Friday, 9 May 2014

Noodle Salad with Raw Mango dressing and Dad's love for Calcutta Chinese

Alright I am on a Salad spree right now. Yes it is topical and my salads are anything but boring. After my cold pasta salad with Garlicky Buttermilk dressing, I tossed up some Asian-inspired Noodle Salad with the works. I love the my way dad's face lights up whenever he sees noodles. He loves Chinese, or at least Calcutta Chinese and is happy with having his chicken prawn chowmein with gravy every time. Nothing fancy, same old, same old. He insists every second night at the dinner table that the best Chinese he has had and will ever have was the food he had feasted on in her growing up years, in the 60s and 70s Calcutta.
           For the first few years of his life, till he was 6 or 7, Baba grew up in our ancestral home in Sreerampore, in the Hoogly district. My gradfather's stayed in Calcutta looking after the business and would visit on weekends. His mother, dad's Didu, was still alive and my grandfather insisted that my grandma and the kids stayed with her. The rest of the family moved to Calcutta only after Didu passed away. Dad recalls, the first time he had Chinese Food was when he was 5. My grandpa had taken him to Waldorf. It was the first time Dad was eating at a restaurant on Calcutta's legendary Park Street. He says the day is etched in his memory and so is the taste of the Chowmein and Chili Chicken he had had.
       So, no matter which restaurant we eat at, Dad's never happy with the Chinese. He says, Fancy yes, tasty, well not the same thing. I feel rather frustrated, avoid cooking Chinese food at home, but then when I do I make sure I get it right. Anyway, I tossed up this salad last evening and Dad was absolutely delighted. For a change he didn't bring up the 70s. Not that he thought it was better, just that he didn't at least go all nostalgic.

I am also sharing this on Kolkata Food Bloggers Summer Special event Beat the Heat.

Raw Mango Dressing 

Rice wine vinegar – 2 tbsp
Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
Fish sauce – 2 tsp
Raw mango- 1
Red chilies (fresh)- 5-6
Grated ginger – 1tbsp
Salad oil – ½ cup
Salt to taste

A little sugar 

Char grill the mangoes in a tandoor or on the gas. Scrape out the pulp and manually mash into more or less smooth paste.

In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, grated ginger, salt red chilies and sugar.

Add the mango pulp and whisk to combine.

Stream in the olive oil whisking all the while. 

Noodle Salad 

Noodles of your choice - 1 packet
Diced Carrots - 1 large cup
Diced Cucumber - 1 cup
French beans (cut small) - 1 cup
Fried cashew nuts - A handful (optional)
Shredded boiled chicken* - 1 cup
Salt and pepper
Chili flakes
Fried noodles for garnish


Bring to boil water in a deep pan with a spoonful of salt and a drizzle of oil. To  it add the noodle and cook until just soft, but not too soft.

Drain out and spread it out on a tray to dry. Once it dries up drizzle some oil, toss it and keep it aside.

This step is optional but I usually do it. Blanch the vegetables in salt water and leave to cool.

Now in a bowl mix all the ingredients together, season well, add dressing and toss and I insist with your hands. Pour in a salad bowl, garnish with crisp fried noodles and serve at room temperature.

Note: Boil the chicken in water to which you have added salt, pepper, some dried or fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil), a couple of celery sticks and a few cloves of garlic. I leave the chicken in its stock in the fridge over night. While using it for the pasta I use the cold chicken straight out of the stock with some stalk dripping from it. I think that adds  to the taste of the salad. 

1 comment:

  1. My mouth started watering as I tried to imagine the taste of charred raw mango!