Your Guide to Indian Street Style Noodles at Home!
Don’t you miss being out and at one of your favourite food destinations? Do you remember that large Chinese wok, being hit by a waft of all the deliciousness cooking in it and of course that familiar face preparing truly the tastiest Chinese fast food? So I thought why not make some Street Style Noodles?
Well if your answer to both those questions was yes, join the “I miss my Chinese bandi food” vala club with me as president (Let’s also address the word “bandi” which you’ll quickly notice is a repeating trend in my recipe. Bandi is the Telugu word literally meaning vehicle but in this context means a street stall). But instead of wallowing in the sadness of what I missed, I decided to metaphorically take to the streets and speak to the man who makes the best street style Chinese noodles in my opinion – my neighbourhood Chinese Street Food stall owner!
This recipe, through the help of this man, became the guide to your Street Style Chinese noodles!
Street style Chinese noodles have always been comfort food for people across the country. They are generally Hakka noodles cooked with sauces and veggies on a flaming Chinese wok with all the Indian spices you’re familiar with! It’s the perfect example of Indo-Chinese food and how it has a warm, chow mein shaped place in most Indians’ hearts. The beauty of these noodles is the fact that every stall has a different take on the same recipe. Even a little tweak in the method or the ratios of ingredients allows for so much expansion of flavour!
So today I bring to you the tricks, tips, and trade secrets on how to make flavorful Street Style noodles from the comfort of your own kitchen.
The Truth about Bandi (Street style) Noodles
Yes, I’m doing an entire segment just to expose these street styles or Bandi noodles for their mouth-watering yumminess!
First, let’s talk about why street style noodles aren’t perfectly replicable at home. Besides the obvious reason being the lack of experience or skill, it’s the equipment. Street style noodles have that crisp bite to them because bandi owners usually make an investment in High Range Burners.
These burners allow them to crank up the heat and provide the noodles and veggies with extra crisp texture to them. Another piece of equipment most people lack at home is Chinese Wok. This underrated utensil is the reason Bandi noodles have a smoky aftertaste to every bite!
A Chinese wok is a very thinly made wok which not only allows the pan to heat up faster but truly brings a fiery taste to the noodles. Another common ingredient these vendors use is something they call ‘tasting salt’. Although it sounds like something new it is just Ajinomoto or MSG.
MSG can honestly sound very intimidating to use at home but here’s a resource talking about how it’s perfectly safe to use at home as well:
Tips and Tricks of the Trade
While talking to Chinese Food Bandi owner, I realized that there were so many small tricks that if used at home would bring me the closest possible recreation of my favourite bandi noodles! Here’s all of them:
Always plan ahead and pre-cook all the veggies and the noodles. Using a high flame while mixing the ingredients will not give you enough time to actually cook the ingredients. So always keep your ingredients ready to go.
Maintain a high flame throughout the cook! Cooking the ingredients on a high flame will allow the crispy outer layer to form and really give your noodles the crunch they need!
Don’t shy away from spices at all. Take all the spices you know and love and use them in the noodles!
White pepper. This spice makes a remarkable difference in the taste of the sauce and the noodles. It’s a signature Chinese flavour and is sometimes ignored!
Lastly, as if I hadn’t stressed on it enough already, get yourself a Chinese Wok and get it today! Click here to buy one. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t let you miss out on something called “Wok Hie”. It literally translates to “breath of the wok” and adds a priceless flavour to the dish.
Procedure for Street Style Noodles!
So the first thing you have to do is start heating some water with a generous amount of salt. Once it comes to a rolling boil add your noodles and boil them.
Then while the noodles are being boiled start with chopping your vegetables. In this case, I went for some red and green bell peppers, onions, cabbage, and carrots. You can also add Beans if you like them.
Then the next thing you need is to take all your spices in a bowl. I took some chilli powder, garam masala, pepper powder, and some MSG.
Since you will be cooking on high flame you won’t have the time to do much during cooking. So make sure you mix all your sauce and make a homogenous mixture in advance. I mixed green chilli sauce, red chilli sauce, soy sauce, and some vinegar. Mix it properly and you ready to go.
Then strain your noodles once they are boiled and dress them with some oil. Heat your wok and start sauteing your vegetables. Once you saute them for 20 seconds add your noodles and your sauce and spices. From here you pretty much have to cook them for another minute on high and toss properly.
Garnish with some spring onions and it is ready. You can also check the seasoning but all your components are already very well seasoned, like your noodles and even soy sauce had a generous amount of salt. But if you still feel you need to add some more feel free to do that.
Guys, I highly recommend this particular wok for all of your Chinese stir-fries and other dishes. It is a great investment for a long time and will get you some pretty amazing results whenever you make something with it.