Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Cooking Recipe: Malaysian Prawn Noodle (Har Mee)
While most of you will have cereals, sandwiches, yogurt with fruit or granola bars for breakfast, here in Malaysia; the locals will turn to our array of local dishes like Har Mee/ Prawn Noodle, Wan Tan Mee or Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk served with some fried anchovies, hard boil egg and spicy sambal). Of course over the generations and period of years, we too have become more health conscious and turn to simpler breakfast. However, the beauty of our local cuisine is that you can have them anytime of the day. Be it breakfast, lunch or even dinner.
Usually I will just pop by a hawker stall and order a bowl of prawn noodle soup. But these days, it's getting a little tougher in getting a decent 'Prawn Noodle/ Har Mee' . The broth or the soup seems to be lacking in some flavour. Well let me tell you this, the key to have a wonderful delicious 'har mee' lies in the soup. There's not much art in making the soup, but patience and having good ingredient is key. The slices of pork, prawns, fried shallots will be the garnish which compliments the dish. As one will only remember the soup and not so much of the rest.
Some parts of the recipe is referenced from Rasa Malaysia; a famous Malaysian food blogger residing in the States who is constantly missing good food back home in Malaysia. However, the recipe suggested below has been tweaked slightly to make it simpler; I hope.
With our melting pot of culture, and races, one would agree that Malaysia is truly a land of magical colours with warm friendly people. So, this post is dedicated to my Malaysian roots, and I would like to share it with you a tiny glimpse of our culture. For the prawn noodle soup, do try out the recipe, as there is a perfect balance of the sweet broth and hint of spiciness. Enjoy!!
referenced from Rasa Malaysia
yields 4-6 bowls depending on portion served
For the Broth/ Soup
1 Ziploc bag of shrimp or prawn heads and shells (I used Ziplock Easy Zipper Bag)
3- lbs pork bones (try getting them from the Asian market, tell the butcher you need it to boil soup)
15 cups of water or more depending on the amount of shrimp head and shells and pork bones (reduced to about 12-13 cups of water after hours of boiling and simmering)
2-3 pieces of rock sugar (about the size of a small ping pong ball) or to taste
Salt to taste
For Chili Paste:
30 dried chilies (seeded and soaked to soften)
10 shallots (peeled)
5 cloves garlic (peeled)
2 tablespoons of water
6 tablespoons of cooking oil
**Refer no.2 & 3 to prepare chili paste. Toss in garlic first into the oil, then the chili paste.
6-8 tbsp ground chili paste (store-bought or ready made found in Asian market)
4 garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 pound of yellow noodles (scalded)
1 pack of rice vermicelli (scalded)
Some kangkong or water convolvulus (scalded)
1/2 pound of lean pork meat (boiled and sliced thinly)
1/2 pound shrimp or prawns (shelled and deveined)
Some fried shallot crisps (store-bought)
To prepare chili paste:
1. Using a food processor, pulverise the chili paste ingredients until finely ground and well blended.
2. Next, heat up the wok and add cooking oil. Then stir fry the chili paste for 5 minutes. (Cautious: Be careful as the oil might splatter at this point). Dish up and set aside.
3. Using the same wok (unwashed), add a little oil and cook the shrimp topping. Add in a little chili paste, sugar and salt. Pan-fry the shrimp until they are slightly cooked and turned coral blush in colour. Dish up, and set a side to cool.
To prepare broth or soup:
1. Using a frying pan, with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, fry shrimp heads and shells until they are cooked.
2. Transfer into a deep pot, and add in the pork bones and water. Simmer on low heat for about 2 hours or longer until stock becomes cloudy and tastes quite prawn-ish and pork-ish.
3. Using a ladle, carefully scoop out and discard as much of orange and brown foam as possible. Then using a sieve, strain the soup into another clean pot and discard the shells and pork bones. Otherwise, strain into a big bowl, then wash the pot and strain the broth one more time back into the pot.
4. This time, add in rock sugar and salt to taste, and simmer until rock sugar has completely melted.
5. Add in lean pork meat into soup and boil until it's cooked. Take it out and let it rest before slicing thinly.
To assemble prawn noodle or har mee:
1. Place a portion of noodle, vermicelli, and kangkong in a bowl. Ladle hot stock or soup over. Top with meat, prawn or shrimp and garnish with some friend shallots. Serve immediately and enjoy!