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Indian Chinese/Hakka cuisine

I have long been a fan of Indian Chinese food. To my understanding, its origins are based on food cooked by Chinese migrants to India designed for the local Indian palate. So it tends to be spicy but also using soy sauce/vinegar and cooked quickly in a wok rather than the more typical Indian way of cooking slowly over a long period of time. Although it's called Hakka cuisine in India, it bears little resemblance to the cuisine of the Hakka Chinese.
 
The occasional dish that you would be seen offered in Indian restaurants in the UK but was never ordered as we were there for the curry! In a few trips to India and Sri Lanka, I experienced it more and enjoyed it immensely but never really sought it out when back in the West. When I lived in Trinidad, there was a restaurant called Hakka which served this kind of food. It was so good that we'd eat there almost every week. Moving back to Houston, I managed to find a couple of restaurants that make this style of food and we occasionally frequent them. 
 
Now that we've been stuck at home I thought I would explore how to cook this stuff at home and have found it surprisingly easy. So I thought I'd share my recipes as I try them out. Please do add your own if you have them.
 
First pick your protein or vegetable and cook. You can grill or fry chicken or other vegetables. I don't worry about trying to get too much flavour as the sauce/gravy has all the punch. I have made this with tofu cubes marinated in some garlic powder, salt and corn starch and oven baked. You can also make a simple batter and coat/deep fry chicken or pork chunks. A common version is to make this with battered fried cauliflower florets or balls/fritters of diced vegetables. 
 
Manchurian gravy
1/2 onion chopped (can use the white parts of spring onions)
1/2 green pepper chopped 
1/4 cup celery chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger chopped
3+ green chillies chopped
5+ cloves of garlic chopped (the more the better)
 
Add oil to a hot wok and sauté onions, green pepper & celery until the onions are translucent (tip: Kroger does a meal starter in the frozen veg section which has chopped onions, pepper and celery so you can just use this). Then add the garlic, ginger and chillies and sauté for a couple seconds. 
 
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs vinegar (any kind, I use Chinese black)
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs chilli paste (I use sambal olek but you can use sriracha)
 
Add the sauces above and turn the heat down to medium and cook for a little bit. Once the ketchup starts to caramelize on the sides of the wok, add 2 cups of stock or water. Mix everything to deglaze the wok and bring back to the boil.
 
2tbs corn starch
3tbs water
 
Make a slurry with the corn starch and water and add little by little (maybe a third at a time), mixing well into the wok resulting in a shiny gravy sauce. Make sure it bubbles, taste and season - I use the low sodium soy sauce and ended up adding a little more. Then toss in your protein/veg, make sure they're coated by the sauce and you're done. Serve with steamed or fried rice.
 
This version which I just had for lunch was made with eggplant and mushrooms.
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The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
Nice!
 
Google some Trinidadian recipes for some more ideas.
 
Siv said:
I have long been a fan of Indian Chinese food. To my understanding, its origins are based on food cooked by Chinese migrants to India designed for the local Indian palate. So it tends to be spicy but also using soy sauce/vinegar and cooked quickly in a wok rather than the more typical Indian way of cooking slowly over a long period of time. Although it's called Hakka cuisine in India, it bears little resemblance to the cuisine of the Hakka Chinese.
 
Try clicking here> HAKKA Recipes
 

Siv

Extreme Member
Last night's recipe was chilli "chicken" - not real chicken but chickwheat (fake chicken made with wheat gluten and chickpeas). Anyway, the process is the same either way.
 
Batter
3 tbs flour
3 tbs corn starch
6 tbs water
pinch salt
pinch pepper
pinch smoked paprika
 
Mix the batter and coat your "chicken" in the batter. I pan fried mine but you can deep fry if you want it extra crispy. I got a nice brown colour on mine.
 
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Sauce part 1
1/2 onion diced
3 green chillies diced
3 tbs garlic/ginger paste (or chopped garlic & ginger - I was feeling lazy)
 
Heat some oil in a wok and add the aromatics and fry until fragrant
 
Sauce part 2
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp vinegar
2 tbs chilli sauce
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs corn starch
 
Mix the part 2 sauce in a bowl then add to the wok and cook a little. Once it starts to stick on the sides, add half a cup of water to loosen it up and then bung in your chicken. I had some cooked asparagus in the fridge so I shoved that in there too.
 
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Serve over steamed rice and garnish with spring onion greens!
 
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Siv

Extreme Member
ironoxide said:
Been hankering for the Rendang for forever since Covid hit but can’t find a good recipient for it.. anytime I try to make anything but Italian it never comes out like I am envisioning in my head..
 
My wife is Malaysian so we do rendang on special occasions. It's a bit of a pain, much like many Malaysian dishes, solely because many of the ingredients are not readily available. To counter this, we've developed a number of tricks/shortcuts which make life much easier. Even then, it's still a process! Some of our tricks:
 
Kerisik - you can find frozen grated coconut in some Indian stores. They're frozen in a thin flat bag so they're easy to tuck away in the freezer. I defrost the whole pack and then toast in a wok over a medium heat for a long time. Eventually you'll end up with golden brown toasted coconut flakes. Then I put them in a blender and blitz - it'll turn into a thick paste as the oil is released from the coconut. From one pack, you'll have enough kerisik for two rendangs so I put half in a zip-loc and freeze it.
 
The spice paste or sambal is a typical South East Asian staple but finding lemongrass and galangal can be a pain. So what we do is make a huge lot of sambal and freeze it in portion size packs. And instead of shallots, I just use large red onions. Whatever the recipe says, multiply to make lots and freeze. Just bung everything in a blender and blend the snot out of it - make sure you blend it well as finding stringy bits of lemon grass can be unpleasant in the final dish.
 
Tamarind is another pain thing to find. We stock Indira's Tamarind Concentrate at home. We can find it in our local Indian shop, it's easy to use, not that messy and keeps forever. The only downside is that it's a little pricey.
 
Kafir lime leaves - another pain to find and honestly, we just leave them out.
 
Rasa Malaysia is a favourite for finding good S.E.Asian recipes - here's their rendang: https://rasamalaysia.com/beef-rendang-recipe-rendang-daging/
 
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