When I was growing up, my Hokkien grandmother would often cook Hokkien mee for us during gatherings. My brother especially loves these noodles and would slurp up bowl after bowl. Hokkien mee can refer to Hokkien hae mee (from Penang) or Hokkien char mee (fried noodles from KL), and the one my grandmother makes is the latter.
KL Hokkien Mee
A typical plate of Hokkien mee consists of thick yellow noodles in dark soy sauce, pork slices, prawns, fish cake slices, vegetable (usually choy sum) and chee yau char 豬油渣 (pork fat/lard fritters). Kim Lian Kee in Petaling Street, which has been run by the Lee family since the 1920s claims to be the first to serve Hokkien-style fried mee in Kuala Lumpur. I have tried their charcoal fried Hokkien mee before at Lot 10 Hutong, and I have to say it's really good. They attribute the noodle's fragrant aroma to the addition of thick prawn shell soup, flounder powder, pork lard and other flavourings.
Topped with extra chee yau char
First the pork slices are marinated in ginger wine to tenderize and flavour it. In the meantime, I shallow fried the pork lard cubes in some oil until crispy. I think this is my first time cooking with pork lard, I usually avoid it for health reasons but for KL Hokkien mee, this is an essential ingredient. You only need to use a little oil, and once the fritters are ready, you will see that it has released quite a lot of oil which will be used to cook your Hokkien mee - this is what makes your noodles slick and fragrant.
Then, the pork slices are fried and one of the secret ingredient is added - dried sole / flounder powder. If you cannot find this, I guess you can substitute with chicken stock granules as the seasoning. Water, dark soy sauce and light soy sauce are added, then the yellow noodles will be braised for about 10-15 minutes. Finally, the other ingredients which require little cooking such as fish cake, prawns and vegetables are added. The noodles are served on a banana leaf (just like Kim Lian Kee does) with a sambal paste with calamansi accompaniment (just like Kwai Lam does).
I think this is the third time my kids have eaten Hokkien mee, but this is the first time I have seen them enjoying it so much. Even before I finished snapping photographs, they were asking for a second helping. Both kids gave their "little thumbs up" to this dish. I was happy with the dish, it had the requisite flavours and textures of the KL Hokkien mee and was less oily than hawker versions. The only thing missing is probably the "wok hei" since I cook with induction and not gas.
Sambal chilli paste with limau kasturi (calamansi)
Fried KL Hokkien Mee 福建面
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
1/2 bulb garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, sliced
65g pork lard/fat, cut into cubes
130g pork loin, sliced
70g fish cake
10 large prawns
100g choy sum 菜心
400g yellow noodles, rinsed
1 tsp dried sole powder
1 tsp ginger wine
3 tsp dark soy/caramel sauce
2 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking oil
1-2 banana leaf, to fit the plate
2 tsp sambal chilli
1 lime, halved
1. Marinate the pork slices with 1/2 teaspoon ginger wine and 1/2 teaspoon, for about 5-10 minutes. Similarly, add 1/2 teaspoon ginger wine to the prawns, this will give them a more taut texture.
2. In a large wok, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork fat and fry until golden, this will take about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. Using the same wok, add the garlic and shallot and stir fry until golden, they will brown pretty quickly, so keep an eye. Once golden, add the dried sole powder and pork loin and stir fry until the pork is browned, about 1 minute. Add half the fried pork fat (from Step 2) at this point.
4. Add water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the dark caramel sauce and light soy sauce and mix, then followed by the noodles. Braise over medium heat, with cover on, for at least 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, test a strand to see if texture is to your liking - it should be slightly springy. I braised my noodles for about 15 minutes, there will still be just a little gravy left. If it looks too dry, add a little more water and allow to braise a little longer.
5. Add the fish cake and prawns, and cook for 2 minutes, with cover on, until cooked. Add the choy sum and stir fry for about 1 minute. Taste and season as required.
6. Place a banana leaf on the plate, then serve the Hokkien mee on the banana leaf, and top with remaining chee yau char. Serve the sambal chilli on the side, with the lime. Squeeze lime juice into the sambal paste just before eating.
A plate of glistening KL Hokkien mee
He's loving it
Hehe cute "dirty" face (muka comot)
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*I am submitting this to Little Thumb's Up "Ginger" event hosted by Alvin @ Chef and Sommelier.