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Hakka noodles: My way

When you walk into an Indo-Chinese restaurant in India, Hakka noodles are always on the menu, and every table orders a plate. It is a simple preparation of noodles and vegetables, occasionally made with ground meat as an add-on. The noodles are thin and plain, barely flavoured and served as an accompaniment for the Sichuan dishes that are ordered alongside this dish.

Triggered by Mao Zedong and the First World War, the Hakka Chinese community migrated from China to the ports in Calcutta and Madras. They settled in Tangrain East-Kolkata, where they created their own little Chinatown. Today, after many decades, there are around 2000 odd Chinese-Indians who still reside in Tangra. Hence, the legacy of the Indian version of Hakka noodles started from here.

This is my version, which is slightly more flavourful. The main changes are the addition of a touch of soy sauce, a flash of chilli flakes, and a teaspoon of vinegar that brightens the noodles. It is a simple dish to make and will always be loved on the table.

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Ingredients:

6 oz. Hakka noodles

8 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil


3 tablespoons oil

5-6 garlic cloves, minced

6 scallion whites, finely chopped

1/2 green pepper, cut into thin strips

1/2 large carrot, finely julienned

1/2 cup Napa cabbage

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

6 scallion greens


Bring the water to a boil and add the noodles and salt. Cook as per the manufacturer's timings minus 1 minute for al dante. Drain and rinse out under cold water to prevent the noodles from cooking further and getting sticky. Toss well with the olive oil to coat the noodles and prevent them from sticking and forming lumps.


Heat the oil on medium-low in a wok. Add the garlic and scallion whites and fry for 1 minute till the scallions are soft.


Add the pepper, carrots, Napa cabbage, sugar, salt, pepper and chilli flakes and cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are partially cooked. You do not want them soggy; they should still retain their crunch.


Add the noodles to the wok, along with the soy sauce and vinegar. Toss well, mixing the soy sauce evenly into the noodles.


Serve immediately, garnished with the scallion greens.


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