March 03, 2022
Whenever I land in Delhi, the first thing I want to eat after my aunt's homemade parathas is Indo Chinese food, the fusion of two of my favorite cuisines. It's a heady mix of Chinese cooking techniques with Indian ingredients and amped up flavor profiles. The unique cuisine began when Hakka-speaking Chinese immigrated to the eastern Indian city of Kolkata towards the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century. The development of this cuisine is largely credited to a chef named Nelson Wang who was the son of Chinese immigrants living in Kolkata. I will share many more recipes with you, but first let's start with a basic fried rice. Notice that it's not Indian spices that necessarily make it Indo Chinese - but the combination of vegetables traditionally used in Indian cuisine. The cabbage, green bell pepper, peas, and green Thai chiles give this dish a distinctly Indian quality to it. Try any vegetable you want - I have even had this with white potatoes and cut corn.
Spice Corner: Take note that an important spice in this dish is white pepper. If you are most used to black pepper, white pepper may confuse you. Don't let it. Black and white pepper come from the same berry of the same plant, but are processed differently. You get black pepper when unripened berried are picked and dried. For white pepper, the berries are allowed to fully ripen and then are soaked for 10 days to start fermentation. The outer skin is then removed. This gives white pepper a different taste profile than its black counterpart. Some say it tastes milder than black pepper, but I'd say it's slightly sharper and mustier. I absolutely love it. It's a key element to many Chinese dishes, including hot and sour soup and many fried rice recipes. It's very easy to find and is absolutely worth tracking down.
Indo Chinese Fried Rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, minced
1-3 green Thai chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/3 cup diced carrot
2/3 cup diced green bell pepper
1/3 cup sliced green beans
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
3 cups day-old jasmine rice (I prefer Three Horses brand)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1. In a heavy, wide pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
2. Add the fresh chiles, carrot, bell pepper, green beans, and peas. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the cabbage. Stir and cook for 1 minute until the vegetables soften slightly but are still crunchy.
4. Add the rice. Stir until everything is mixed.
5. Add the black and white pepper, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and scallions. Stir and cook another 2 minutes. Serve hot.
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Want to watch my whole Facebook Live class complete with all the fun comments? Check it out by clicking here and go to the video that is 34 minutes and 23 seconds from Sunday, March 6, 2022.
Thank you to our sponsors Three Horses Rice and Kikkoman.
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November 28, 2023