Tuesday, May 5, 2009
How to make Bee Tai Bak aka Low Si Fun (Mouse Noodles)
In the past, Bee Tai Bak aka Low Si Fun (mouse noodle) has been sent to the sin bin for starting food scares in Malaysia. For many years, the use of lye water and similar alkaline and even toxic chemicals like borax, "Pang sah" has been a controversial subject in the manufacturing of Bee Tai Bak.
The potentially toxic Pang sah, or borax is used to give Bee Tai Bak, a springy almost elastic texture. I do not know whether the health authorities in South East Asian countries have tried to prohibit the use of pang sah, but from what I hear, its use is still prevalent all over Chinese restaurants in countries where the health authorities are not vigilant, or simply unaware. Pang sah is sometimes even added to popular dim-sum dishes like rice sheets or cheung fun and radish cake. So next time, when you encounter prawns in dishes like “Hargow”(prawns dumpling) or Crystal prawns" and the texture is extraordinarily chewy and elastic, chances are likely it has been treated with borax or a similar alkaline chemical. Here is the homemade version of Bee Tai Bak for you to try.
Bee Tai Bak aka Mouse Noodles Recipe
250g rice flour
50g tapioca flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sodium bi carbonate
Mix rice flour, tapioca flour with water. Stirring and rubbing with hand until the dough resembles breadcrumbs. Take 30g of the mixed dough and place it in a pan with 50ml of water. Stir continuously over medium heat with a wooden spoon, bring it to a boil. Remove the cooked dough from the pan and add it to the remaining dough. Mix in the salt and 60 ml water to get a soft dough.Add the 'breadcrumbed flour" into the soft dough until well combined. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the dough over a colander with large holes and press the dough through so that strands of dough will drop into the boiling water. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent the noodles form sticking together. Remove with a slotted spoon once the noodles float to the surface and dunk in ice cold water. Serve noodles in a clear fish stock /chicken stock.