BM# 63: Journey through the Cuisines Week 1: Bengali Cuisine Day 8: H for Hakka Noodles
Can’t believe we are the end of Week 1 in our Journey through Cuisines and final Bengali dish I present to you is in fact a fusion Indo-Chinese dish that has it’s origins in Calcutta/ Kolkatta, the capital city of West Bengal. H for Hakka Noodles was my first and final choice for the letter. Soma @ Ecurry has a lovely post for Hakka noodles where she talks about the Chinese businesses in Calcutta and the amazing Indo-Chinese cuisine that was developed there years ago.
Calcutta (or more recently Kolkatta) is known to be the first place where Chinese migrated in the late 18th and 19th centuries. They brought along their Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques that were adapted to Indian tastes which developed into the popular Indo-Chinese cuisine that we all enjoy today.
Something that I learnt while googling this post is that the name ‘Hakka’ actually comes from Hakka people who migrated to India from Hakka-speaking provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan etc. I had no idea about that, so if you didn’t know then there’s something new for you too 🙂
Ok now coming back to our Hakka Noodles. I made the recipe from Soma’s blog a few times in the past but never blogged about it. The main component of the noodles is the spicy sauce made with garlic, ginger, chili sauce and tomato paste (or ketchup). The other usual Chinese ingredients soy sauce and vinegar also make an appearance here. Soma says she uses dark soy sauce that she gets from Calcutta, but I used regular low-sodium soy sauce and it tasted fine to me.
I added some sauteed tofu to the noodles to add protein to the dish, but feel free to add egg or paneer or anything else to make it more substantial.
1CarrotLarge , shredded or cut into thin matchsticks
1Bell pepper, thinly sliced
1beanscupFrench , sliced
1cupTofu, drained, pressed and cubed
1OnionSmall , thinly sliced
4 ~ 5Green Onions, sliced
For the Sauce:
1Ginger" piece, finely grated
1tbspSriracha chili sauceor other
2tbspsTomato paste Ketchupor
Make the sauce: Blend all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender to a smooth paste. Make sure that the sauce is not too runny.
Cook the noodles as per package directions (put the noodles into boiling water and boil for 3~4 minutes, then drain and spread on a large plate or baking sheet with a drizzle of oil to avoid sticking together.
In a large wok or skillet, heat 2tbsp sesame oil and add the cubed tofu. Cook on medium high heat until golden brown on all sides. Remove onto a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Wipe the wok or skillet and heat 2tbsp sesame oil, add chili flakes and onions. Cook on medium-high heat until the onions turn translucent. Add the ground paste and salt; cook for 2~3 minutes or until the raw taste of the garlic disappears.
Lower the heat and add soy sauce and vinegar. Mix well.
Increase the heat and add the bell pepper, carrot and beans; Cook till the veggies are crisp tender, they should still retain their color and crunch.
Add the shredded cabbage and cook for 1~2 minutes. Finally add the noodles, combine till all the ingredients are well mixed together. Cook for 3~4 minutes for the flavors to mingle. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and serve hot!!
Don't forget to come back to see which state I'm going to visit for Week 2 of Journey through the Cuisines. Here're the Bengali dishes that I cooked up this week: