Hakka Noodles have been used in recipes for ages, but no one other than those who have lived in India would know about a whole new genre of fusion Asian cooking called Indo-Chinese, that exists in the northern parts of India. It has become a popular cuisine even in the US. Packed with a flavorful combination of Asian and Indian spices, this is one style of cooking that chefs around the world would love to try! In fact, I was amazed when an Italian cook made some delicious Indo-Chinese Hakka Noodles for us at the Roman airport – it shows how versatile cooking is, and how it ties people around the globe without any boundaries! If you love experimenting with food, try this recipe for Spicy Hakka Noodles, which will be a welcome change to a traditional Noodle or Pasta recipe.
Ready-to-use Schezwhuan sauce packets are available in all grocery stores in the Asian foods section. I have used it before and though its good, there’s nothing like making your own fresh sauce, and as this one is really simple, I’ve added the recipe below. Sherry adds a nice flavor to the Schezwuan sauce, but if you don’t have it, don’t worry; you can omit it without compromising much. And try using fresh ginger and garlic instead of the ready-made paste, because none of these can come close to the taste of fresh ginger. You can substitute red chili powder for cayenne pepper.
The sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Serves 4 adults
For Schezwuan Sauce
6 garlic cloves – minced
1/4 cup fresh ginger – peeled and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tspn hot chili oil (just warm some oil and add red pepper flakes or chopped green chillies to it and leave so for 3-4 hours)
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tspn ground cayenne pepper
1 pound Asian Hakka noodles
1 red bell pepper thinlu sliced
4 scallions – sliced diagonally (white and green parts)
1/2 cup red onion – thinly sliced
1/4 cup spring onions – just the greens
2 sp salt (or adjust to taste)
2 tbsp soy sauce
Making the Sauce
Add the garlic and ginger in a food processor; Add the vegetable oil, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil, and ground peppers. Puree the sauce to make a smooth paste.
Making the Noodles
Add a splash of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook the noodles as directed on the package. Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with i tbsp oil so that the noodles don’t stick to one another.
Now take a wok, add 4 tbsp oil, and saute the chopped onions and bell peppers till they become soft and glazed. Add the scallions and toss well. Add salt and 5-6 tbsp soy sauce (adjust to your taste), then add the prepared Schezwuan sauce and turn off the heat. Gently pour the sauce over the noodles while still hot. Garnish with some chopped spring onion greens and serve hot!
This is a cherished family recipe, which has undergone a series of improvisations from the time it started out as a simple Hakka Noodles recipe that my Mom learnt in one of her Asian cooking classes, to this ultimate recipe which I developed, adding in the multitude of flavors and spices. Starting from 1996, it has come a long way, and I’m sure this Hakka Noodle Stir-Fry will be find a welcome place on your dinner table too!