Indian Chinese cuisine

Indian Chinese cuisine or Indo-Chinese cuisine or Sino-Indian cuisine and also Chindian cuisine, is a distinct cuisine formed through the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes through a larger offering to also include vegetarian dishes and was developed by the ethnic Chinese community of Kolkata over the course of a century.[1] Today, Chinese food is an integral part of the Indian and Bangladeshi culinary scenes.[2] It has for decades been enjoyed by overseas Indian communities in North America and Great Britain and in the 2010s became a mainstream cuisine in the latter.[3]


The cuisine has originated from the Chinese of Kolkata and Chinese food is still popular there. At present, the Chinese population in Kolkata is approximately 2,000.[4] Most of these people are of Hakka origin; however, many dishes of modern Indian Chinese cuisine bear little resemblance to traditional Chinese cuisine.[5]

People of Chinese origin mostly live in India's only Chinatown located around Tiretta Bazaar and Bowbazar area, which has since been relocated to Tangra, Kolkata. Most of these immigrants were Hakka. Chinatown in Kolkata still boasts a number of Chinese restaurants specialising in Hakka cuisine and Indian Chinese variants.[citation needed]


Foods tend to be flavoured with spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, and turmeric, which with a few regional exceptions, such as Xinjiang, are traditionally not associated with much of Chinese cuisine. Hot chilli, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, dry red chilis, black pepper corns and yogurt are also frequently used in dishes.[6] This makes Indian Chinese food similar in taste to many ethnic dishes in Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, which have strong Chinese and Indian cultural influences.[citation needed]

Non-staple dishes are by default served with generous helpings of gravy, although they can also be ordered "dry" or "without gravy". Culinary styles often seen in Indian Chinese fare include "Chili" (implying batter-fried items cooked with pieces of chili pepper), "Manchurian" (implying a sweet and salty brown sauce), and "Schezwan" (sic - see below) (implying a spicy red sauce).


Main Course entreesEdit

Ubiquitous main course entrees include:

  • Chilli Chicken/Prawn/Fish/Mutton/Vegetables/Paneer, dry or gravy
  • Garlic Chicken/Prawn/Fish/Mutton/Vegetables/Paneer
  • Schezwan (sic) Chicken/Prawn/Fish/Mutton/Vegetables/Paneer - dishes with this name in fact usually bear very little resemblance to ones from China's Sichuan Province (although they sometimes contain Sichuan peppercorns). They instead center mainly around a sauce containing Indian red chillies and garlic. (The spelling of "Schezwan" is not a mis-print; this is indeed how the term tends to be spelled in the Indo-Chinese kitchen rather than "Sichuan", "Szechuan" or "Szechwan").[7]
  • Ginger Chicken/Prawn/Fish/Mutton/Vegetables/Paneer
  • Manchurian Chicken/Prawn/Fish/Mutton/Vegetables/Paneer, generally consisting of a variety of meats or paneer with vegetables in a spicy brown sauce.[8] It is basically a creation of Chinese restaurants in India, and bears little resemblance to traditional Manchu cuisine or Chinese cuisine.[5] It is said to have been invented in 1975 by Nelson Wang; Wang described his invention process as starting from the basic ingredients of an Indian dish, namely chopped garlic, ginger, and green chilis, but next, instead of adding garam masala, he put in soy sauce instead, followed by cornstarch and the chicken itself.[9] A popular vegetarian variant replaces chicken with cauliflower,[8] and is commonly known as gobi manchurian. Other vegetarian variants include mushroom, baby corn, veggie ball Manchurian.[citation needed]
  • Chow mein A popular dish combining noodles, vegetables, scrambled egg, ginger and garlic, soy sauce, green chili sauce, red chili sauce and vinegar
  • Hong Kong Chicken
  • Jalfrezi Chicken
  • Lemon Chicken/Prawn/Fish
  • Hunan Chicken
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken (Different from the American Version of Sweet and Sour, but similar to General Tso's Chicken)
  • Chop suey American style & Chinese Style (Crispy Noodles with a variety of vegetables, chicken or meat and sauces.)

Often the nomenclature is such that the main ingredient is mentioned first, followed by the entree style such as "Chicken Chilli."

Rice and noodlesEdit

Staple base options for an Indian Chinese meal include chicken, shrimp or vegetable variants of "Hakka" or "Schezwan" noodles popularly referred to as chow mein; and regular or "Schezwan" fried rice. American chop suey and sweet and sour dishes can be found at many restaurants. Some South Indian restaurants have also come up with spring rolls and "Schezwan" dosas.

Unique dishesEdit

Sweets and dessertsEdit

Indian Chinese dessert options include ice cream on honey-fried noodles or date pancakes.


Indian Chinese food is readily available in major metropolitan areas of India such as Bhopal, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Kochi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata and Bangalore. It is also available in a number of towns and at dhabas (roadside stalls), also popularly referred to as "Fast food", adjacent to major Indian roads and highways. Many restaurants have a Chinese section in their menus, and some are even dedicated to serving Indian Chinese food. It can also be found in mobile kitchen carts (lari or rekdi) that ply the streets of cities, prepared in woks over a portable gas burner. Manchurian sauce, Schezwan sauce, soy sauce and Hakka noodles are available in many stores in cities across the country.

Many overseas Indian restaurants in the West and the Middle East also cater to the overseas Indians' nostalgic taste for Indian Chinese food.[10] The cuisine is also branching out into the mainstream in major cities of North America, such as New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix and Vancouver. Chinese food in Nairobi, Kenya, also tends to be of this style. It is also available in Australia, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. In many of these places, the restaurants are labelled as Hakka Chinese, when in fact the cuisine itself has very little resemblance to authentic Hakka cuisine. "Hakka" label in these restaurants are usually referring to the owner's origins, and many Chinese restaurant owners in India were of Hakka origin.[citation needed]

Hakka cuisine has since, rapidly been popularized in the west, especially in Ontario, Canada in restaurants like Super Hakka, or Indian-Chinese Hamilton Hakka .

As of 2007, Chinese cuisine ranks India's most favourite cuisine (after local food), growing at 9% annually. It is the most favoured option when young people go out to eat and the second favorite (after south Indian cuisine) when families dine out.[11] Inchin's Bamboo Garden is the biggest Indian Chinese chain in America.

Indian Chinese cuisine is also gaining popularity in the Kansai region of Japan.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sankar, Amal (December 2017). "Creation of Indian–Chinese cuisine: Chinese food in an Indian city". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 4 (4): 268–273. doi:10.1016/j.jef.2017.10.002.
  2. ^ Sanjeev Kapoor (2007). Chinese Cooking ( Non-Veg). Popular Prakashan. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-7991-310-9.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Chinese Of Calcutta". Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  5. ^ a b Mukherjee, Sipra; Gooptu, Sarvani. "The Chinese community of Calcutta". In Banerjee, Himadri (ed.). Calcutta Mosaic: Essays and Interviews on the Minority Communities of Calcutta. Anthem Press. pp. 131–142. ISBN 978-81-905835-5-8.
  6. ^ Deshpande, Shubada (October 25, 1999). "Fare for the Desi Dragon". Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  7. ^ Lee, Jennifer (April 30, 2013). "Authentic Indian "Schezwan" Dishes". The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.
  8. ^ a b "Manchurian chicken". The Straits Times. 2007-06-03. p. 77 – via NewspaperSG, National Library Board.
    Thng, Lay Teen (2007-06-03). "Manchurian chicken". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  9. ^ Bhagat, Rasheeda (2007-05-04). "Taste and disdain … A tour of the country's interesting eating habits with a roving journalist". The Hindu Businessline. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  10. ^ Chopra, Sonia (September 3, 2001). "Chinese food, Indian-style". (US Edition). Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  11. ^ M, Raja (October 30, 2007). "India gets a taste for Chinese". Asia Times Online. Retrieved 2009-02-22.

External linksEdit