Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Drunken(?) Chinese(?) Spaghetti and Hot n Sour soup

Like a true Hindustani, I have my share of cravings for 'Indian-Chinese' food. It is amazing how Indianized (read un-Chinese) our Chinese food is :) Well, that's not true... we use soy sauce like the Chinese, we stir-fry like the Chinese... so what if our version is spicier with a kick in each bite and so what if Chinese food in Indore has a distinct taste of Marwari cuisine? :)

So this one day I knew I wanted to eat noodles, the 'Chinese' type! To begin with I didn't have noodles at home. Hubby dear suggested using spaghetti and I made a sorry face. I thought - spaghetti would never fit in, its too fat, its too firm and its too coarse! I then remembered this 'Drunken Spaghetti' I had in a Thai restaurant and thought, lets make it Thai rather than Chinese. I googled for drunken noodles and got back hundreds of recipes. By the way, Wikipedia says the source of the name drunken noodles is unknown.
"No one is sure where the name of this dish comes from. Some believe it is called drunken noodles because it's an excellent hangover cure. Others believe that it is so hot that the eater has to be drunk to be able to stand it, while some are sure that it's because one becomes drunk trying to drown out the heat with alcohol. Still others believe that the name comes from the wide assortment of ingredients the dish contains: The chef is drunk enough to throw in a bunch of vegetables and spices without thinking it over. The most probable explanation is that this is one of the only foods available on the streets of Thailand late at night and in the very early morning, the times when inebriated revelers are leaving places of celebration. It is very possible that the extremely "wobbly" noodles themselves give the dish its name."

All of them called for some ingredient or the other that I did not have. So I gave up on the Thai version and decided - Drunken 'Chinese' spaghetti it will be! Forgive me my Thai and Chinese (and Italian) readers!!

Here's how I made it -

1. Spaghetti - equivalent of 2 cups cooked. I am terrible at measuring it!
2. 2 cups of chopped vegetables - onions, carrots, mushrooms, green bell peppers, spring onions and a little cabbage. And a slit green chilli (serrano/ any fat chilli).
3. 1/2 cup bean sprouts.
4. 2-3 cloves of garlic - minced.
5. 3 tbsp of soy sauce mixed with 1 tbsp of Sambal Oelek or any chilli sauce that you like.
6. Salt to taste, a tsp of black pepper and 1/2 tsp sugar mixed together.
7. 1 tsp white vinegar.
8. 1 tbsp oil to cook.

1. Boil spaghetti with a little salt. Wash in cold water and drain long enough to get rid of all the water. Toss the spaghetti with a tsp of oil to avoid sticking.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok (I use a frying pan that gets really hot, I am still to buy a 'good' wok). As the oil gets hot add minced garlic. Add the soy sauce mix and spread it. Now sprinkle the salt-pepper-sugar mix to cover the bottom of the pan. As it begins to sizzle, add onions, slit chilli and carrots. After 30 secs of sauteing, add mushrooms - 30 secs more and add green bell-peppers and cabbage. I don't like to cook the bell-peppers and cabbage much.
9. Saute everything well and add cooked spaghetti. Toss on high heat till everything comes together.
10. Add spring onions (greens, whites, everything) and vinegar and toss again!


For the 'Chinese' Hot n Sour soup -

1. 1 cup finely chopped cabbage
2. 1/2 cup finely chopped/grated carrots
3. 1 tbsp chopped green bell peppers
4. 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (alternatively puree tomatoes - pressure cook 3 tomatoes with a cup of water, blend and strain to get rid of the seeds and skin.)
5. 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
6. 2 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce or any chilli sauce with a hint of garlic
7. 2 tbsp cornflour/corn starch
8. salt to taste
9. 1 tsp oil


Heat 1 tsp oil, add all the veggies and about 4 cups of water. If using tomato puree, add it now. If using ketchup, add it later. Add salt and let the soup boil till veggies are cooked. It should take around 10 minutes of boiling. Add soy sauce, chilli sauce and ketchup (you don't need ketchup if you added pureed tomatoes already). Simmer some more. Mix cornflour in 1/4th cup water and mix in the soup, stirring constantly. Add chopped green onions and simmer for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tsp of vinegar. Serve hot!


We enjoyed my drunken version of Chinese spaghetti with the hot soup and pomegranate-hibiscus iced green-tea. :) I will get to try the Thai recipe as soon as I get all the required ingredients - noodles for a start!



KayKat said...

This looks delicious! I'm definitely trying out your hot'n'sour recipe sometime soon! Will let you know how it goes.

Shweta said...

Thanks and do try it out dear Kaykat! I would love to know how it came out :)

Sophie said...

Your hot and sour soup sounds aromatic and flavorful! I'd like to include your recipe on our blog :), please let me know if you're interested.

Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger