The Making of Indo Chinese

Indo Chinese cuisine is basically a blend of two culinary cultures. One can see it as Chinese food made adapted to Indian taste. It is basically made when Indian ingredients like garlic, ginger, chilli peppers and onions are seasoned with chinese sauces like soy sauce and vinegar to  make the rather raw chinese cuisine more flavourful and spicy.

This amalgamation has spread amongst Indians like wildfire, to the extent that it has become a favourite. It has also been adopted in street food and has become evergreen.

But, how was this cuisine born? 

Let’s explore its origin here.

Calcutta’s Chinatown

Our story begins in 1778 when Chinese tea trader, Yang Dazhao, moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata), then India’s capital, in search of better business opportunities. While Dazhao was the first, a lot of Chinese settlers followed in his footsteps and they collectively formed Chinatowns in the city. It was in Calcutta’s second Chinatown, located in Tangra, where Indian Chinese would be invented.

The Origin

The Hakka Chinese settled in Tangra opened up restaurants. In order to service the Indian clientele, they started making food with a lot more chilli to appeal to their palate. These were the first origins of Indo Chinese.This brought on a wave of the famous Hakka Chowmein/Hakka Noodles and Fried rice to India. 

Later, the second generation of Chinese settlers began migrating to other places in India and familiarised the places with Indo Chinese. In fact, the most famous dish, manchurian – cornflour coated balls that are deep fried and stirred in chinese sauces – is associated with Mumbai where Nelson Wang opened up China Garden and invented chicken Manchurian. Various vegetarian alternatives such as Gobi Manchurian, vegetable Manchurian and Paneer Manchurian were also made. This made for a perfect companion with drinks at bars and became very popular.

The Expansion

Indo Chinese cuisine is now a favourite. In fact, chowmein, fried rice and hakka noodles are common dishes sold by street vendors. So are more Indian variations like chinese bhel. It has achieved global recognition and is served in most countries of the world in restaurants set up by Indians.

Lala’s kitchen serves some amazing Indo Chinese dishes like Manchurian, paneer chilli, chicken chilli and many more too. So book a table and enjoy this mouth-watering mixed cuisine today.

Make Your Own Paneer / Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese or Paneer is a common ingredient in vegetarian Indian cuisine. Not only is this cheese delicious, it is healthy as well.

Cottage cheese is high in protein and hence is good for healthy bones and muscles. It is also great for weight loss and contains good fats and is thus used as a vegetarian option in diets such as Keto. Apart from this, it is a source of Vitamin D and contains antioxidants that help keep cell damage and Prostate Cancer at bay.

However, the best part is that you don’t need to go to the market to buy it because you can make your own at home.

While there are various ways to make cottage cheese, we are listing down 3 ways to make this super healthy dairy products.

Method 1:

Ingredients:

  • 1L whole milk
  • 4 drops liquid rennet
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream (or half and half)

Preparation:

  • Take a non-reactive saucepan and heat the milk at low heat until it reaches 85 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the rennet, gently for 2 minutes.
  • Cover the mixture with a clean towel and let it stand at room temperature for 4 hours.
  • The mixture would have now formed curds.
  • Cut the curds with the help of a knife and break them by cutting several times in one A and several times in the opposite direction.
  • Now sprinkle the salt and cook over low heat by stirring gently until the whey is not separated from the curd.
  • Strain the mixture in a strainer covered with cheesecloth and let it sit for a few hours, while stirring occasionally, so that soft curdles remain.
  • Place the curd in a clean bowl and add the cream to it.
  • Add salt as per taste.
  • Store in refrigerator or serve immediately.

Method 2:

Ingredients:

  • 3.8 L pasteurised skimmed milk
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream (or half and half)

Preparation:

  • Heat the milk on medium heat till it reaches 120 degree fahrenheit.
  • Now add vinegar to the saucepan and stir for 2 minutes.
  • Cover with a cloth and let the mixture rest for 30 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a strainer lined with cheesecloth and let the whey drain for 5 minutes.
  • Gather the edges of the cloth and hold the curds under a stream of cold water.
  • Then squeeze the curds in the cloth till dry.
  • Add in the cream and salt to taste.
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Method 3:

Ingredients:

  • 1L whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon citric acid or lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream (or half and half)

Preparation:

  • Heat the milk on medium heat till it is heated but doesn’t boil over.
  • Now add lemon juice in warm milk and stir for several minutes till the mixture curdles.
  • Cover with a cloth and let the mixture rest for an hour.
  • Pour the mixture into a strainer lined with cheesecloth and let the whey drain for 5 minutes.
  • Gather the edges of the cloth and hold the curds under a stream of cold water.
  • Then squeeze the curds in the cloth till dry.
  • Add in the cream and salt to taste.
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.

If you love cottage cheese and want to try it’s lip smacking Indian variations, we serve some amazing Paneer-based dishes for you to enjoy.

The Mythical Origin of Pani Puri

Pani Puri, Gol Gappa, Puchka, Gup Chup, Phulki – One delicacy with so many names. This Indian Street food will always leave you craving for more because of its low satiety quotient. Pani Puri is the tantalizing culinary chaos of flavours that tickles your taste buds. The puri is a crispy hollow ball made of semolina or wheat and filled with spicy potatoes. The puri is then filled with Pani – a tangy, spicy combination of tamarind water made fragrant by mint leaves and black salt. No one can actually pinpoint the origin of this lip-smacking delight but two stories always come to surface when spoken about the history of this heavenly spice affair.

Story 1 

It is believed that Pani Puri is the successor of Phulkis which first originated in Magadh. One of the 16 great ancient Indian kingdoms in Sanskrit, the kingdom of Magadh was situated on the banks of the holy Ganga river which is now what we call west-central Bihar.

Story 2

Here’s another story that comes from the legend of Mahabharata. This epic tale tells us that when the new-wedded bride Draupadi came home, Kunti wanted to test her daughter-in-law. She wanted to know if her daughter-in-law could manage the household with scarce resources as Pandavas were on exile at that time. Kunti gave Draupadi a few vegetables and leftover potatoes along with very little dough. 

Draupadi made round bread which was known as Puri with the help of that little dough and filled the vegetables and leftover potatoes in them. The Pandavas loved the dish and mother Kunti was happy to see her daughter-in-law succeed in the given task. 

This Indian delicacy has many names but has never seen even the slightest decrease in its popularity. Head over to Lala’s Kitchen now to have a blast of flavours by ordering the lip-smacking Pani Puris.

The Magic of Vegetarian Diet

Did you know processed meat including ham and bacon can cause cancer? Well, we are not saying this but it has been reported by the World Health Organisation. The study also suggests that even 50g of processed meat a day which is even less than two slices of bacon increases the chances of bowel cancer by 18%. We understand a vegetarian diet can be boring and has no variety like the choice of meat but there are ample reasons to go vegetarian.

Vegetarian diets not only help in weight loss and weight management but also combat many forms of chronic diseases and provide a healthy glow to your skin. A vegetarian diet is a perfect way to stay healthy and happy. A vegetarian diet is a complete balanced diet. It consists of fibre, vitamins C and E, folic acid, magnesium, unsaturated fat, and numerous phytochemicals. Many meat lovers would be surprised to know this but a vegetarian diet is considered to be more healthy than the non-vegetarian one.

Vegetarian food gets easily digested and vegetarians have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and also there is a reduction in heart diseases. Here are some of the reasons proving the magical power of vegetarian food that might make you swap your beef burger for a beet burger.

Gut Health

We are what we eat. We know about the bacteria in our digestive system but very few of us actually notice the great relationship shared between good bacteria and a healthy diet. Plant-based foods support a diverse microbiome which is associated with good health. The vegetarian diet provides us with the bacteria that support our immune system, reduce inflammation, regulate ghrelin and the hunger hormone.

Glowing Skin

Vegetarian diet not only improves internal but also external health. If you swap your dairy products, sugar, and high-glycemic foods for carotenoid-packed vegetables, it will work wonders for your skin. The dark green, red and orange hue veggies are known to have vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that give you healthy hair, glowing skin and rich nails.

For rich and healthy scrumptious vegetarian options visit Lala’s Kitchen – the Indian restaurant in Australia.

Naan

The Curious History of Classy, Soft and Pillowy Indian-Style Flatbread- Naan

Whether it’s a cheese,  garlic-scented fluffy naan to the minced-meat-stuffed keema, for many, an Indian meal isn’t complete without a fresh naan bread.  It is a bread with an illustrious history and one that has seen a great deal of change over the years.

Here are some reasons why Naan bread is one of the most popular Indian foods:

  • The naan dough is composed of flour, water, yoghurt, and yeast, then traditionally cooked in the tandoor oven. It’s served warm with any Indian curry. The hotter the naan, the fresher it is.
  • It’s gooey, which is the best texture for any doughy bread.
  • It’s versatile. It is just one among plenty of delicious Asian bread.
  • Some examples are:

Chapati: This Indian flatbread is made combining the same flour for Naan with water and salt, but without yeast.

Paratha: It is a traditional bread famous in many regions of South-East Asia. The dough is made with flour, water, and vegetable oil, then cooked in Tawa, the Indian cast iron skillet.

At Lala’s Kitchen, we serve a variety of naan with authentic Indian cuisine. We serve laccha paratha, plain naan, butter and garlic naan, chilli cheese naan and more.  Visit our restaurant, order our authentic Indian gravy and have our naan your way!

  • You definitely won’t be hungry after eating a meal with naan, or even on its own.
  • It’s perfect for dipping. Indian cuisine is all about varieties and naan is the perfect food to soak up delicious sauces, curries, and those last few flavours on your plate.
  • It’s for everyone. Whether you’re an adventurous or picky eater, naan caters to every type of diner. Kids love it, too!
  • It’s authentic. Naan is a cultural Indian staple cuisine. It is traditionally cooked in a clay tandoor oven, as with many other meats and dishes.
  • It’s delicious. This bubbly flatbread tastes oh so good! Between the cooking technique, the preparation, and the fixings, naan is one of those foods you can’t resist.

Looking for authentic Indian curries and dishes to accompany your curry and naan? Visit Lala’s Kitchen.

Recipe: Lip Smacking Chicken Tikka

Ingredients

  • 1kg chicken fillets, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup yoghurt
  • 2½ teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 2½ teaspoons fresh garlic, crushed
  • vegetable oil
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons Indian spice mix
  • ½ teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 pinches of turmeric powder

To Garnish:

  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • onion rings
  • fresh coriander, chopped

Method

  • First, blend the natural yoghurt and add all the Indian spices including cumin seeds, ginger and garlic paste, salt, hot chilli powder, turmeric powder. Mix well and add some vegetable oil with other marinade ingredients.
  • Now add the chicken fillets and ensure that they get well covered with the marinade. Take this mixture into a bowl and cover it. Put this into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Prepare an oven to 180° C. Place a couple of charcoal pieces on a metal plate at the bottom of the oven. It will give you a little smokey flavour.
  • Place the chicken fillets on a rack with a drip tray underneath and slide onto the middle shelf of the oven.
  • Cook for at least 15-20 minutes till it became brown in texture. Now your chicken tikkas are ready to serve. Sprinkle with lemon juice and black pepper. Garnished it with onion rings and fresh coriander.

Authentic Tandoori Dishes to Try at Lala’s Kitchen

So are you craving for authentic and delicious tandoori dishes? At Lala’s Kitchen in Melbourne, we bring you the different types of tandoori dishes that you will like to try. These dishes are cooked with Authentic Indian recipes and style.

Lala’s Kitchen has established a reputation of excellence in providing delicious food since our inception.

We have various types of Tandoori dishes are present in our menu.

Authentic-Tandoori-Dishes

1. Sizzling Tandoori Platter


Love fish tikka, Seekh kebab and chicken tikka? Then you must try our sizzling tandoori platter dish. Fish pieces, chicken pieces, Seekh kebabs are grilled on tandoor, and then it is marinated with authentic spices. Also, we can customise our meals according to our customer’s taste.

2. Tandoori Paneer Tikka


Who doesn’t love this bite-size deliciousness? Indian cottage cheese perfectly grilled and marinated with Delicious, soft, juicy chunks of paneer marinated in tandoori masala and then cooked with veggies.

3. Tandoori Chicken

This heavenly delicious curried chicken is everyone’s favourite.

4. Tandoori Chicken Tikka

It is also known as “the king of all tikas”. Everyone loves the smoky flavour of barbecued chicken which is marinated in yoghurt, garlic and ginger chilli, butter and cumin.

All Tandoori dishes are served in Indian style. You can also order rice, vegetables, curry, naan and a green salad. Despite this, our menu also includes a variety of dishes.

Planning For Out Dinner?

Lets us bring real Indian taste to your table. Lala’s Kitchen is here to serve you in Melbourne. Hurry up!

indian restaurant bentleigh

Do You know Why Indian Food is So Delicious? Here’s the Answer.

Indian food is famous all over the world including in Australia. Plenty of fine dining Indian restaurants in Melbourne and Boronia are serving authentic Indian cuisine.  But do you know what makes them so delicious and mouth-watering? 

It’s a fact that Indian kitchen taste is exclusive than others.

Widely loved for its curries, mouth-watering street food and savoury mix of spices, Indian food is much loved around the world. Its flavours are complex, oscillating between sweet, tangy and spicy; its textures meld creamy sauces with doughy pieces of bread and tender meat and vegetables to make the slope of dreams. It’s divine.

What about the perfect blend of sweet, tangy and spicy flavours in Indian food?

But you must have a question that what’s that magical ingredient that makes Indian food delicious and so tasty at all the time? The scientists were wondering too about this question, and they do have the answers.

According to the researchers, 2500 Indian recipes helped to extract 194 different ingredients. The researchers further created a network. Under this network, all the ingredients were categorised as positive or negative, depending upon their usage and taste in the recipe. If more ingredients have shared flavour compounds, they were classified as positive, while others were mentioned in the negative category.

They analysed each of the recipe ingredients by ingredient and then compared how often and heavily those ingredients influenced the flavour.

Here is what the researchers said on why Indian food taste so uniquely good – opposites attract!

“When it comes to food, it is believed that it tastes best when made with ingredients that have common overlapping flavour compounds.

Visit Lala’s Kitchen and try our authentic Indian dishes prepared with traditional recipes. Contact us for more information.

Top 4 Indian Dishes that Every Vegetarian Loves!

Indian cuisine is diverse; it has something for every taste palate. It does not matter whether you are a non-vegetarian, pescetarian, vegetarian or a vegan; you will always get a delicious option that suits your eating preferences. And as far as vegetarian options are concerned, Indian cuisine leaves everything behind. Loaded with exquisite flavours, and exotic spices, the Indian meatless meals are second to none! Here, we have listed down the top 4 dishes that are popular among the vegetarians visiting our restaurant:

1. Dal Tadka

Delicious and nutritious, Dal Tadka is a classic example of how a combination of flavoursome ingredients and spices can turn a pot of lentils into a culinary delight. Assorted lentils are cooked in spicy and tangy onion-tomato curry. The tempering of clarified butter, cumin seeds and a dash of Asofetida gives dal tadka a distinctive flavour. Simple and easy on the stomach, this dish is served with piping hot cumin-flavoured rice.

2. Malai Kofta
A popular choice among the vegetarians, Malai Kofta, is a delicious alternative for meatballs. Crumbled cottage cheese (paneer) and potato seasoned with herbs are rolled into medium balls and then deep fried. A tangy, spicy, creamy and slightly sweet curry is poured on these balls and served hot with a variety of Indian bread.
Malai Kofta
3. Aloo Paratha

A typical breakfast in the Northern parts of India, this stuffed flatbread is every vegetarian’s delight! A mixture of potato, onion, finely chopped green chillies seasoned with a variety of Indian spices is stuffed in a flatbread. It tastes best when served with a knob of home-made butter, chilled yogurt and peppery green chutney.

4. Dal Makhani

Tangy, creamy and rich in flavours; Dal Makhani is one of the most popular dishes among many vegetarians. Black lentils and kidney beans are cooked in an aromatic curry made from tomato, onion and other Indian herbs. A generous amount of thick, fresh cream is added to the mixture which gives this dish its distinctive flavour and texture! Whenever someone says Indian food, the first image that comes is of Butter Chicken or Tandoori Chicken. However, it is not always about chicken.

There are a variety of scrumptious vegetarian meals that will leave you with an unforgettable culinary experience.
So, next time when you have a strong craving for a delicious vegetarian meal, you know where to stop by!

These 4 Gujarati dishes are popular on the Indian wedding catering menu!

Gujarati cuisine needs no introduction. Sweet, savoury, tangy and spicy – Gujarati dishes bring different flavours on one platter. Typically consisting of vegetarian dishes, Gujarati dishes are favourite among the growing Indian community in Melbourne. Many Indian wedding catering services in Melbourne now includes the delicious recipes from Gujarat on their menu. Let’s see some of the most popular Gujarati dishes that have found a place in the menu of Indian catering services.

1.  Undhiyu Puri

Undhiyu Puri has become synonymous with Gujarat. Delicious and flavoursome, this winter delicacy is prepared from assorted vegetables, stuffed with a mixture of coarse groundnut powder, ginger-garlic and spices. Served with piping hot puris (Indian deep-fried bread), Undhiyu will make you forget everything and relish its sweet, spicy and savoury flavours.


2. Gujarati Kadhi

Every Gujarati will vouch for this thick-soup like curry. Prepared from gram flour mixed with sour card, this curry gets its sweetness from jaggery, its savoury flavour from whole spices like cinnamon, cloves and cumin, and the spicy taste from green chillies. Popular as comfort food, Kadhi is usually served with piping hot khichdi or rice.


3. Lilva Kachori

This crunchy snack is perfect for a rainy evening. Lilva kachori is a favourite dish among the Gujarati residing in Melbourne. Stuffed with pigeon peas and mixed with freshly ground spices, these dumplings are deep fried and served with tangy chutney or tomato ketchup.


4. Sev Tameta Nu Shaak

Quintessentially a Kathiyawadi (a region in the state of Gujarat) dish, this sweet, tangy and spicy curry is made from tomatoes and sev – crispy Indian noodles. Simple to prepare and delicious to eat, this dish ticks all the checkboxes – flavour, texture, crunch. It tastes best when served with any Indian bread – roti, paratha or thepla.

The Indian community in Melbourne is growing fast. And Indians, especially Gujaratis have distinctive eating habits than others groups in Melbourne. We offer exclusive catering services that include authentic Gujarati food to suit the taste-buds of growing Gujarati population in Melbourne.

If you’re looking for an experienced Indian caterer in Melbourne, call us 03 9532 1579!