Have you heard about the new, exciting food trend that is tantalising the taste buds of restaurant-goers in Cardiff and other cities across the UK?

Indo-Chinese cuisine is becoming one of the most popular choices for those looking for a tasty bite to eat. This type of cuisine is a firm favourite at our Purple Poppadom, Indian restaurant in Cardiff. The dishes combine the spicy flavours of India with the staples of Chinese cuisine. But where did this idea originate?

The History of Indo-Chinese Dishes

The origins of Indo-Chinese food date back more than 100 years to the Chinatown of Calcutta which is now known as Kolkata. In the late 1700s, it was the capital of the British Empire in India.

It was here that Hakka Chinese immigrants – mainly silk traders and carpenters – began to combine techniques and ingredients from their home country with the flavours and spices of India to create fusion dishes. The immigrants even opened various restaurants in Tiretta Bazaar and Tangra.

These dishes quickly grew in popularity, spreading through various cities in India including Mumbai. It is claimed that Wang’s China Garden restaurant invented a variety of Indo-Chinese dishes that are popular choices today.

Characteristics of Indo-Chinese Dishes

Different characteristics of Indo-Chinese dishes can be difficult to narrow down. However, Indian ingredients tend to include okra, ginger, and coriander while Chinese staples such as soy sauce and noodles are also used.

The dishes tend to be cooked in the wok and there is often heavy use of chilli. Despite this many of the dishes aren’t particularly spicy and due to the Indian influence, many are vegetarian.

Different Indo-Chinese Dishes

Indo-Chinese dishes are hugely popular at Purple Poppadom include Chilli chicken, Chilli Gobhi (cauliflower) and Chilli Ribs. In fact, Chilli Gobhi is one of the most requested items on our entire menu.

Other well known Indo-Chinese dishes out there include Hakka noodles. These are wok-fried noodles combined with soy sauce, chilli and various different vegetables such as peppers and spring onions (scallions).

Or, you could try lollipop chicken. This is one of the most popular Indo-Chinese starters that you can try. It’s made by coating crispy fried wings with soy and chilli and serving them with Szechuan dipping sauce.

Alternatively, you may want to sample chicken Manchurian. This is chicken served in a thick sauce made from garlic, chillies, cornstarch, and ketchup as well as soy sauce.

Manchurian-style cooking is one of the key parts of Indo-Chinese cuisine. Here meat and veg are battered and fried in a soy-based sauce that is made with traditional Indian ingredients.

Indo-Chinese Dishes Today

Over the last few years, Indo-Chinese food has become incredibly popular across the UK and have long been championed by Purple Poppadom.

Anand George, Chef Patron of Purple Poppadom said, “I have long been a fan of Indo-Chinese cuisine having experienced it in the cafes and street food scene in India.

I was keen to add these dishes to the Purple Poppadom menu and trialled them in the restaurant. I am pleased to say that dishes like Chilli Gobhi and Chilli Chicken have now become amongst our most popular dishes. We love exploring the kaleidoscope of cuisines of India and Indo-Chinese is definitely a style we love to feature on our menu.”