The idea of fusion food may seem like a modern interpretation of international cuisines; however, Indo-Chinese food has been a tradition for over a century!
Indo-Chinese food is also known as Sino-Indian cuisine and even Chindian cuisine. Typically, it’s the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. This is primarily applicable fin vegetarian dishes.
Indo- Chinese food developed through the Chinese community living in Kolkata. The Chinese community in Kolkata are largely of Hakka origin, which naturally, also influences the flavours and techniques of Indo-Chinese Food. The first settlement of Chinese communities in Kolkata actually dates back to 1778. By early 20th century, Chinatown had been developed in this area and thrived.
Within Indo-Chinese food, typical spices include cumin, coriander seeds, and turmeric. These spices are much more of an Indian style than Chinese, although can be found to some extent in the Xinjiang region. Other ingredients also include hot chilli, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, red dried chilli, black peppercorns, and yoghurt. As a result, the ingredient lists can be likened to other South East Asian countries with Chinese influences such as Singapore and Malaysia.
There are a variety of different styles of dishes that are commonly found in Indo-Chinese cuisine. Two of the most famous are Schezwan and Manchurian.
This may look like a spelling mistake of Szechwan, however, its simply how these dishes are written in India. Dishes with this name often don’t have a strong resemblance to the food of Sichuan province. Typically, this dishes focus on a spicy sauce with red chillis and garlic.
Manchurian dishes are either meat or paneer based with vegetables in a spicy brown sauce. Apparently, it is a dish that was created by Nelson Wang who describes the process as starting from the basic ingredients of Indian cuisine (ginger, garlic, and green chilli) and then adding soy sauce instead of garam masala.
Indo-Chinese food is a comfort food staple in India with the love of this fusion cuisine branching across the whole country from its origin in Kolkata. This fusion cuisine is simply delicious and certainly an integral part of Indian cooking.