Chinese cuisine is loved in many countries in the world and also in India. In India, Chinese cuisine has been transformed, adapted and innovated by Indian chefs.
Chinese dishes have assumed a totally new facet in the form of Indian Chinese cuisine. Chow Mein, Chilli Chicken, Chicken Manchurian– the list goes on. They confuse you whether items are Indian or Chinese.
Desi Chinese as it is known goes back a hundred years, created by the few Chinese people from Hakka region who settled in Kolkata in the last 19th century. These versions of Chines foods have tickled the Indian palate in terms of new creations like Chinese Idlis and Chinese Bhelpuri.
The fusion type of Chinese food bears very little semblance to authentic Chinese cuisine. Just like the differences in foods of various regions of India, Chinese food also differs as per the regions. While Sichuan food is spicy, Shangon- tangy and crispy, Cantonese food is sweet.
Chinese use special ingredients like watercress, bok Choy, tofu, etc. Indian Chinese is based on items like vegetables, corn, black pepper, soy sauce and vinegar which are dressed with sauces like the Black bean, Oyster, Sweet and sour etc. Desi Chinese is ruling the day with its fiery flavours.
Here are some main items of Desi Chinese:
- Chilli chicken: Made of a marinade of soya sauce, this chicken item is a great starter. Chicken is pasted with ginger, garlic, chilli, etc. and sautéed with green chillies and onions. The dry version is deep fried. Versions made with paneer (cottage cheese) and sea foods are also popular.
- Chow Mein: It is basically a portion of boiled noodles covered with greens, soya sauce and scrambled eggs. In India, it is really spicy, pan fried and a popular dish, cooked in homes.
- Spring rolls: In Chinese, they are called as Chun Juan. They are in reality, Cantonese style dumplings, cooked for welcoming the spring season. In India, they are fried golden, smothered with juliennes of vegetables and served as snacks for parties.
- Szechwan: Ridiculously spicy, fiery red and flavour packed- Indians love Szechwan sauce which they add to almost anything from gravies and bhelpuris to fried rice and noodles. This amazing sauce is made of plenty of garlic, shallots and red chillies.
- Darsaan: These are flat egg noodles which Chefs chop into strips, deep fry, coat with honey and sprinkle with sesame seeds. This may be served with ice-cream. Thus, this Chinese dessert is not really Chinese at all.
- American Chop Suey: A regular favourite, these are made of noodles as a side dish, and smothered with greens such as capsicum and cabbage, shrimp or chicken, and a sweet chilli-garlic sauce. Top with some crispy noodles and one is ready to go.
- Date pancakes: It is only in India that you find a Chinese meal ending with fried layers of dough, which has a date stuffing and topped with vanilla ice-cream.
- Fried rice: It is a winning dish in the Indian subcontinent. In China, they have a steamed version, but in India, it is greasy and spiced with green chillies, garam masala and red chilli powder.
- Chicken Manchurian: It uses batter fried chicken. Other Manchurian recipes can use items like prawns, paneer, soya and mixed vegetables. They are easy to make and simply delicious. This dish is made of chicken pieces sautéed in chilli and ginger garlic based thick gravy.
These are some popular DesiChinese dishes. Check online on how to make chicken Manchurian and other recipes.