Singapore Favourites #3: Singapore Hokkien Mee

Hokkien Mee in Singapore is very different from those you’ll find in KL and Penang. In KL, if you ordered Hokkien Mee, you’ll get a plate of savoury dark colored thick noodles ladened with crispy pork lard, prawns, squids and vege. However, if you’re in Penang and you ordered Hokkien Mee, you’ll get a bowl of noodles with rich prawn broth (and in Penang, this nooddle is also known as hae-mee)

In Singapore, Hokkien Mee is also known as Hokkien hae-mee, but you’ll get none of the above. Not even close to it. I had my first encounter with this fried noodle when I visited Singapore more than 30+ years ago. My aunt and uncle asked if I wanted Hokkien Mee and I replied yes! Imagine my shock when the plate was placed in front of me. A plate of gooey looking yellow noodle + coarse beehoon with some prawns and squids on it. A pale comparison to the KL Hokkien Mee for sure. However, when I had my first taste of the noodle, I was surprised to find that it’s very tasty – especially with a good sambal and a squeeze of lime/ calamansi.  A really good plate of Hokkien Mee is usually a full flavoured, tasty, savoury noodle dish. I have to say that this is one of the best hawker food in Singapore, and I would go around Singapore looking for a good plate of Hokkien Mee.

 

So here’s my version of it. I have to say that I haven’t master it yet (as I find that it’s still lack the “ooomph” factor, and the “wok-hei”) but for home-cooking, I’m quite happy with it (for now!).

 

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Singapore Hokkien Mee

 

Ingredients:
(Recipe serves approx 6-8)

Singapore Hokkien Mee

Singapore Hokkien Mee

500 gm fresh egg (yellow) noodles
500 gm coarse white vermicelli noodles (beehoon)
200 gm prawns (heads and shells removed)
200 gm squids (cut into rings)
150gm pork belly
3 eggs (beaten and seasoned with a bit of soy sauce)
50 gm beansprouts
4-5 tbsp of oil/ lard
3-4 garlic (finely minced)
2-3 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
4-5 cups of stock*
pepper & salt
Chinese chives

For garnishing:
Sambal
Lime/ calamsi
lard cubes (optional)

Method:
1. In a wok, heat up approximately 1 tbsp oil/ lard. Scramble the eggs until 3/4 done but it is still moist and removed from the work.
2. Add 1 tbsp of oil and fry the minced garlic till fragrant and then add the yellow and vermicelli noodles. Add 2 cups of stock and over medium heat, continue to stir to allow the vermicelli to absorb the stock.
3. Meanwhile, in another pot, blanched the prawns, squid and pork belly, and set aside. Cut the pork belly into thin strips.
4. (Back to the noodles) Once the vermicelli has soften, add another 1-2 cups of stock and add the scrambled eggs back into the wok. Cover the wok and allow it to simmer for approximately a minute or two. Uncover the wok, and add the beansprouts. Stir the noodles to mix well.
5. Season the noodles with fish sauce, soy sauce, salt & pepper to taste.
6. Lastly add in the prawns, squids, pork belly and chives. Stir to mix well, and simmer for another 30 seconds (Add more stock at this stage if you find that the noodles are too dry).
7. Serve it warm with sambal, a wedge of lime/ calamansi and top it with pork lard cubes.

 

*To make the stock
Prawn shells (I reserved and freezed the prawn heads and shells over weeks/ months)
Pork or chicken bones (or chicken cubes)
Water (enough to be reduced to at least 4-5 cups of stock)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
Salt & pepper
2-3 small cubes of rock sugar
Oil

Method: 

1. Fry the garlic in some oil, and then add in the prawn heads and shells. Fry till it’s fragrant.
2. Add water and all other ingredients above, and boil for at least an hour to obtain a rich broth. (The longer you boil it the better!), and season it well.

 

 

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Singapore Month

Singapore Favourites #2: Chai Tau Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

Chai-tau-kway (菜头粿) or Fried Carrot Cake (this is different from the ang-moh carrot cake), is one of the most liked hawker food in Singapore. Go to any foodcourt or hawker centers, there will be a stall selling this, typically the stall will also be selling either orh lua (fried oyster/ oyster omelette), char kway teow, or hokkien mee, or all those mentioned.

And there’s two versions of the chai-tau-kway / fried carrot cake: the white version and the black version. What’s the difference? The black version is added with thick black sweet sauce, thus the fried carrot cake has the sweet tinge to it. Personally, I like mine savoury as it is closer to the KL style. So the recipe below is for the white savoury version.

Chai Tau Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

Chai Tau Kway (Fried Carrot Cake)

 

The recipe below is adapted from Singapore Mr MakanSutra and Makan Guru, Mr KF Seetoh

The Carrot (Radish) Cake

Chai tau kway

Chai tau kway

Ingredients

1/2 medium size radish – approx 250g (julienne/ shredded) – you can add some shredded carrots if you wish to
175g rice flour
600ml water (300ml room temp water + 300ml hot water)
1 tsp salt

 Method:
1.Blanch the shredded radish with boiling water till soften. If need to, give it a quick boil for 2-3mins. Strain the radish and discard the water.
2. Combine rice flour, salt and the 300ml room temperature water in a metal bowl and mix it well.
3. Add the radish into the rice flour solution, and add the other half of water (300ml hot water)
4. Sit the bowl over a pot of boiling water, and stir the mixture till it thickens (or you can also do this step in a non-stick pan/ wok)
5. Once the mixture thicken, transfer it to a metal/ enamel tray and smoothen it down.
6. Steam on high for approximately 30-40 mins.
7. Once it’s done, leave it until completely cool to allow the radish cake to firm up (or best to leave it overnight).

The steam radish/ carrot cake

The steam radish/ carrot cake

Frying the Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

The ingredients for frying the chai tau kway

The ingredients for frying the chai tau kway

The steamed radish cake (cut enough for 1 or 2 persons*)
(Note: *, the rest of the cake can be stored in the refrigerator)

1 to 2 tbsp chai por (preserved radish/turnip)
2 to 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tsp soy sauce or fish sauce (added to the eggs)
3 tbsp of oil (vegetable oil or lard oil)
Dash of white pepper

1 tbsp of thick dark sweet sauce *
(Note: * if you’re making the dark/ sweet version).

Spring onion and/or coriander for garnishing

 Method:

1. Cut up steamed radish cake into small chunks.
2. In a non-stick pan, heat up the oil and fry radish cake chunks till lightly browned and crisp. Set aside on the pan.
3. Add more oil and fry the garlic till slightly brown and add the chai por. Fry till fragrant. Drizzle more oil if it is too dry.
(Note: you may add some chilli paste/ sambal at this stage if you want it spicy, or you may serve the sambal on the side)
5. Add the fish/ soy sauce into the beaten eggs and slowly pour the eggs all over radish cake. Allow the eggs to set slightly before flipping it over.
6. Once you get the crispness that you want, you can plate it up and garnish it with chopped spring onion and coriander

For the “black” sweet version:
– Drizzle the thick sweet sauce towards the end and stir fry it to mix well.
(Note: this is not the favourite of my family, thus I do not make this).

 

Disclaimer: The KL style of CTK has bean sprouts and chives added to it, thus giving it more texture. As I grew up eating this version, I guessed the white version of the chai-tau-kway is thus more palatable to my taste and liking.

Chai tau kueh/ Fried carrot cake

Chai tau kway/ Fried carrot cake – the KL style with beansprouts and chives

 

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Singapore Month

Singapore Favourites #1: Singapore Chilli Crab

Chilli crab is one of the famous seafood dishes that originates from Singapore. According to my search on the internet, the Chilli Crab recipe was created in 1950 by Singaporean chef, Madam Cher Yam Tian with her husband, Mr Lim Choon Ngee. The couple ran Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant on Upper East Coast Road (near the present day East Coast Seafood Centre).

Singapore Chilli Crab

Singapore Chilli Crab

Today, it is one of the favourite dishes among Singaporeans and visitors to Singapore, and it is widely known globally. There are quite a number of versions to the Chilli Crab recipe, and I’ve tried and tested a number of times the recipe and I think the recipe by Violet Oon, Singapore’s cooking doyenne, to have the closest taste to those served in some well-known seafood restaurants in Singapore.

This dish is cooked using mud crabs, but here I am using flower crab instead (for personal reasons), and it is equally yummylicious. This is not a very spicy dish, and it is well-loved by my whole family including my girl.

Ingredients:

Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab

Recipe adapted from Violet Oon’s recipe:

3-4 flower crabs (or 1-2 mud crabs) – depending on size
vegetable oil
5-6 cloves of garlic*
8-12 fresh/ dried chilli * (I used dried chilli)
1-3 cups of water
(note: *pounded/ blended to a paste)

2-3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tsp pounded brown preserved soya beans or dark miso
5 tbsp tomato sauce
2-3 tbsp sugar (or to taste)

¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
½ lemon to get approx 1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of cornflour (mixed with a little water)
1 egg (beaten)
2 spring onions
1 small bunch coriander

Method:

1.  In a pot or a large wok, bring the water to a boil and cook the crab till it’s ¾ done. Remove the crab and set it aside, but DON’T throw away the stock.
2.  In a large wok, heat the oil over high heat.
3.  Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute, or till slightly brown.
4.  Add the chilli-garlic paste and stir-fry till fragrant, then add the bean paste and fry a little. Make sure you don’t burn the paste at this stage.
5.  Add the tomato sauce, sugar and the stock and stir well. Let it simmer a little.
6.  At the stage, you can add in the crab and let it simmer further.
7.  Once the sauce bubbles up a little, add in the corn starch and stir it well.
8.  Break eggs into a bowl and whisk it a little to break it up. Slowly pour the beaten egg into the sauce (in a few circles), and let it simmer for approximately 10 seconds, and then turn off the heat.
9.  Add in the lemon juice and stir it once or twice. (Don’t stir it too much)
10. Plate it up and garnish with chopped spring onions and coriander.

Serve this with steam or fried mantou. Although more sinful (because it’s fried), my personal preference is fried mantou. It is somehow tastier when dipping it into the chilli crab sauce!

 

Fried mantou

Fried mantou

 

Singapore Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab with the yummy sauce for dipping with mantou

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Singapore Month