An intriguing new restauarant is coming to Boston, introducing Indian-Chinese cuisine. I am looking forward to checking it out.
Mumbai Chopstix, a 60-seat indoor/outdoor café at 254 Newbury Street in the Back Bay will open by the end of the month. It is owned and operated by One World Cuisine, the operators of Mantra, Diva Indian Bistro and Diva Lounge, Bukhara, Mela, Kashmir, Café of India, Shalimar Indian Grocery & Spices, and Dosa Factory.
Mumbai Chopstix will combine Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques with Indian seasonings (and sometimes vice versa). It was developed in the 1800s as Chinese immigrants -- mostly from Shanghai and Canton -- flowed into the city of Calcutta, forming a thriving leather-tanning district and Chinatown in the neighborhood of Tangra.
Today, there are more than 20,000 Chinese people in Calcutta, and the merging of Indian chiles, peppers, spices and sauces adds interest to their native dishes. Indian-Chinese restaurants thrive in most of the major cities in India. In fact, a 2007 poll found it to be the #1 favorite cuisine of Indians, beyond their own. In North America, Indian-Chinese cooking can be found in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas and Toronto.
Mumbai Chopstix Chef Giridhar grew up in Calcutta, eating and cooking Indian-Chinese food. He is enthusiastic about bringing the food of his hometown to Boston. “It’s complex, delicious and addictive,” he says.
Dishes flavored with hot chiles, ginger, garlic, yogurt, cumin and tumeric will be served in woks, with chopsticks. Mongolian Hot Pots, like those served in the days of Ghengis Khan, will be a specialty. Prices are $5-8 for soups, salads and starters. Entrees average $16.
The restaurant was designed by the region’s foremost feng shui master, whose advice on the layout, materials and color scheme of the dining room will help to ensure optimum success and reputation for the restaurant in 2010. Each of eight compass directions in the restaurant was assessed and charted to enhance its energy, or “chi.”
Dining room décor follows basic feng shui precepts that combine fire and wood, wood and water, metal and earth. The northwest angle of the front door, for example, is related to sociability and networking, and is particularly favorable this year, although other design elements may require “tweaking” from year to year.
Typical Indian-Chinese dishes
* Raw Papaya Salad with basil chile, roasted peanuts and tamarind sauce
* Drums of Heaven: fried chicken wings with sesame-based Mumbai salsa
* Burnt Ginger Lemon Pepper Soup
* “Hakka” Style Pan-Fried Dry Chilli Chicken – Fish – Lamb or Cheese
* Five Spice Salt and Pepper Squid
* Chicken Manchurian: Dumplings sautéed in soy-cilantro sauce
* Crispy Half or Whole Duck
* Crispy Whole Pomfret
* Shrimp in Calcutta-Szechuan Sauce
* Steamed Vegetable Momos with Tangra Chilli sauce
* Tandoori Chicken Spring Rolls
* “Naga” Style Lachew Cauliflower Dumplings with sweet and sour sauce
* Black Pepper Chicken with Snowpeas
* Singapore Style Lo Mein Noodles with BBQ Pork and Eggs
Mumbai Chopstix Indian-Chinese desserts are also unique. Boston will be introduced to Date Pancakes, Fried Ice Cream, and Banana Toffee.
A list of sake-based cocktails, wine, beer and Chinese teas accompanies the menu.
Here is a recipe that you can try at home:
Chilli Chicken (Courtesy of Mumbai Chopstix)
More than any other, this dish typifies the flavors and methodology of Indian-Chinese cooking. Note the unusual spelling of the word chilli.
1 ½ lbs. boneless chicken breast
1 onion, cut into 1” dice
1 green pepper, cut into 1” dice
1 red pepper, cut into 1” dice
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1” dice
1 tsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. red chile powder
1 tsp. red chile paste
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 TB. cornstarch
8 whole red chiles, julienne
1 TB ginger, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 whole green chiles, julienne
12 oz. chicken stock
1 tsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. oyster sauce
1 TB. tomato paste
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. cracked white pepper
bottle of vegetable or canola oil for frying
chopped scallions to taste
Cut raw chicken into 1” cubes and marinate for 10-15 minutes in the dark soy sauce, mixed with chile powder, beaten egg and 1 TB. cornstarch.
Heat about 2” of vegetable oil in a frying pan until hot, then deep-fry the chicken cubes til golden brown. Drain well on paper towels and set aside (keep warm).
Heat 1 TB. oil in a wok and toss in the ginger, garlic, red and green chiles (the dish can be made hotter or milder by adjusting quantities). Cook for about 15 seconds, then add the onions, peppers and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Next, add the chicken pieces, the light soy, oyster sauce, tomato paste, sugar and white pepper and cook for 3 minutes more.
Dissolve the remaining 1 TB. cornstarch into an equal amount of cold water, and add it to the wok to thicken the sauce. Serve hot over white rice or crispy chow mein noodles. Garnish with chopped scallions if desired.