Hakka noodles and lollipop chicken: Fatt Pundit’s Indo-Chinese street food recipes | Chinese food and drink

Gobi Manchurian (deep-fried cauliflower)

This famous dish was invented by Nelson Wang, a third-generation chef born in Kolkata to Chinese parents. He made it with chicken, but about a third of India’s population is vegetarian, so this variation made with cauliflower, or gobiwas soon a firm favourite, and is a must-have at street stalls and Chinese restaurants across India today.

Prep 20 mins
cooking 20 mins
serves 4

400g cauliflowercut into medium-sized florets
Vegetable or sunflower oilfor frying

For the beater
5 tbsp self-raising flour
5 cornflour
Saltto taste

For the sauce
2-3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
4-5 garlic clovespeeled and finely chopped
5cm piece fresh gingerunpeeled, finely chopped
2-3 green chilliesfinely chopped, to taste
50g finely chopped white onion
25g spring onionstrimmed and finely chopped
ยฝ tsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
50g fresh coriander leavesfinely chopped
ยฝ tbsp cornflour slurry (ie, cornflour mixed to a paste with a little water)

Put the cauliflower in a bowl, add the flour, cornflour, salt and 150-200ml cold water to make a thick batter, and mix so the florets are well coated.

Set a wok over a high heat, add sufficient oil for deep-frying, then, working in batches, carefully lower in some of the battered florets, separating them with tongs if they stick together. Fry for two to three minutes, until lightly crisp โ€“ do not let the florets brown, because they will be fried again later โ€“ then drain on kitchen towel and repeat with the remaining battered cauliflower. Turn off the heat, but leave the oil in the wok; you may need to scoop out the odd bit of batter.

Now for the sauce. Heat a second wok, add the oil, then stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chillies for about a minute, until slightly fragrant. Add both onions, stir-fry for another two minutes, then add both soy sauces and the chopped coriander, and stir to combine. Add 20ml cold water, leave to bubble, stirring, for two or three minutes, then stir in the cornflour slurry and cook, still stirring, for a minute or two, until the sauce thickens.

Reheat the oil in the first wok, then, again working in batches, deep-fry the cauliflower again for 30 seconds to a minute, until crisp and golden brown. Lift out of the hot oil, drain on kitchen towel, then stir into the sauce, so it covers every floret โ€“ work quickly, or the cauliflower will go soggy and lose its crunch.

Serve hot garnished with more chopped cilantro.

Vegetable Hakka noodles

This humble egg noodle dish is named after the Hakka community who settled in Tangra, Kolkata’s Chinatown.

Prep 15 mins
cooking 10 minutes
serves 2-3, as a side

400g egg noodles
5-6 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil

100g sliced โ€‹โ€‹white onion
100g carrots
trimmed and julienned
100g cabbagejulienned
50g green beanscut into 2ยฝcm pieces
100g beansprouts
1ยฝ tbsp dark soy
1ยฝ cups
bsp light soy sauce
to taste
2 spring onionstrimmed, green parts only sliced โ€‹โ€‹very thinly (save the whites for another use)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in the noodles, cook for two minutes less than it says on the packet, so they’re al dente, then drain and refresh under running cold water.

Heat the oil in a wok, add the white onion and stir-fry for two minutes, until light brown. Add the carrots, cabbage, beans and beansprouts, and stir-fry, tossing continuously, for one to two minutes. Do not overcook the vegetables or they will lose their crunch. Loosen the noodles if need be, so they are not all clumped together (just rinse them in warm water), then add to the wok with both soy sauces and stir-fry on a high heat until the noodles are evenly colored and coated in sauce and everything is well mixed together. Taste for salt, adjust as necessary, then transfer to a platter, scatter over the sliced โ€‹โ€‹spring onions and serve.

Lollipop chicken

A chicken lollipop is just a winglet that’s been โ€œfrenchedโ€, meaning the meat is pulled to the end of the bone so looks a bit like a lollipop. It’s probably the most recognized and widely available appetizer in Indian-Chinese restaurants in India, with each region using its own favorite spices in the marinade.

Prep 10 minutes
marinade 30 mins
cooking 15 mins
Makes 12

12 chicken lollipops (ie, French-trimmed winglets)
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
to taste
2 eggs
lightly beaten
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
tbsp dark soy sauce
Vegetable or sunflower oilfor deep-frying
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp kashmiri chill
i powder
ยฝ tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp chopped green chilli
65g plain flour
3 tbsp cornflour
2 spring onions
trimmed, green parts sliced โ€‹โ€‹thinly (save the whites for another use), to garnish

Put the chicken lollipops, ginger-garlic paste, salt, eggs, half the crushed peppercorns and soy sauce in a bowl, toss to coat, then leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put enough oil in a hot deep-sided wok or pan on a medium heat. In a second bowl, mix the chopped ginger and garlic with the chilli powder, garam masala, green chilli, plain flour, cornflour, salt and remaining crushed peppercorns. Stir in 100ml water, then add more water bit by bit until you have a thick batter.

Once the oil is medium hot, dip the marinated lollipops in the batter to coat, then deep-fry in batches for eight to 10 minutes, until the lollipops are cooked through and golden (they should float to the top when done). Drain on kitchen paper, then transfer to a platter, garnish with the spring onion greens and serve piping hot.



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