Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Prawn Noodles

Hokkien Prawn Noodles / Har Mee

A mainstay of the street food scene in Singapore and Malaysia. The dish is Hokkien noodles served in a stock that is made with pork bones and prawn heads/shells which gives it its unique flavour. The stock is sweet and savoury at the same time, which leads to lovers of this dish slurping to the bottom of the bowl.

Each family will have their own version of this dish. This is my version of the dish, a variant of my mom's recipe. She didn't really give me a recipe though. This is based of what I remember while watching her cook, plus some tweaks of my own. Being a meat lover, I serve this with braised pork ribs.

Also, when I serve this dish, I don't like shells on my prawns. Many famous stalls that leave the shells on, even after butterflying the prawns. Its a personal preference, I am using chopsticks and I don't really want to be putting them down to shell the prawns or to be spitting shells throughout my meal. I find it very distracting.

What you will need to serve 4 - 6

Pork Bones - About half a kilo at least.
Prawns - About 600 grams - Shelled, save the heads and the shells. Store flesh separately.
Pork Ribs - About 600-800 grams - Cut to individual rib bones.
White peppercorns - 1 Tablespoon
Garlic - 1 bulb or a dozen cloves - Lightly crushed.
Oyster Sauce - 3 Tablespoons
Dark Soya Sauce - 1 Tablespoon
Light Soya Sauce - 2 Tablespoons
1 Chicken Stock cube
Sugar - 1 Tablespoon

Noodles and Garnish:
Fried Shallots (Store bought is fine)
Crispy Fried Pork Lard bits (Optional)
KangKong (Water Spinach) - Washed, cut to 4 cm lengths. About a handful per serving,
Beansprouts - About 100 grams. About a handful per serving,
Chilli Powder / Fresh Chillies - Optional
100grams - Egg Noddle or Hokkien Noodle per serving.

Making Lard Cubes. (About .5 Kg of Pork Lard is a good amount)

The Pork Lard is optional. It is my opinion that it just takes the dish to another level. Cut the pork fat into 1 cm cubes or slightly larger. In a pan, slowly heat up the cubed fat. The lard cubes will start to sweat and you will see liquid fat will start to pool in your pan. Keep the heat medium low. Before long, the cubes will be swimming in oil. At this point you can turn up the heat to get a good browning on the cubes. Do not walk away if you can help it - as they can burn very quickly from this point.

Once you get a nice brown colour on the cubes, separate the solids from the liquid fat.

I like to store the crispy cubes in a paper-lined air tight container and the liquid fat in glass container.

The liquid fat stores well in the fridge. Up to weeks. Try using them in your stir fries, its next level stuff. 1 thing to note when using pork fat with stir-frying, us a smaller amount than you would with regular cooking oil, or your dish might get a tad greasy.

Making the stock:

Heat up 2-3 Tablespoons of oil (or Pork Fat - recommended) in a large stock pot or a wok. Add the garlic, white peppercorns, ginger and the prawn heads/shells and roast till the shells turn pink/red and garlic just starts to brown. Add the oyster sauce and continue roasting. You want the oyster sauce to start caramelizing but not burn.

If you are doing the roasting directly in the stockpot, add in 2.5 litres of water.

If using a wok or frying pan - deglaze with some water, about half a litre or so. Bring to a boil and then transfer to a large stockpot then add the rest of the water into the pot.

Add the pork bones, chicken cube, sugar, Light and Dark soya sauce into the pot.

Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let simmer for 2 hours.

Tates and adjust as needed with Soya Sauce, pepper and sugar.

Optional Step - Strain the stock. Save the pork ribs and you can discard the rest of the solids.

Or you can just pick out the ribs with and strain the stock as you ladle it into serving bowls.

When Serving:

Have large pot of boiling water ready.

Blanch/cook each serving of noodles according to package instructions and place in the serving bowl.
Blanch/cook each serving of the beansprouts and kangkong and place in the serving bowl.
Blanch each serving of prawns in the stock for 2-3 minutes and place in the serving bowl.(Be careful not to overcook).
Place desired amount of pork ribs in each serving bowl.
Ladle hot stock into the bowl.
Garnish with Shallots, Crispy Lard Cubes and Chillies as desired.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Grilled Lemon Grass Chicken

Grilled Lemon Grass Chicken

I was actually inspired by a Vietnamese noodle/salad bar in South Australia. The fragrant aroma of the chicken being grilled was what drew me into that little stall in the Adelaide CBD.

Its savoury, sweet and fragrant. This dish is an easy crowd pleaser, especially in a barbecue. When cooking at home in the oven, the aroma just fills the place. It is actually a variation of the chicken recipe in the Thai Chicken Salad I posted some time ago.

Here's what you'll need.

500g boneless chicken thighs

2 stalks fresh lemongrass - grated/minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoons soya Sauce
1 teaspoon coriander powder.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic - grated/finely minced
Ground black or white pepper
Juice of half a lime

Garnish / Coating
2  Tablespoons Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 stalk spring onion - sliced
Fried shallots

1. Mix all marinade ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Then marinade chicken in the mix, for at least an hour.

2. If using an oven, preheat oven to 190 degrees. Lay the chicken on a baking tray skin side up. Cook for 25-30 mins. (If you want crispier skin, you can sear the skin on a skillet over the stove over high heat for a few mins before putting the chicken in the oven.)

3. If cooking over a grill or barbecue, cook skin side down first, over medium heat. Should take about 6-10 mins (Depending on how hot your grill is) to get that nice rendering you want on the skin. Then flip them over, grill until cooked through. About another 4-8 minutes or so.

4. Let the chicken rest for a few mins. Toss with the spring onions, shallots and Thai sweet chilli sauce. Serve.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Noodles in Beef Broth

My first post in a long while. Relocation and adjustments to deal with. Hope to have more posts in the future.

This is comfort food that is very simple to put together. Inspired somewhat by all the beef Pho around near where we live. While not the same thing, its more of a short cut beef noodle soup dish that one can put together with relative ease after work. Especially on a cold day, this is so good. 

The trick to a quick dinner prep is to actually do most of the work while the broth is simmering. Literally can be done in 45 mins or less and way more satisfying than instant noodles.

You can use your own homemade beef stock, which is highly recommended. In a pinch, store bought works fine.

What you will need to serve 4

For the soup / broth
4 pieces of star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 cloves garlic – crushed with the side of a knife
1 bunch Corriander Root – washed clean and crushed with the side of a knife – Reserve leaves for garnish.
4 shallots or half an onion – sliced

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
¼ cup light soy sauce
1.5 - 2 liters beef or veal stock. (Store bought is fine, just watch the salt content)
Corriander Leaves (The roots are in the soup) - chopped
2 stalks Spring onion – sliced
Sesame oil
Back/white peeper
Chillies (optional)

The rest of the stuff
320 - 400 grams of noodles. (Egg noodles, ramen and thai stick noodles all work well)
1 cup bean sprouts (Optional)
1 cup spinach or other Asian greens (Bok Choy or Mustard greens are great as well)
400-600 grams Beef Tenderloin (Eye Fillet) – Thinly sliced.

  1. Cut the corriander at the stem, about 2 inches above to root. Wash clean, set aside the leaves and root separately. The leaves will be used when serving.
  2. Drizzle a little light soy sauce over the beef and mix. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot or stockpot, heat some cooking oil (about 2 tablespoons) over a medium heat. When oil is heated up, put in the Garlic, peppercorns, coriander rood, shallots, star anise and cinnamon. Fry until fragrant. About 5 mins. Browning on the garlic and shallots is good, just don’t burn them.
  4. Add all the beef stock into the pot. Add the soy sauces and oyster sauce and fish sauce. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and then lower heat, allowing to simmer for about 20mins.
  5. While the broth is simmering, cook your noodles according to packaging instructions and portion into serving bowls.
  6. Blanch vegetables and portion into serving bowls.
  7. Portion the beef over the noodles and vegetables in the serving bowls. (yes raw)
  8. Turn off the heat in the stockpot. Pour or ladle half of the broth into each serving bowl through a strainer. The heat from the hot broth should cook the sliced beef just right. If you are not comfortable with rare beef, just blanch the beef in small bowl of the broth prior to serving.
  9. Garnish and serve. 

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