Recently, I have been punishing myself with day dreams of Malaysian delicacies that I am missing so terribly – like the sinfully tasty black KL style Hokkien Mee. Each time I go back to Malaysia, I will drop by my favourite PJ Jalan 222 shop – Restaurant Ahwa for their tasty Hokkien Mee. As you also know, Malaysians eat more than 3 meals a day :) So, for supper, my neighbourhood shop, Nanking Restaurant, in USJ will be my cure for a late night craving of a good Hokkien Mee.
So what makes a good Hokkien Mee? Based on my many trials and experiment of this dish, the key ingredients are:
1) The black sauce – like it or not, it’s the sauce that can break or make the dish. In this recipe, the black sauce was created using Cheong Chan Thick Caramel Sauce. This sauce is black and sticky with high caramel (sugar) content and taste more savoury compare to dark soy sauce. Available at all Asian Grocers.
2) Crispy fried pork fat – better known as Chu Yau Char. I know I know, this is not a very healthy thing especially when we are talking about rendering those pork fat to cook in their own fatty juices until crispy and crunchy golden. But hell yes, it’s a darn good treat to oneself.
3) Sambal - back bone to most Malaysian dishes. Can be cooked with dishes or can accompany any dishes. In this case, sambal is a must and gives that added UUMPH with hokkien mee. To accompany this dish, I have made my own Sambal.
Another “secret” ingredient that some home cooks say is a must-have is dried sole fish powder but it’s not available in Melbourne :( – not even at the Asian Grocers. Definitely in my shopping list when I go back to Malaysia this year.
Malaysian Black Hokkien Mee (adapted from wendyinkk)
2 packs of fresh yellow hokkien noodles (approx 500g)
100g sliced pork belly
1 1/2 cup pork fat*
12 large banana prawns, deveined and remove shells
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
300g chinese cabbage, chop into pieces
100g choi sum, chop into pieces
Sambal, to serve
5 tbsp Cheong Chan thick caramel sauce (add more if you prefer darker)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 dash white pepper powder
2 cups water
1. Marinade pork slices with 2 pinches of salt and set aside.
2. Heat up a wok on medium fire. Put the pork fat in the wok and let it sizzle. After about 3 minutes, you will start to see the oil oozing out from the pork fat and let it render the fat. Turn the heat to low and continue to fry the pork fat until the pork fat pieces turned crispy, crunchy and golden. Drain and separate the lard from the fried pork fat. Set aside.
3. Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour hot water over it until the noodles are submerged. Stir the noodles and let it sit in the water for not more than 15 seconds. Drain and set aside.
4. Heat up wok with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and once the wok is smoking, pour the sliced pork belly into the wok and sear until it’s 80% cooked. Drain and set aside.
5. In the same wok, top up with another 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Wait until the wok is smoking and sear the prawns until it’s 80% cooked. Drain and set aside.
6. Pour the lard back into the wok and heat it up. Pour the minced garlic into the wok and fry until golden. The garlic will turn golden real quick. Swiftly pour the cabbage in and stir. Then throw in the choi sum stems to cook.
7. Put in noodles, pork and prawns, then pour in water. Stir and mix well. Add all the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and let it cook for 10 minutes or until the noodles have soften and the gravy thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning.
8. Add in choi sum leaves and fried pork fat. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes. Dish up and serve together with delicious Malaysian Sambal.
*Note: Pork fat can be purchased from selected butchers. If that’s not available, look for a really fatty pork belly and remove the fat from the meat.