrilege to many but when you are home and you get the comforts of the restaurant at your whim and fancy..there’s not much we were allowed to say. We loved the potato version too even though it makes the noodles stick due to its starchiness. So I have dropped potatoes out of our equation here. This is also a great way to sneak in veggies for kids as well as eggs and chicken. Now I guess that could very well be the real reason why my Ma started making it in the first place.
Chili Garlic Chow Mein
Chow Mein refers to stir-fried noodles with veggies and protein of your choice served with Chinese seasonings with the Indian flare. This dish can be made vegetarian too- by substituting egg noodles with rice noodles and opting out of the chicken and eggs.Try adding in tofu or even paneer and you have your dose of protein! This makes a perfect combo with Chili chicken or Vegetable Manchurian to enjoy an Indian and Chinese dinner right in the comforts of your own home.
Serves : 4-5 people
1 packet Chinese egg noodles
1 teaspoon + 1 Tbsp of canola oil
7-8 cloves of garlic
1 medium sized carrot – Julienned
½ Green bell pepper (I use red and yellow for color )
2-3 green chillies
½ cup Cabbage chopped.
1 Onion chopped.
7-8 Green beans – Cut in strips
½ cup Chicken – Cut in cubes
2 nos. eggs
1 Tbsp Dark Soy sauce.
½ Tbsp White vinegar/Chili vinegar.
1 tsp Green chili sauce.
1 tsp Tomato ketchup.
½ tsp freshly crushed black pepper.
Salt to taste.
Disclaimer: This is in no way an advertisement for this brand. These sauces render the same taste to these noodles like our Indian made ones and hence I use these.
This is the most important step in a perfect Chow Mein preparation.
1. Bring about 8 cups of water to boil and boil the noodles till its firm to the bite. Do NOT overcook since it will be stir fried with the veggies too. Drain it in a colander and place it under running cold tap water. Wash it thoroughly. This ensures that the noodles stop cooking any further and excess starch run out.
2. Toss in the noodles with 1 Tbsp of oil to make sure that the noodles do not stick.
3. In the meantime, marinate the chicken pieces with soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper and keep it aside for about 10-15 minutes.
Stir fry - The happy amalgamation:
1. Add 2 Tbsp of oil to the wok and immediately add the chopped garlic. Let the garlic and the oil warm up together. This makes sure that the garlic gets soft and sweet without being burnt.Keep stirring for 1-2 minutes till the garlic turns golden brown.
2. Stir in the marinating chicken at this point and cook at a high flame for about 4 minutes.
3. Then add in the veggies one at a time – starting with the one that takes the most time. Keep stirring the veggies over high flame for about 3-4 minutes. The veggies should still remain crunchy.
4. At this point, toss in the noodles with the veggies. Pour the sauces,salt,pepper and toss well to coat. Keep stirring over high flame. Adjust the sauces as per tastes.
5. Make two thin omelets of the eggs whisked in with salt and pepper. Roll them up and cut in strips. After turning off the stove, add in the egg strips.
Now, this steaming plate of Garlic Chow mein is quite ready to take you to far off lands - beyond memories and happy places.
Happy chowing folks!
P.s : I am submitting this post to -
- Sameena for "Evening Snack recipes"
- Divya for "What's in your lunch box?"
- "Guest Quest" hosted by Amina
- "Kid's Delight: Evening Snacks & Tiffin" hosted by Vardhini and Srivalli.
- "Desi Vidheshi food fest" hosted by Kalyani
- "30 minute meals" hosted by Srivalli