Tuesday, July 13, 2010
How to chase away the homesick blues with Hokkien Prawn Noodles.
Shorter daylight and cold weather can make a new arrival from bright and sunny Singapore feel homesick. And what is the quickest way and easiest way to ease the gloom? When this happens, you need an ingestion of comfort food that gives the warm fuzzing feeling of home. There are two options. Firstly, you can go to the nearest food courts in the CBD or its surrounding suburbs where large ethnic groups live and congregate. Perhaps you may be able to find something similar to Singapore's hawker fare. You will be pleasantly surprised by its authenticity and originality of the dishes provided by the various ethnic groups as a meal.
Roast pork and char siew in Sydney, I reckon are very good, arguably even better than Hong Kong since many of their best chefs moved to Sydney in the 1990s and just before the British hand over Hong Kong back to China. Following the infamous students upheaval at Tienanmen, the nothern Chinese flavours including Shanghainese and Beijingnese were given a boost from the influx of Chinese migrants in their unique "food districts" scattered around the greater Sydney. Unfortunately, we do not have the numbers in Sydney to stake "a little red dot" to call our own. Take our Singapore food here in Sydney- it's the same old tedious same old Malaysian-Singaporean food - apart from a handful of exceptions serve roti prata and new Asian fusion food.
Surely, there must be room in our eat streets for a few real Singaporean ethnic kopi tiam (cafes) or restaurants, eateries that cater for people who like, say Bak Kut Teh or Prawns Hokkien Mee, Mee Rebus or Indian rojak.
I tried to duplicate Hokkien Prawn Noodles last weekend at home. It would have been a hard act to follow especially everyone knows how this popular hawker food should taste like, but thanks to the "sng kam"(calamansi lime), we have salvaged from the recent frost. It is "okay lah" after a squeeze of the indispensable sng kam on the noodles saves my pride of being the masterchef at home.
Hokkien Prawns Noodles Recipe
500 gm Hokkien Noodles
500 gm thick nee hoon (rice vermicelli), soaked in warm water for 10-12 minutes and drained.
1/4 cup minced garlic
500 gm prawns (parboiled)
250 gm belly pork (parboiled)
250 gm squid(parboiled)
250 gm bean sprouts
100 gm Chinese chive (ku chai)
1/2 cup light soya sauce
2 1/2 cup prawn stock.
6 calamansi (sng kam)
The trade secret for this dish is to have a good prawn stock. Start by shelling the prawns but keep the tails intact. Collect the prawn shells and heads for the stock. To make prawn stock, pour about 4 Lt of water in a stockpot. When the water come to a boil, put the belly pork to cook for 5 minute and drain parboiled belly pork, put aside to cool for slicing into strips. Next put in the cleaned squid and take it out once it turns white in colour. cool and sliced into rings. Do the same with the prawns, it shouldn't take more than a minute in the boiling water. Put in 1 kg of pork bones boiling water and keep boiling at medium heat. In the meantime, heat a tbsp of oil in a wok to fry the prawn shells and heads until fragrant about 8 minutes. Add the fried prawn shells and head to pot. Simmer stock for an hour.
To fry the noodles, heat wok and add oil and saute the garlic until fragrant about 1 minute. Break egg and spread the egg around to cook about 1 minute. Add soaked bee hoon and 2 ladle of stock into the wok and fry until bee hoon absorb the stock. Add hokkien noodles and fry for a minute and add 4 ladles of stock, cover with a lid and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and add remaining ingredients except the sng kam and season to taste. Fry for a minute and add another ladle of stock. Dish up your Hokkien Prawn Noodles, served with the sng kam and sambal blachan or cut chillies