This is another One-dish meal for the family. Noodles dishes in whatever form and style are popular meals with both kids and adults. When you are in hurry to serve a quick meal, use any type of meat and leafy green vegetable as substitutes.
Although this recipe calls for fresh Hokkien Mee (this type of noodle comes in 3 different forms. Noodles which are thin and round, fat and round or flat. Think of spaghettini, spaghetti and fettuccine. Any one will do). You can easily substitute fresh Hokkien Noodles with any type of re-constituted dry noodles currently sitting in your larder. The taste will vary but it will still be delicious.
In a traditional Chinese family, when someone’s birthday is being celebrated, a plate of noodles is a MUST. You are expressing your wish for a good and long life for the celebrant.
For those on a Gluten Free Diet, some suggestions on how to turn this recipe gluten free are made at the end of this article.
1. Microwave Noodles.
Many recipes instruct blanching all types of fresh noodles in boiling water as the first preparation step. This causes the noodles to stick together unless more oil is mixed in after blanching.
My quick and easy method is to place the noodles in a microwaveable dish, sprinkle with 2 Tbsp water, cover and heat it for 3 to 5 mins at the high setting (the wattage of your microwave oven determines the length of time). This loosens and heats noodles for easy stir fry. It also shortens the time needed to stir fry noodle as it is already hot when it is added to the pan. Too much stir frying breaks up the noodle!
Follow photos and description below.
Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp. water over the clump of noodles. Cover and microwave on high for 2 mins. Do this step even when noodles are not in a clump.
After 2 mins of heating on high, un-cover and loosen noodles with chopsticks. Return to microwave oven, cover and re-heat for 3 to 5 mins on high.
Now, noodles are hot and ready to be added to wok with other ingredients for end stage of frying any noodle dish. Keep it covered in the microwave to keep hot till your other ingredients are cooked and ready for addition of noodle.
2. Preparing Garnishes
Most children shy away from strong flavoured spring onions and fresh cilantro. Garnishes are not absolutely necessary but it is a must in my family. They are what makes the dish distinctly S E Asian.
Fresh cilantro and spring onions are washed and left for a while to drain. Cut off their roots. Cilantro leaves are plucked off and the stalks finely chopped, Spring onions are cut crosswise into 3 to 4 cm lengths and shredded. Packets of ready fried shallots may be purchased at local wet markets or supermarkets. If you are living in the US, Australia or Europe, you will find them at Asian groceries. When you or your helper have a little time to spare to make fried shallots, click here for my post on “Fried shallots and Oil”.
Locally, there are 2 types of fresh red chillies. The larger chilly is much milder. Removing the seeds of both types of chillies reduces the spiciness. Slice thinly but diagonally. Some like it with a Tbsp of light soy sauce or fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice in a small sauce dish.
3. Preparing the other ingredients.
Photo above shows Chinese vegetable called “Chye Sim” (“Choy Sum” in Cantonese 菜心). You can substitute with bok choy or a variety called Chinensis 小白菜. If the stem of your leafy green vegetable is thick, slice it. Always separate leaves from stalks as stalks are added into wok first.
In Malaysia and Singapore, fish cake is available both at wet markets and the supermarkets as fresh (whitish discs and soaking in water) or fried fish cakes. For convenience, I buy fried fish cake. There are several forms of fried fish cake. The one in the photo is just one of the several types of fried fish cake.
For fried noodles, you can use any size of prawns. If yours are large, then de-vein and cut into smaller pieces.
HINT. If prawns are not available you can substitute it with more pork or fish cake and add about 100 ml of prawn stock into the Sauce. Click here for “Quick and Easy Prawn Stock”.
The set of 4 photos below illustrate, step by step, the order in which each ingredient should be added to cook this noodle dish.
STEP 1. Heat wok over medium high heat. Add chopped garlic and stir quickly to lightly brown garlic. Take care not to burn. Stainless steel woks tends to burn ingredients easily.
STEP 2. Fry sliced pork first. Fry for 2 mins or so. Add the seasoned prawns when pork is almost cooked (pork is slightly pink).
STEP 3. Once prawns turn slightly pink, add the sliced fish cake.
If you notice that the sides of your wok is beginning to burn, lower heat and sprinkle about 1 to 2 Tbsp. water on the burnt parts and scrape with your spatula and stir ingredients around. Lower heat to the lowest setting. Lift ingredients onto a plate and set aside.
STEP 4. Add about 2 Tbsp of oil into wok followed by the loosened noodles. Fry for a min or two. Push noodles to one side of the wok and add in the vegetable stalks, fry a short while, then add the leaves and the bean sprouts.
Add Sauce and use the noodles to cover these vegetables so it “steams” the vegetables for 2 mins. Add the ingredients which has earlier been set aside. Note how much sauce is in the wok at this stage. You might want to add some more water or Prawn Stock as noodles continue to absorb sauce even after it has been plated. Fry to mix. Switch off the heat. Plate and garnish.
Serves 4 to 6 persons.
- 150 gm thinly sliced Pork
- 100 gm fresh medium sized prawns, shelled and gutted
- 1 piece fish cake, sliced
- 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 100 gm Chye Sim, washed and cut
- 250 gm bean sprouts, washed and plucked
- 500 gm Hokkein Mee, loosened in microwave
- Cooking oil
Sauce Ingredients (Combine in a bowl)
- 1 Tbsp light soy
- ½ Tbsp dark soy
- ½ Tbsp oyster/abalone sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- 250 ml water (may require 50 to 100 ml more depending on the evaporation in the wok)
- 1 Tbsp Fried shallots
- ½ Tbsp Fried Garlic bits
- 1 to 2 thinly sliced Red chillies
- Chopped Spring onions
- Chopped fresh cilantro
1. Make sure you have sliced the piece of pork across the grain. If prawns are large, just cut into smaller pieces.
2. Heat wok, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. oil. Swivel oil in wok to coat sides as well. Fry garlic till lightly golden. Add sliced Pork, fry for 2 min, add prawns and fish cake. Don’t overcook ingredients as they will go into the wok again later. Remove and set aside.
3. Add Chye Sim stalks into wok. Fry for a min. or so, add noodles. Fry for 2 mins to mix. Push to one side of wok, add bean sprouts and chye sim leaves. Cover both vegetables with the noodles and Chye Sim stalks. Add the cooked items from Step 2.
4. Pour bowl of sauce into the wok and raise heat to high. Once sauce heats up, stir fry all the ingredients for 2 to 3 mins. There should be sufficient gravy in the wok. (Bear in mind that as the noodle sits in the serving plate, the noodles do absorb some the gravy). If not, pour in another 50 to 100 ml more water or stock into wok. Heat to bring to boil again. Switch off heat.
5. Plate, garnish and serve.
People suffering from Coeliac disease have to be on a gluten free diet. A low or gluten free diet seems to be catching on nowadays with those who don’t suffer from that disease. A few reports have given this type of diet thumbs up for skin allergies. I can’t verify this personally.
One of my relatives who has put her entire family on this diet has shared with me a brand of spaghetti that she has found to be acceptable. This is an excellent substitute for Hokkein Mee. Personally, I prefer using cooked spaghetti to make fried noodles instead of Hokkein Mee. This gluten free product fits the bill. Dried Rice noodles like the one for Phad Thai can also be used as a replacement. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
The next ingredient you will have to exercise some caution over is Soy Sauce. Kikkoman now produces a soy sauce that is gluten free but I am not sure that you can buy it in Singapore. You can substitute with San-J Organic Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce which has a richer and milder taste than regular soy sauce. “Brown Rice Paradise” and the Jelita Branch of “Cold Storage” carries some gluten free products. As a last resort, substitute Soy Sauce with salt.
Be aware that Oyster Sauce is not gluten free and neither are many types of Fish Sauce.
Thickeners and preservatives tend to contain some form of gluten. I am afraid that more research will have to go into eating out at food courts and hawker centres in Singapore and Malaysia.
When you serve this dish, how about including a bowl of nourishing Chinese Soup like one of these listed below?
1. Jin Hua Ham and Winter Melon Soup. Click here.
2. Lotus Root, Peanut and Pork Ribs. Click here
3. Radishes and Dried Squid. Click here.
4. Pork Stomach with Peppercorn. Click here
5. Tang Ho with Fishballs. Click here