Coincidentally, we got our ten-year US visas on the same day that I had decided to make these Chinese style noodles, favourite with the Indians; named as an American dish, but in America it is served only in the Indian restaurants. And to talk of the Chinese, I don’t think they even know about this one!
But the crispy fried noodles, with lots of vegetables, and a thick sauce essentially made of tomato ketchup and soy sauce is a favorite “Chinese food” in Mumbai. Especially for families with kids, because of its sweet and sour, but not too spicy preparation.
Whenever we went to any restaurant when we were little, my spice-phobic brother (who would add sugar to even a panipuri), would always order American chopsuey. That is also perhaps the same reason why my father-in-law reminisces about this dish. He must have had to eat it several times when his sons were kids.
Nutrition-wise the refined flour noodles don’t provide anything except carbohydrates, but top it up with a lot of vegetables and it does make for a good meal.
There are 3 steps to make this. I have adapted this recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khana Khazana.
First, slicing and dicing the vegetables and sauteing them.
Second, boiling and then deep-frying the noodles.
And the third is making the sauce, and serving it. Hot.
Serves : 4
- 2 cups cabbage, shredded
- 15-18 french beans, cut vertically into thin strips
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced capsicum
- 1 cup carrot cut into thin strips
- 3 onions, diced into vertical slices
- 1/2 tsp crushed ginger
- 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
- 3 tbsp oil
- 300 gms noodles
- Oil for frying
For the sauce :
- 2 tablespoons Cornflour/cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp vinegar or 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp chilli sauce
- Salt to taste
- First, dice and shred all the vegetables and keep them ready. In a wok/kadhai, heat 3 tablespoons oil. To this, add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a minute. Add the onions followed by carrots, french beans, capsicum and cabbage. Cook till tender yet crisp. Add salt, mix well and keep it aside.
- In a big pan boil the noodles for 5-7 minutes (or as per instructions on the pack), drain, sprinkle some oil on it and let it to cool. We don’t want mushy noodles, so avoid over-boiling.
- Heat enough oil in a wok. Divide the cooked noodles into three portions.
- Mix one portion with the sautéed vegetables. Add chilli sauce, some more salt if required. Fry the rest of the two noodle portions. The fried noodles have to be really crisp. Best way to do it is to make nest out of the noodles and fry in batches.
- For the sauce, combine all the ingredients until fully incorporated and bring to a boil.
- For serving, arrange the vegetables and boiled noodles on a plate. Spread a layer of the fried noodles and generously pour the sauce over it. Serve hot.