My early childhood memories of Bee Tai Mak does not conjure up something too pleasant. Really can’t blame the cook since it was something which was served to all of us kids who were ill. Nothing could have tasted good when our taste buds were playing tricks on us. Thinking about that comfort food now, a bowl of steaming hot Bee Tai Mak served in chicken or pork broth couldn’t have tasted that bad. It took a trip to Seremban in the early 1970’s to change my mind about how good Bee Tai Mak can taste. I was a guest at my classmate’s home-town. Her very hospitable mum insisted that we should try one of their famous local breakfast fare. Loh Shi Fun (老鼠粉) is the Cantonese name for this rice noodle. It was served without broth but with a mouth-watering topping of minced pork cooked with dark soy sauce. I enjoyed that breakfast.
In my bid to serve my hungry kids a variety of nutritious One-dish meals which is quick and easy to put together, I came up with this recipe. Their bowl of dry Bee Tai Mak looked a little different than the photo above. As I was assembling the dish for this post, I decided to give the presentation a new spin to bring it more in-line with our contemporary style of platting. Impress not only your family with a delicious bowl of Dry Bee Tai Mak.
If you host ladies to a light local lunch, try presenting it in this manner but with a precursor of a hot bowl of Chinese soup (some suggestions and links have been given below). If you are inclined to include another dish, at the wet markets in Singapore or Malaysia, freshly prepared pieces of Yong Tau Foo are easily purchased, steamed and served with some commercially prepared hoisin sauce and chicken rice chilly. Suggestions for several types of desserts are also given below.
For those who are on a low gluten diet, Bee Tai Mak is made mainly from rice and cornflour. Use it was a substitute for noodles made from wheat flour.
Come, let’s get cooking!
Some comments about the Ingredients
The sauce uses some strong flavoured ingredients like black vinegar and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. Hence, mince pork can easily be substituted with minced chicken or beef. Save the soaking liquid of the shitake mushrooms. Not in the photo above are other ingredients like Tau Kwa and Taugeh (bean sprouts).
HINT: Lea & Perrins and Chinkiang Black Vinegar are both gluten free.
Pressed Tofu is found on most supermarket shelf. It is firmer than Tofu which is not a good substitute. Tau Kwa, although firmer can also be a substitute. If neither Pressed Tofu nor Tau Kwa is available. just use more minced meat. Similarly, vegetarians can substitute the meat with pressed tofu.
HINT: I made a call to Unicurd, a Singapore tofu factory making many types of tofu products and they confirmed that all their products are GF. Perhaps in the near future they should label all their products GF.
Prepare all the ingredients as described, placing each in an individual container. Assembling all ingredients next to the stove before proceeding to cook is a good habit.
HINT: If you are lacking counter space, try using a very large metal tray to hold all dry ingredients in various sections on that metal try. Metal is a better material to use as this tray will be placed near the stove. The heat from the stove may damage a plastic or melamine tray.
STEP 1. Heat wok, add 2 Tbsp oil and continue to heat over medium high heat. Only pan fry the tofu cubes once oil is hot (not burning!).
Let the tofu cubes develop a light golden crust before flipping cubes to fry uncooked edges. See Photo below.
Remove fried tofu cubes to a separate plate and set aside.
STEP 2. Add 2 Tbsp. oil into wok over medium high heat. Fry chopped onions till they are soft – about 4 to 5 mins.
STEP 3. Shitake mushroom cubes are the next to be added into wok. Stir fry till a fragrant aroma wafts the air.
STEP 4. Seasoned minced meat goes into wok next. Stir to caramelise meat. Pour in about 2/3 to 1 cup soaking liquid from mushrooms and cook covered for 7 to 10 mins. Check to make sure meat is cooked. If you have used minced beef, you might have a add another 1/4 cup of water and cook covered for a further 10 mins to tenderise beef.
STEP 5. Whilst meat is cooking in the wok, open the pack of Bee Tai Mak and place it in a microwavable dish. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of water, stir to mix, cover and microwave on high for about 3 mins. Watch out for steam when you open cover! Check to see that noodle has loosened and hot.
STEP 6. Uncover wok when meat is cooked. Add fried Tofu cubes and stir to mix well. Push all ingredients to one side. Thicken sauce with the cornflour and water mixture. Continue to cook till sauce thickens and turns from cloudy to clear indicating that cornflour is cooked. Scoop out and fill a large bowl in readiness to assemble this dish.
HINT: This meat sauce can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated for 3 days ahead of time.
STEP 7. Blanch cleaned and tailed bean sprouts in water that is on rolling boil in the wok. Stir and immerse for no more than 1 min. Drain immediately.
STEP 8. ASSEMBLE Dry Bee Tai Mak.
Start with blanched bean sprouts, next is the heated Bee Tai Mak, then the Tofu Meat sauce. Top with shredded cucumber and sliced cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with a few drops of sesame oil. Garnish with fried shallots, chopped spring onions and cilantro.
Adults usually like their Dry Bee Tai Mak with a small dish of sambal chilly.
SERVES 4 persons
- 1 Pack of Mee Tai Mak
- 200 gm minced meat ( pork, chicken or beef)
- 1 pack Pressed Tofu (or 2 small tau kwa), cubed
- 3 to 4 re-constituted dried shitake mushrooms, cubed
- 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 pack bean sprouts, washed and tailed
- 1 Japanese cucumber, shredded
- 10 to 12 pieces of tomato cherries, halved
- sesame oil
- cooking oil
Marinate for Meat (mix and set aside for 15 mins)
- 1/4 cup black vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Ground Pepper to taste
- 1 1/4 Tbsp corn flour
- 3 Tbsp water
- fried shallots
- chopped spring onions
- chopped cilantro
- 2 Tsp black vinegar
- 1 tsp Lea & Perrins
- 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 Red chilly, shredded
1. Marinade the meat and prepare all the ingredients and sauces. Save 1 Cup of the soaking liquid of the dried shitake mushrooms.
2. Heat the wok. Add 2 Tbsp oil. Once oil is heated, fry the pressed tofu cubes till one side if lightly golden. Then, flip to cook the other edges. Lift fried cubes onto a plate and set aside.
3. Heat wok again and add 2 Tbsp oil. Fry the ingredients in the order as shown in the photos above.
4. Assemble onto individual deep plates or in bowls. Most adults like garnishes and the serving sauce with their Dry Bee Tai Mak. Sambal chilli sauce if that is available.
Quick Meal. Even though this is a One DIsh Meal (ODM), many people enjoy it accompanied with a bowl of Chinese Soup. Some of my posts have been listed below. Cook a soup that will use up those ingredients already in your fridge.
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
A plate of cold, freshly cut seasonal fruits is always appropriate. Perhaps you had time to make a dessert like one of the 2 listed below? Either of them is most suited to our hot tropical climate.
1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.
2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.
3. Sweet Potato Dessert Soup. Click here.
4. Sago Pudding. Click here.
5. Orange Agar Agar. Click here