Hakka noodles wok tossed with vegetables, sauces and chilli garlic prawns is just the Indo Chinese version of the Chinese dish that you will absolutely love!
If you follow me on any of the social media platforms, you know that my love for Indo Chinese food (checkout Honey soy chicken) and prawns is known to everyone and I never let go of any chance to share my love for both! Plus, Mr husband says there is definitely this thing about Bengalis having some connection with Indo Chinese food as 2 out of 3 of our food takeouts in a month always end up being Indo Chinese! So I had to share one of my favourites – Hakka noodles tossed with chilli garlic prawns.
If you are vegetarian, you can always skip the prawns and simply just give the Hakka noodles a try. I promise they are just as good! And for the greater good I have divided the recipe into two sections – how to make the hakka noodles and how to make the chilli garlic prawns, however I make both of them at a go in the same skillet (ya ya ! I am too lazy to use too many woks and pans!)
Perfect for a quick dinner idea, this popular dish can be found served in almost every restaurant in India and the spicier and saucier version is a popular favourite in roadside food stalls/ food trucks. I don’t claim that the recipe of Hakka noodles by any chance is an authentic dish. It is just Indian version of its counterpart but suited best to almost all kinds of taste buds.
While I have used some of my favourite vegetables in making Vegetable Hakka noodles, you can add so many things that you want to the dish like bok choy, mushrooms, eggs, chicken, pork etc and the variations are endless. I, with my bias towards prawns, have added chilli garlic prawns to the noodles to make it my bowl of happiness!
What is Hakka?
‘Hakka’ or also known as ‘Hakka Han’ are an ethnic group of Han Chinese people who migrated from northern China and settled in Southern China for various socio-political reasons. They have their own language called ‘Hakka’ and like many other ethnic communities in China have a distinct and interesting food culture.
What is Hakka noodles?
There are many recipes, styles and food inspired by the Hakka Han culture like Hakka Stir fry, Hakka Fried rice etc and Hakka Noodles is just one of them. So Hakka noodles is a style in which the noodles are stir fried and tossed with sauces in the Hakka cuisine.
If you already don’t know, a large community of Hakka Han migrated also to India and settled in many places including Tangra in Calcutta/ Kolkata and the influence of Indian and Hakka culture is very well seen in the famous Indo Chinese dishes that is still served there. Having spent a considerably large time in Kolkata, I have first hand experienced the best version of Hakka noodles in few of the very famous and oldest restaurants in Tangra. Even now you would see third generation of families using the same family recipes to serve finger licking good food.
Anyways coming back to noodles, noodles can be of different types, some of them are :
a) Egg Noodles
b) Rice noodles
c) Soba (Buckwheat noodles)
f) Rice vermicelli
I have used regular egg noodles for this recipe.
How to boil noodles without making them sticky?
I know! Boiling noodles can be tricky and if not optimally done can ruin your dish. So here’s some quick instructions on how to boil noodles:
- In a large pot or deep base pan, boil water (for every 100 grams of noodles use 4 cups of water) on medium flame.
- To this add 1 tsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt and mix well.
- Open the noodles pack and if required break the noodles in half to fit it into the pan which you are using for boiling them.
- Now add the noodles to the boiling water and cook it for few minutes while stirring continuously so that they don’t stick.
- Check whether the noodles are done by pricking the noodles with a fork.
- Switch off the heat when almost done but not fully done (they will be cooked again when tossed in your actual recipe).
- Using a colander, drain the water from the noodles and rinse them again under running water to remove the starch from the noodles to reduce the stickiness of the noodles.
- Drain all excess water properly, add another 1/2 tsp of oil (to avoid the noodles to get sticky) and mix well. Set it aside to cool at room temperature in the colander so that any excess water drains out before you finally use noodles in your recipe.
How to remove shell from prawns?
Wash and rinse the prawns well. Using your fingers, straighten the prawn and twist the head of the prawn and remove it. As the shell of the body cracks, crack open the rest of the shell right upto the tail and discard the shell. Use the softer meatier portion of the prawn and proceed to de-vein.
What do you mean by De-vein prawns?
I am not going to get into why or why shouldn’t you de-vein your prawns, but I always de-vein prawns before using them to cook. So for people wondering what is de-veining? It basically means to remove the gastronomical tract (or a black threadlike line) that runs all the way through the back of the prawn.
How to De-vein prawns?
Using a very sharp knife, make a long lengthwise slit through the whole back of a prawn (whose shell has already been removed). Now using the tip of the knife pull out the black vein through the slit that you just made and discard the vein.
So while you go checkout the recipe, I will grab my fork to dig into this!
- 450 gms noodles pack
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 green pepper thinly sliced
- 3-4 small spring onions with greens finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot jullienned or thinly sliced
- 1 cup cabbage thinly sliced
- 4 clove garlic finely chopped
- 3 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp red chilli sauce/ hot sauce or Sriracha sauce
- 1 tsp green chilli sauce optional
- 10-12 green beans thinly sliced in julienne
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 300 gms prawns peeled and deveined
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 4-5 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 green chillies finely chopped
- 2 tsp sesame seed oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
In a wok/skillet heat sesame oil and add the finely chopped garlic and green chillies and saute for a minute till the garlic stops smelling raw.
To this add soy sauce, sriracha sauce, salt, sugar and add the de-veined prawns and fry well till the prawns are done and are coated well with the sauce. Keep splashing water if the sauce starts to thicken quickly.
Finely adjust the salt as per taste and keep the prawns separately.
In a pan, boil 5-6 cups of water on medium flame and add 1 tsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt.
Open the noodles pack and if required break the noodles in half to fit it into the pan which you will be using for boiling them.
Now add the noodles to the boiling water and cook it for few minutes while stirring continuously so that they don't stick. Switch off the heat when almost done but not fully done (they will be cooked again while tossing them with sauces later).
Using a colander, drain the water from the noodles and rinse them again under running water to remove the starch from the noodles to reduce the stickiness of the noodles
Drain all excess water properly, add another 1/2 tsp of oil (to avoid the noodles to get sticky) and mix well. Set it aside to cool in the colander so that any excess water drains out before you finally toss the noodles later with sauces.
In a wok/skillet (you can use the same wok/skillet which you used for making the chilli garlic prawns to let the remaining flavours infuse to the noodles), heat oil and add the finely chopped garlic and saute for a minute.
To this add the onions and cook till translucent. To this add the thinly sliced cabbage, green beans, carrots and saute well till they are half done.
Then add the red, yellow and green bell peppers along with the greens of the spring onions. Make sure you don't over cook the vegetables and retain their crunch.
To the fried veggies add the soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha sauce and/or green chilli or red chilli sauce and saute the vegetables well.
Add the cooked and drained noodles to the veggies and toss all of them well so that the noodles are coated well with all the sauces.
Finally add the chili garlic prawns (you can skip this step if you are making a vegetarian version of just the hakka noodles) and toss the noodles well.
Lastly garnish with finely chopped spring onions greens.
1. You can adjust the hot quotient of dish by varying the quantities of red chilli sauce or green chilli sauce as per your taste. 2. Do not overcook the noodles while boiling it in water only cook it till almost done as it will be cooked again while tossing it with veggies and sauces. 3. Adding oil to the water, while boiling the noodles helps in stopping the noodles to stick to each other. 4. In the recipe the veggies have been added in a sequence to retain their crunch level, so do not over cook the vegetables. 5. Soy sauce and Sriracha sauce already have salt in it, so be careful with the amount of additional salt you add to the dish. Trick is to keep the salt level low initially and then adjust the salt at the end.
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