Nov 9, 2009

Sphagemein-- Pasta made Indian Chinese :)

The term is striking.  Sphag-e-mein. You agree. Right? This time R coined it :) Its all about the company one keeps :) :)

To tell you the story about how this dish came about, I need a couple of minutes here. One thing which is common to me and R is Indian Chinese. We adore it. Love it. Crave it. We don't get it. So we have tried looking up recipes, making our own version of what we think is going on in recipes. But we have failed so far. However, yesterday I was desperate. To get it done. And the idea came from a source unrelated to indian Chinese. Erica of My columbian recipes. I made this lovely scrambled eggs  for breakfast and it hit me right then how to get started on making some Indian chinese dish. Profuse thanks my lady.

One big favorite about anyone loving Indian chinese is Chili chicken and Mixed Chowmein.  Two dishes serving as star attractions for 'Chinese' loving Indian population-- from roadside stalls to gourmet restaurants. Between this duo lies the saga of success and failure-- of restaurants which made it to high end gourmet ones and roadside stalls which made it to local stardom to those which ..well did not live to tell the tale. Yes this duo. Turns out the when people in India talk about 'chinese' they are sub consciously (or consciously, as is the case with me) referring to these two dishes-- with the addition of maybe  Asian soup - So I am writing today about really important things here :)  One of them. Will talk about Chili Chicken tomorrow.

Notice the term Chow-e-mein. That is the second half on the dish today. 

Now, I am not the one to go hunting for chowmein type noodles in Indian or Asian Groceries. For one thing I like to do, is take a concept and make a dish of my own using ingredients you find (well.. mostly) in regular grocery stores.  So to the store I go, and get a good packet of lean wheat pasta ( the dish has got to be as healthy as possible so that I can eat guilt free) and in the process I get half a pound of crab meat. For no particular reason. The Pasta gives the dish the first part of the name. Sphag-e-mein

So here is the deal.

I am set to come up with a good enough substitute for Mixed Chowmein (containing shrimps, chicken, onions, tomatoes and chowmein sautéed in a sauce which is great but I have no idea what goes on in there) using  wheat pasta, crabmeat and once again my memory serving as the recipe book.

Did it happen? Stay tuned...sure as hell was fun!


Pasta: I used a handful of whole wheat which would serve two. You can use any you want. But wheat is healthier. Also if you do have lomein, chowmein feel free to use those. 

2 cloves of garlic. Minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 big bunch ( 6-7) sticks of green onion or scallion. Chopped finely
half a head of onion. Chopped. You can use two shallots as well.
1 medium size tomato. Chopped
1/2 green pepper. Chopped. Optional

1 cup of minced crabmeat
10- 12 deveined shrimps. Optional. 
Half a cup of  boiled chicken. Diced. Optional

2 tbsf Soy sauce
1 tbsf vinegar.
1 tsp oyster sauce. Thanks Ancoo for opening up the possibilities  with this lovely sauce
A pinch of red chili flakes. For heat. Optional

1/2 cup of chicken broth. Hot water would work as well.
1.5 tbsf oil. Use whatever you have at hand. I used regular.

Salt and black pepper for seasoning.

Here comes the sun..I mean the food :)

In a pot, pour water 3/4 th way to the top. Bring it to a boil. Drop the pasta in it carefully. Its one fun thing about doing pasta. How it curls up slowly in the pot :) Anyways keep boiling for 10-15 minutes or till pasta is done. Strain it.

In another skillet, heat the oil and drop the onion, scallion/ green onion, tomato garlic, ginger and saute for 3-4 minutes or till onion browns up a bit.  Stir constantly at relatively high heat. See how colorful this looks!

One quick tip: Never every use more oil or saute for long. It takes the color out of your veggies and the crunch too. And with the color and the crunch goes all the goodies-- vitamins, antioxidants, minerals. All the reasons for adding veggies. 

Add the crabmeat, chicken, shrimp and green pepper (if you are using them). Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the soy  sauce, vinegar oyster sauce and chili flakes. Keep stirring. 1 minute. Add the pasta. and mix everything very well. 2 minutes. Add the broth and stir for another minute or so. Season with salt and pepper.

Take it off the stove..and have something of as close as match you can get to Mixed chowmein!! And you know what, I am pretty sure most places in India does not even use oyster sauce. Guess garlic-scallion-ginger- tomatoes transcends national boundaries as far as food is concerned. And food is where we all meet and love :)

When I think of it..a columbian breakfast dish, a nostalgia, a craving...a creation. Healthy and easy. Food is good. It sure is the best thing Human species has come up with :)

Happy living and healthy eating :)


Tasty Trix said...

Indian I know, Chinese I know. Indian Chinese is a new permutation for me. Very interesting!!! I want to know more. Looks yum.

Nat said...

Hi J, I so know what you mean. I think 'Indo Chinese' is probably what they call that kind of food, and to me...that is the most flavorful crave buster EVER ! When I was preggers and my mom visited me, I actually had her freeze pack cuttle fish in hot butter sauce for me ; ) .... THE BEST !... Kudos to you for trying this out J... I am sure it tasted incredible and whats more I am certain R would vouch for sounds healthy and colorful, food for the mind and body !

Cathy said...

sounds delicious!

Erica said...

Thank you so much :)Glad you liked the eggs.

Jhonny walker said...

Hi Trix, Indian Chinese is the indian adaptation of chinese food. Much Like American Chinese. In India it is simply called ' Chinese'. But elsewhere it is best referred as ' Indo- chinese'. Thanks Nat :)

Mae said...

What a fascinating recipe! I've had no reference point for "Indian Chinese" or "Indo-chinese"... but I'm pretty sure I would have an immediate love for it.

This recipe will be a good way to start!

Nat said...

Hi J, Since you like must take a look at his curries...they are TRULY Amazing...he makes curry better than curry people...BELIEVE ME !

this is the link...

the ungourmet said...

Indian Chinese sounds scrumptious to me! What a nice colorful and flavorful dish!

Trish said...

Hey...this sounds great! Oh my dear Jhonny...I love reading your posts....I think I enjoy your discourse almost more than the food or recipes itself. You are so refreshing in your style and I almost can 'hear' you as you write. Thanks for the new way of thinking about food! Very fusion...very much my idea of bring it 'all together'. And thanks for your kinds words girl...on my postings...I am most grateful and privileged to have you visit.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Interesting crossover you have here. :)

Olive said...

Hi, JW :)

that is very creative of you combining the flavors of both your favorite cuisines in one dish..your fusion sounds delicious to me :)

radha said...

Indian Chinese is greasy, spicy and despite that tasty! Imagine having Masala Noodles! And what you made looks so good to eat.

Jhonny walker said...

@ Nat: Thanks a lot. It was terrific. Jamie Oliver.
@ Olive, Trish and Ungourmet:- Thanks thanks thanks...

@ Radha:- Not in India. Here yes. I haven;t had the luck yet to have it in USA. But I guess greasy never quite makes anything tasty. Lack of it does :) But that is my take on food :)

Palidor said...

Hey, I'm Indian Chinese too! I think this dish is a fantastic mix of flavors. Great job!

Jhonny walker said...

Palidor...You made my day!!!!!

Amy - The Petite Filet said...

Yum! This post made me crave spicy pasta - Indian Chinese is definitely something I'd love to try.