HOKKIEN MEE

SALT Magazine - - Chef Quickie -

First im­pres­sions: de­spite the low prices that you see out­side, cook­ing hawker food at home is nei­ther cheap nor easy. For Meatmen’s Hokkien mee, I had to make about two litres of stock to feed four peo­ple, which en­tailed a whole 1.5 kg of prawns, and 1kg of pork bones. Added up, the in­gre­di­ent costs came to about $7 a per­son, not count­ing time and ef­fort for prep; and time and ef­fort you will need to put in.

Start­ing from scratch, the recipe will re­quire you to shell a pre­pos­ter­ous num­ber of prawns; ren­der lard (which also nets you crispy lar­dons that you will mind­lessly snack on, and then im­me­di­ately re­gret); make prawn stock; and par-cook many in­gre­di­ents—all be­fore you can start fry­ing. Like any fried noo­dle dish, a well-sea­soned wok and a roar­ing fire helps tremen­dously to achieve that wok hei flavour. If you, like us, are work­ing with a stan­dard hob and a non­stick pan, there are work­arounds.

While the book gives ad­vice on the se­quence of fry­ing, it doesn’t men­tion how long to fry the noo­dles for, or how long—and rightly so, since ev­ery pan and fire is dif­fer­ent, so you have to judge by sight and smell. You’ll want the eggs and noo­dles to take on a lit­tle char be­fore adding your gar­lic and stock. The black bits of burnt egg and noo­dle will dis­solve into the stock, lend­ing it a sub­tle smoky flavour. The noo­dles also soak up a sur­pris­ing amount of liq­uid, so stick to the recipe, which asks you to pre­pare more stock than seem­ingly nec­es­sary at first.

The end re­sult is Hokkien mee richer and tastier than the av­er­age hawker-bought one (thanks largely to the tasty stock in­fused with a gen­er­ous amount of prawn heads and pork bones), mak­ing all that te­dious prep well worth it.

TESTED BY WEETS GOH

MODERATE

30 MINS + 1.5HR FOR STOCK

CHEAPER TO EAT OUT, TASTIER TO MAKE AT HOME

Cooked by SALT

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