Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Veg Chowmein

A good bowl of chowmein is my weakness. I am humbled to have grown up in meri dilli or Delhi where Indo-Chinese food is available everywhere in its most authentic form. Chowmein or noodles is the main flower in the beautiful bouquet of Indo-Chinese cuisine, which is hugely popular in India.

It is very typical of Delhi roadsides to have food carts, food trucks or vans selling Indo-Chinese food such as manchurian, chopsuey, hakka noodles - all Chinese dishes with an Indian tadka.

Chowmein or noodles are quick and easy to make and very nutritious. The more the vegetables the better it tastes and is healthy too. It is any kid's favourite meal and a much healthier and nutritious alternative to the packet noodles advertised on the television that claim to be ready in 2 minutes.

Of course, we love a piping hot plate of Maggi once in a while.

Since I started making this veg noodles at home I got rid of the guilt associated with cooking 2 minute meals which are barely nutritious.

I love loading up my chowmein with different and colourful vegetables such as carrots, red, yellow and green bell peppers, cabbage, onions and spring onions. Sometimes my noodles also include mushrooms, broccoli, baby corn and sweet corn, if these veggies are in my fridge.

Little M is the reason I started cooking chowmein at home and the other reason is that in the UAE it is difficult to find authentic taste of dilliwali chowmein. Since my little boy so loves the noodles I hardly put chili sauce or green chili as I want him to enjoy and relish it. Sometimes after separating his share or packing enough for his school lunch box, I put in red chili sauce or slit green chilies to give it that dilliwala spicy tadka.

Difficulty: Easy
Prepping time: 15 min
Cooking time: 15 min


2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (I used finely chopped)
2-3 tbsp oil
3-4 stalks of spring onion, vertically sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/2 green capsicum, sliced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp red chili powder
spring onion greens, for garnish
1 packet of noodles
2 tbsp red chili sauce/hot sauce (optional)
1/2 orange and yellow bell peppers, sliced (optional)


Before you put on the flame make sure that each ingredient is on the shelf including chopped or shredded veggies, sauces and seasonings. I think preparing the ingredients and getting them ready beforehand decreases stress, burns or accidents, and that way the cooking becomes more organised.

The chowmein is going to take a big wok and a medium to high flame and for you to keep stirring to avoid veggies to burn or become mushy. We want our veggies to be soft yet crunchy!

So first prepare all ingredients as chowmein is a quick dish and you will need to quickly add all ingredients to the stir fry process.

Boiling the noodles

1) In a pot put lots of water. Add 1 tbsp olive oil (or any other cooking oil) and a pinch of salt. Let it boil and then add the noodles. It would roughly take 2-4 minutes for the noodles to cook. But its best to refer the packet and prepare according to the kind of noodles you are using.

We need to cook the noodles half way to avoid them becoming mushy or sticky. Strain the noodle in a colander after it is half way boiled, and I also take the colander of noodles and strain it under running tap water to avoid the noodles from sticking. At this step I like to add 1 tbsp of oil to the noodles and mix well without breaking them. This ensures the noodles aren't sticky.

Set aside the boiled and strained noodles.

Stir frying the veggies:

You may use all of the veggies mentioned above or you may just do with onion, spring onion, carrot and capsicum. Make sure to add half the quantity of each vegetable when you are using many different veggies.

1) Start by heating up oil in a wide non-stick wok. On a medium to high flame, add ginger-garlic paste. Stir fry until the raw smell goes. (I used finely chopped ginger-garlic)

2) Add spring onions. Stir.

3) Onion slices need to be added without over cooking spring onions. Stir fry on medium to high flame.

3) Add in the carrots. I used both Indian red carrot and the orange carrot. :-) Stir fry.

4) Put the sliced bell peppers, cabbage. Stir fry.

On a low flame cover the wok for 2 min for the veggies to soften in steam.

5) Remove the lid and stir on high flame to remove moisture. Add in soy sauce, black pepper powder, red chili powder, salt to taste. Stir well.

6) Finally add the noodles and 1 tbsp vinegar. Using two kadchhi or spoons mix the noodles with the veggies tadka with a light hand. Be careful not to break the noodles!

Garnish with chopped spring onion greens and serve hot.

These can be eaten just like that or even accompanied with this Chili Tofu Gravy recipe or veg or chicken manchurian.

How do you like your noodles or chowmein?

Do you like it spicy like me and like to add in red chili sauce and lots of slit green chilies too?

Tell me all that is running in your mind about this recipe of chowmein!

I would love to read what you think!

Thanks for reading! :-)

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