“What’s Cooking” – Noodles

Noodles come in many kind of varieties. It is a daily staple for the Chinese,  Japanese and Korean. They can be cooked and served in many different ways. There are hundreds of noodle dishes throughout Asia, ranging from a simple but utterly delicious street stall – “hawker” noodle dish to an elaborate noodle dish served at a restaurant. In Penang and throughout Malaysia, hawker noodles range from the most popular, such as “Char Keow Teow” (the best is in Penang!), Hokkien Mee (or commonly known here in Australia as “Prawn Mee”), Wontan Mee (either dried or in soup), Mee Goreng and Mee Rebus (Indian stalls) and many many more. If you have never been to Malaysia, you must make it a “trip to do before you die!”. It is so cheap to fly to Malaysia in today’s air travel, from low cost carrier such as Air Asia X (direct from Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth to Kuala Lumpur), Tiger Airway (to Singapore) and of course, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and many others. The fare is extremely cheap during promotion period. My recent purchase from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur for 2010 Chinese New Year cost only AUD$260, inclusive tax, and Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur for Dec 2009 trip with Malaysia Airline at only AUD$660!

Noodles can come dried or fresh. There is the Egg Noodles (which is similar to pasta), made from a paste of wheat flour, water and egg. They are formed into shapes like fine vermicelli or flat ribbon noodles of varying width. It can be easily purchased in a supermarket as dried form, or purchased fresh from selected Asian supermarket. Then there is the Hokkien noodles which is round, medium thick yellow egg noodle and usually available in Asian supermarket, sold fresh in the refrigerator section. Rice noodle is typically wide and flat used either in soup or fried. Like the other noodle, it can come dried or fresh. It does not keep long if purchased fresh and will need to be refrigerated, but may become hard over time. So best to use fresh rice noodle on the day you purchase it. There are many other types of noodles used in Japanese cuisine, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean. I personally prefer plain wheat noodle (without egg mixed) and rice noodle. If you have been to China or any part of Asia, eating in a noodle shop, or street stall, you will experience for the first time that Asian do not eat noodle in silence. It is usually accompanied by much slurping to eat it correctly!  At times, you may be lucky to hear a few exploding burps to show appreciation of the food. So this may come as a culture shock for most westerners that are accustomed to table etiquette of eating quietly, except after a few drinks of alcohol. ;-).

Yesterday I prepared a lunch box for work. It was some leftover of minced pork stir fried in garlic, ginger and coriander sauce that I cooked the night before. I boiled some dried “Mien” or wheat flour Chinese noodle. Got out my Asian style Enamel 3-Stack Storage Container System, and placed the minced pork in the top container, noodle in  middle container and home cooked chicken consomme in the bottom container. It is healthy, with lots of garlic, ginger and coriander sauce. It is a bit sourish and spicy with Chinese black vinegar and chili oil in the sauce. The Chinese style wheat noodle is soft, silky and smooth and went well with the minced pork ingredients.

DSC01311

DSC01314Ingredients (minced pork)

300gm minced pork

1 red capsicum

200-250gm canned bamboo shoots (stripped)

2 tablespoon sliced chinese preserved vegetables

3 garlic cloves

A small bunch fresh coriander

1 thumb size ginger

3 spring onions

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon caramalised dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons chili oil

2 tablespoons black vinegar

1 tablespoon corn starch

Preparation

1. Chopped ginger and garlic finely. Set aside

2. Chopped root section of coriander finely. Set aside.

3. Chopped red capsicum into fine dices. Set aside.

4. Drain and rinsed bamboo shoots. Set aside.

5. Chopped spring onion (green only) finely. Set aside.

6. Mix 1/2 tablespoon corn starch in 1 cup water. Set aside.

7. Boil a pot of water. Throw in 250-300gm dried noodle. Cooked for 5 minutes. Drain the noodle and rinse in cold water.

Cooking

1. Heat some cooking oil in a wok. Toss in garlic, ginger and coriander roots. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

2. Add minced pork. Stir fry until pork is cooked.

3. Add capsicum, bamboo shoots and preserved vegetables. Stir fry for another 5 minutes.

4. Add all the sauces and continue to stir fry. Combine the ingredients and sauces thoroughly well. Add some salt and sugar to taste. Finally, add corn starch to make some gravy. If too thick, add a bit of home cooked chicken consomme or water.

With the same minced pork and noodles, you can toss in the noodle before serving, as shown in picture below.

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This morning, I chose to use up some of my leftover noodles, poached chicken and consomme, and some pork dumplings (which are all featured in the Recipe Page) that I made previously as my breakfast. My partner opted for sausages and free range eggs on toasts (Btw, I can’t wait to pick up my 1 kg free range Pork & Fennel Sausages and Traditional Cumberland Coiled Sausage from Chef Lee Christmas at Farm Gate Cafe in Kettering this afternoon).

DSC01308

This is very simple. Took me 5 minutes to prepare.

1. Add some noodle in the bowl, some shredded poached chicken pieces, some English Spinach leaves, a sprinkle of white pepper, dried shallots and sea salt. Set aside.

2. Heat a small pot of home cooked chicken consomme. Add a few dumplings. When it is warm and hot, remove from the stove and pour into the bowl of noodle, chicken and spinach. Garnish with a bit of freshly chopped red chili and coriander leaves. The chili and white pepper will give the consomme a bit of lift.

Makan Lah 🙂

7 responses to ““What’s Cooking” – Noodles

  1. Hi Victor – this all sounds beautiful and I want to rush out to the kitchen now and make all of it!

    I bought some takeaway Me Wah Singapore Noodles the other night, and they were delicious (but not quite as delicious as the same from Lee How Fook in Lindisfarne, but that’s another story). I was wondering how they make that style of noodle, given that it’s a totally dry dish, with no sauce or moisture at all?

    • Rita – the first time I came across a Singapore Noodle dish was at a Chinese country style restaurant in Australia. I think it is a hybrid style noodle dish for westerners; like Mongolian Lamb. I have tried it a couple of times at different places in Australia, a long time ago.

      Use a dry vermicelli noodle (or called “Bee Hoon” in Penang), chopped garlic, light soy sauce, chopped spring onion, bean sprouts, red onion thinly sliced, beaten eggs. The secret ingredient is curry powder. Use the Malaysian brand – Ayam. It has to be a very hot wok to dry stir fry properly and should only take a few minutes to toss the noodle. Cheers – Victor

  2. So many types of noodles, and they are always so delicious! My favourites are the fresh rice noodles, and the maggi yellow wheat noodles.

    The best Char Kueh Teow IS in Penang! :o)

    • Oh, yes Steph – I like the maggi mee. So versatile and can use it for wontan mee. Mix in oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Yum. So simple.

      Thumbs up for Penang CKT! Tee Hee. I am counting down to my trip back to Penang – 33 days to go! Oh, yes – lots of hawker noodles. Also a holiday trip to Laos. Apparently the food there is superb, with strong French influence.

  3. Victor..am still learning about the different types of noodles and the different types of rice.

    Am trying this one tonight: finely sliced beef (par frozen and cut on the diagonal so as to obtain nice fine slices), marinade of ginger, garlic, soy, sugar, sesame oil. Then shitake mushrooms and baby spinach. Serve with rice (what else!..it says sushi rice so maybe Japanese based?) matchstick carrot and cucumber and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

    Love the working man’s lunch box. I used to do a billy-can and a thermos of soup for hubby. Seems that things are the same the world ’round.

    • Yum, Min! You are making me hungry.

      My colleagues think I am OTT (“over the top”) when I took that to work! LOL!

      I think some time I feel a bit outrageous and do things like that to amuse my colleagues, esp in Tasmania! I also wear my traditional Chinese silk shoulder padded winter warmer to work, to put a smile to the ladies at work. Dress code at work here is dull and monotone. 🙂

  4. Victor, I am the very proud owner of a traditional Chinese item. This is from the 1960’s. My grandmother long widowed used to take in boarders who were attending Swinburne Technical College (now university). Her very favorite was a Malaysian girl by the name of Chin (that’s how I remember her name) and on leaving to go home Chin presented my grandmother with which seems almost to be a wrap with 3/4 sleeves. Pure silk in tones of orange and red.

    Would love to see a pic of you in your famous Chinese winter warmer 🙂

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