Hed Chef: Penang-style Hokkien char
If you like fried Hokkien mee, you have to try cooking it Penang-style.
Penang-born Lim Yee, 43, who now lives in China, shares his mother's recipe for one of his all-time favourite Penang dishes: Hokkien char (Hokkien for fry).
Mr Lim says: "I missed the taste of my mother's cooking so much, I called home to ask her for the easiest recipe that I could cook myself."
Kuala Lumpur has its own version called Hokkien char mee, which Mr Lim says uses more dark soya sauce in the gravy.
For the Penang version, dark soya sauce is used only to add a caramel tinge to the gravy.
It is important to use shallot oil and pork lard, says Mr Lim.
But the real trick is adding boiling water or stock to cook the noodles midway instead of parboiling the noodles beforehand.
This will prevent the noodles from turning mushy or overcooking the seafood.
- 600g yellow noodles
- 300g prawns, de-veined
- 1 large squid, sliced
- 250g lean pork, sliced
- 150g cai xin
- 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
- 30g dried prawns, soaked
- 200ml chicken stock
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tbsp shallot oil
- 3 tbsp lard
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soya sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp dark soya sauce
- 1 tbsp of water mixed with 1 tsp of cornflour
Marinade for pork
- 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1½ tsp cornflour
1. Marinate the lean pork slices for 15 minutes.
2. Keep the chicken stock boiling while you fry the noodles.
3. Heat the shallot oil and lard in the wok.
4. Fry the dried prawn and shiitake mushroom (above). (A)
5. Add the garlic. Fry the pork (above) until the meat is cooked through. (B)
6. Add the prawns and squid. Fry for a minute. Add the cai xin and yellow noodles.(above) (C)
7. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, light soya sauce and dark soya sauce.
8. Add enough of the boiling chicken stock to barely cover the noodles.
9. Add the cornflour mixture.
10. Cover and simmer until the gravy thickens.
11. Serve immediately.