Indochinese Cuisine is an Indian version of Chinese Cuisine from the neighboring country of China. Indochinese Cuisine is also referred to as “Desi Chinese Cuisine” or “Hakka Chinese Cuisine” in India. Indochinese cuisine can also be termed as an adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques according to Indian taste buds with variety of dishes and Indian fusions to offer. Indochinese Cuisine is very much different from the actual Chinese Cuisine where most of the vegetables are diced, shredded because small pieces tend to cook faster than large pieces. In Chinese Cuisine stir fry method is a common technique in practice to retain nutritional values, flavors and colors of the vegetables.
Chinese Cuisine in India has been originated from a small group of Chinese Hakka community (Han Chinese community) people who migrated to Kolkata city a few centuries ago. This community has made a fusion of Chinese Cuisine with Indian spices and cooking techniques to cater to Indian taste buds. Later this fusion cuisine came to be known as Indochinese Cuisine / Desi Chinese Cuisine / Hakka Chinese Cuisine. In this cuisine many of the dishes are served in both dry form or with a vegetable gravy served liberally. For desserts this Indochinese Cuisine offers date pancakes, honey fried noodles with ice cream and some sweet dumplings. Today Indochinese Cuisine has become an integral part of Indian Cuisines and spread across the country with regional flavors and dishes. Many regional dishes have formed a fusion with Indochinese Cuisine and local cuisine to create a new local flavor. Nowadays Indochinese Cuisine is being served in almost all locations of India either be it a high class restaurant, mid level restaurant, street food stalls or moving carts etc. This cuisine is also growing its popularity in western countries like United States of America and Canada for the fact that many Indians are settled there craving for Indian version of Chinese Cuisine.
In original Chinese Cuisine there are many varieties of noodles used to make dishes. Each of the kind has its own making and flavors used to suit the dish on its best. A few varieties of noodles are ramen noodles, udon noodles, soba noodles, somen noodles, egg noodles, glass noodles, rice noodles (thin, medium and wide varieties) and vermicelli. In India sevai (semiya / rice vermicelli) and nooputt (string hoppers) are videly used since ages to make traditional dishes like payasam (semiya kheer) and idiyappam. Here other varieties of sevai are also made like santhakai made with ragi, wheat etc. In India, a prepacked noodle brand called Maggi from Nestle has become an integral part of Indian Cuisine across the cultures prevailing in India. However in recent years many brands like nissin top ramen noodles, knorr soupy noodles, patanjali noodles, chings chinese noodles, sunfeast yippie noodles, horlicks foodles / noodles, nissin scoopies and wai wai noodles by CG Global have gained popularity gradually in many regional areas.
Some commonly used ingredients of Indochinese Cuisine are:
- soy / soya sauce refers to a liquid sauce extracted by fermenting soy beans with aspergillus (a kind of fungus)
- tofu refers to a kind of Chinese cottage cheese made out of soy beans
- ajinomoto refers to sodium mono glutamate powder of cooking grade
A few popular dishes of Indochinese Cuisine are:
- manchurian refers to vegetable dumplings deep fried and coated with spices, onions, capsicum, chillies, ginger and garlic
- fried rice refers to rice just fried in pan with little oil and vegetable along with spices
- american choupsey refers to fried noodles served with gravy of tomato and vegetables, generally sweet and sour
- chowmein refers to pan fried boiled noodles topped with vegetables, chilli sauces, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic
- spring rolls refers to roll dumplings golden fried with fillings of boiled noodles, grated raw vegetables and spices
- shanghai rolls refers to roll dumplings golden fried with fillings of cooked vegetables blended with cashews and szechwan
- szechwan refers to a spicy sauce made of red chillies, onions, garlic and ginger
- darsaan refers to flattened egg noodles cut into strips, deep fried, coated with honey and sesame seeds
- noodles refers to boiled noodles sauted with vegetables, spices and sauces
- manchow soup refers to soy based spicy vegetable soup, flavored with ginger and garlic, then loaded with grated carrots, scallions, celery and finally topped with some fried noodles for crunch