The day I had made Hakka Noodles for a dinner get-together, I had boiled excess noodles so reserved some for later. Since our intake of soya sauce, chili-garlic sauce, ketchup and vinegar was high that week, I did not want to reuse the noodles for anything Indo-Chinese. While I was beginning to make my regular dal, with the tadka and veggies, I added the remaining noodles instead of lentils – and so was the birth of Tadka Noodles, the Indian touch to Chinese noodles but NOT a part of Indo-Chinese cuisine. I believe you can call this dish a cousin of Semaiya Pulao / Seviyan Upma / Vermicelli Pulao.
My hubby doesn’t like to eat plain dal with a simple cumin tadka (ah, he won’t tell that to his mom – all tantrums are only for the wife, you know). So I make tomato-spinach lentil (tamatar-palak dal) everyday, adding different spices, pastes, and vegetables once in a while. That’s one reason the dal or these Tadka Noodles don’t need to follow a specific recipe – completely, absolutely, totally adaptable.
1 cup noodles
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil
1. Boil 3 cups water in a pan; add salt + oil + noodles. Switch off when noodles almost done. Test by cutting one or chewing a small piece. Drain hot water, pour cold water over noodles, drain, and keep aside. Read correct way of cooking noodles & info on health here.
1 Tbsp oil/ghee
¼ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
Pinch asafoetida (hing)
2-3 dry red chilies, broken
6-7 curry leaves (kari patta)
Pinch turmeric power (haldi)
2. Heat oil/ghee in pan, add mustard seeds + cumin seeds, let pop, add asafoetida + dry red chilies + curry leaves + turmeric powder, mix. Even if you skip or lack any ingredient (except oil), it doesn’t matter. Like I said, this recipe is very flexible.
½ tsp ginger, chopped / paste
½ tsp garlic, chopped / paste
1 tsp green chilies, chopped / paste
2 cup various chopped vegetables
Salt to taste
3. Add the chopped ginger + garlic + green chilies or the pastes; add all your veggies + salt, sauté until tender. The veggies I used were all the leftovers from previous day’s dinner – tomato, cabbage, carrot, green beans, scallion, cauliflower, and bell pepper. You can use anything, really.
4. At this point you can either add pressure-cooked lentils and make a delicious and wholesome dal, or add the noodles; mix gently so they don’t break much. But even if they break, it really doesn’t matter. Mix well. Tadka Noodles are ready. Serve hot or cold. For breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pack in lunch box or take for picnic. Enjoy.
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