5 Speciality Indo-Chinese Dishes You Must Try

19 Jan, 2018 by Carlton Lounge

For over 100 years, India has enjoyed the rich, spicy and delicious food of China that was brought to the country by the Chinese migrants, generally of Hakka origin, who came to Kolkata for work. As well as enjoying these unique oriental flavours, the Indian population soon realised that they could be combined with some of India's most loved dishes, spices and sauces to create a unique Indo-Chinese fusion cuisine.

Enjoying Indo-Chinese food is a popular pastime across India, and Kolkata's very own Chinatown is a testament to the country's passion for these superb dishes. At the Carlton Lounge, we serve a selection of some of the finest Indo-Chinese dishes, allowing our guests to experience this style of cuisine, often for the first time, and introducing them to a whole new world of flavour combinations.

Our guests will experience a combination of Indian spices, such as cumin, coriander seeds and turmeric, paired with the finest Chinese hot chillies, ginger, garlic and sesame seeds. However, that is not to say that any Indo-Chinese dishes can be considered to represent traditional Indian food, nor traditional Chinese food. The methods of cooking have developed in their own unique way and for that reason, it is unlike any other cuisine found around the world.

The UK is known for its love of great Indian and Chinese food, so we're here to show you that you really can have the best of both worlds. Here are 5 of our top picks of Indo-Chinese dishes that you simply must try on your next visit.

Indo-Chinese Dishes

Chicken Manchurian

This dish is a guaranteed crowd pleaser and one of the most popular Indo-Chinese dishes. Also available as a vegetarian option, the Chicken Manchurian dish includes fried pieces of diced chicken, marinated in a sweet and salty, thick brown gravy.

Although we can't share our secret recipe to make the best Chicken Manchurian, we can give you a little taste of how this classic dish is prepared:

  1. Mix corn flour, flour, salt and pepper together and combine with a beaten egg.
  2. Coat diced chicken thoroughly in the batter mixture.
  3. Deep fry the chicken pieces in hot oil until golden brown. Take out of the oil and allow to drain, keeping them light and crispy
  4. Brown garlic and ginger in a pan, then add chopped fresh green chillies and coriander.
  5. After 2 more minutes on the heat, add in chicken stock, salt, sugar, pepper and soya sauce.
  6. Allow the sauce to simmer over a low heat for around five minutes. Then, add corn flour to thicken.
  7. Combine the crispy fried chicken with the Manchurian sauce, bring to the heat and then serve nice and hot.

Chicken Szechuan

This popular dish is a mildly spicy starter of chicken cooked in sugar, red chilli and soya sauce. Szechuan dishes always include the added ingredient of Szechuan pepper, which leaves a slight tingly numbness in the mouth. In this dish, we add just enough to give the meal its signature flavour.

Beginners can follow the below recipe for a standard version of Chicken Szechuan:

  1. Marinate tenderised, diced chicken in soya sauce, vinegar and salt for around 15 – 20 minutes, then add coat in a light dusting of corn flour.
  2. Fry the chicken pieces in hot oil until perfectly cooked and remove from the heat.
  3. In another pan, fry ginger, garlic, onion and Szechuan peppers.
  4. Then add red chilli sauce, soya sauce, vinegar and a light sprinkling of salt.
  5. Cook on a medium heat until it comes together as a sauce.
  6. Add a dash of water, let the sauce simmer gently to thicken.
  7. Finally, add the chicken and sauté in the sauce for 3 minutes before serving.

Chilli Paneer

This mouth-wateringly good recipe takes the Indian fresh cheese, paneer, and adds a spicy Chinese twist. Although this dish can come in Indo-Chinese gravy, we love the snack to be dry, tossed with onions, peppers a splash of soya sauce and flavoursome five spices. Caution: it's moreish!

It couldn't be easier to try making your own Chilli Paneer at home, with only a few fresh ingredients needed for a basic recipe.

  1. Start by coating paneer balls in corn flour and frying in hot oil until golden brown, then remove from the heat.
  2. In a separate pan, brown chopped onion and then add diced green chilli.
  3. Add a chopped green pepper and fry until soft.
  4. Add the fried paneer to the pan.
  5. Add tomato sauce, chilli sauce, soya sauce and salt to taste.
  6. Continue to cook for 4 minutes and then serve.

Lamb Chilli Pepper

Many popular dishes in Indo-Chinese cuisine are referred to as 'chilli', which indicates the cooking style of the main ingredient. When you see this on the menu, it means that it is fried in batter and cooked with chilli pepper. This dish serves crispy fried lamb, sautéed with diced onions, pepper, Chinese five spice and our very own special homemade chilli sauce.

Here's how to try a Lamb Chilli Pepper dish at home:

  1. Mix diced lamb with corn flour, ginger, garlic, black pepper, red chilli powder, vinegar and salt.
  2. Add 3 teaspoons of water to the mixture and stir well. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat garlic, ginger and onion in a pan and sauté until soft.
  4. Add a chopped bell pepper, spring onion, fresh green chillies, tomato sauce, chilli sauce and cornflour paste and stir.
  5. Fry the marinated lamb for 10 minutes before adding to the sauce and cooking on full heat for a few minutes.
  6. Serve with chopped fresh spring onion.

Szechuan Vegetable Hakka Noodles

Hakka noodles are a staple of Indo-Chinese cuisine and are great served alongside almost any dish. We always recommend good helpings of Hakka noodles and fried rice for our guests to enjoy with their meals, and the empty plates are a sure sign that they go down a treat.

To make a simple Hakka noodle dish, follow this guide:

  1. Boil plain noodles, then drain and set aside.
  2. Quickly stir fry minced garlic and ginger in hot oil for 30 seconds.
  3. Add thinly chopped French beans, spring onion, green pepper and carrot.
  4. Stir fry for 2 minutes over a high heat.
  5. Add soya sauce, chilli sauce, tomato sauce, black pepper and salt, stir to combine.
  6. Add the boiled noodles and toss until they are evenly mixed with the vegetables and fry for a further minute or two.
  7. Serve fresh to the table and enjoy with your main dishes.

For a taste of true Indo-Chinese flavours and the finest recipes prepared by our chefs, visit the Carlton Lounge and sample any of these mouth-watering dishes from our menu. Contact us today to secure your reservation in our VIP dining area.