hosted by Darjeeling Express
India was introduced to this cuisine by the Hakka community that moved to Kolkata over a century ago. Tangra was the local Chinatown... a densely inhabited area near the airport filled with tiny cafes interspersed with tanneries that were open 24/7. Over the years the Indian Hakka adapted their traditional recipes to the local palate and today we can safely say that Chinese food is a menu staple in India. This is the Indo-Chinese bit.....now to the Hakka bit....
About WenLin Soh:
Wen is the founder of www.edibleexperiences.com, London's premier online hub for discovering, comparing and instantly booking delicious activities such as supperclubs, cooking classes, tastings and food walking tours. Wen comes from a Singaporean Hakka family, whose ancestral home is in Dabu in northeastern Guangzhou, widely recognised as the Hakka capital of the world. She visited Dabu for the first time in 2010, and discovered Hakka dishes, history and family she never knew she had till now. Her adventures are documented on her personal food blog www.goingwithmygut.com.
Tonight Wen is very honoured to be sharing some classic Hakka dishes with you at Darjeeling Express. Wen was delighted to find that Asma shared her excitement for the colourful history and journey of Hakka cooking. Tonight we hope to pass on a little bit of that excitement on to you.
Mushroom fritters by Wen:
Hakka settlers in Guangzhou and Fujian were allocated land that local incumbents didn't want - thin-soiled hillsides. Mushrooms and herbs therefore became a significant part of the Hakka diet. These fritters are served with a toasted salt and zingy Sichuan pepper dip.
Prawn Spring Rolls by Asma:
No Chinese meal in Calcutta is complete without a plate...or two of spring rolls which are always accompanied by the distinctive red chilli sauce
Vegetable Spring Rolls (veg)
Thunder Tea Rice by Wen:
A healthy dish wildly popular among office workers in Singapore. Garlicky rice is topped with fresh and pickled vegetables, tofu, nuts and seeds, then dressed with a refreshing savoury and herby tea. Any guesses on where the "thunder" comes in?
Lemon Chicken by Asma:
I guess the easiest way to describe this traditional Tangra speciality is to call it a chinese version of a chicken pakora...soaked in fresh lemon juice before serving.
Chilli Paneer (veg)
Hakka Basin Feast by Wen:
A rustic celebratory Hakka dish often served during the Lunar New Year, weddings and village festivals. Layers of meat, seafood and vegetables simmered together await - start your excavators! (A vegetarian version will also be served)
Manchurian Gobi by Asma:
A unique Indo-chinese fusion dish. Cauliflower cooked with garlic and dried red chillies and soy sauce!
Hakka Noodles by Wen:
Why are Hakka noodles found on just about every Chinese (and sometimes Indian) restaurant menu in India? And why does it actually taste fairly close to the way Wen's Grandfather used to make it? Find out tonight. Fried noodles with chicken, seafood and vegetables. (A vegetarian version will also be served)
Beef with green chillies by Asma:
Thin slices of beef stir fried with green chillies and onions.
Chilli Aloo (veg)
Muah Chee by Wen:
A rustic Hakka dessert, now a popular street snack in Singapore. Chewy rice-dough morsels are rolled in a sugary-peanut coating. Tonight we serve a special fragrant black sesame edition reserved for Lunar New Year festivities.
Fruit Chaat by Asma:
Traditionally a Chinese meal in Calcutta would end with Kwality ice cream (a local vanilla ice cream)....or as was usually the case with me, I would eat the spiced pineapples and fruits from the fruit chaat man outside the restaurant.
Venue: A private residence in Central London
Tickets: £35 and is a BYOB evening.