When I think of noodles, the thought of my late tiger mom’s old-fashioned, peasanty stir-fried “mee hoon”(thin rice noodles) comes to mind. They were just down-to-earth, and super delicious! In a hot wok, she’d toss the noodles with garlic, onions, bean sprouts, thin soy sauce, her very-own pasture-raised eggs, and fresh-off-the-boat prawns. Often she’d pack them up in a little tupperware with a side of sliced chillies so that I had something to lunch on during recess time. Tiger mom believed that small-sized prawns were the sweetest in any stir-fries. You know, interestingly, the Malay and Chinese aunties in the neighborhood had the same mindset about prawns, too. They’d save the big, juicy, tiger variety for special occasions or when entertaining relatives, guests, or visitors only.
But back to the noodle story. As a lucky girl, I feasted on all kinds of rice noodles like nobody’s business. Do I have to even mention the different meats as well as the vegetarian variations of our neighborhood productions of wild “mee hoons?” If there’s one thing I wish I had today for my blog, it has to be the photos of my beloved multi-tasking ‘sarong-clad mama-gang’ of the neighborhood. Every time they cooked the noodles on their age old charcoal stoves, the sweet, ‘charred’ aroma of the noodles as a result of so-called ‘breath of the wok’ would waft all over the neighborhood drawing everyone out of the houses, especially the menfolk.
Here’s the recipe. Please read the step-by-step preparation and the cooking process prior to making this noodle dish. The list of ingredients are provided below.
The Old West Diner-Style Singapore Noodles
- 1 packet of Dynasty brand Mai Fun noodles
- 2 pieces of thin center cut pork loin chops
- 1 bag of peeled, deveined, tail-on shrimps (23-30 count) — remove the tails
- 6 pips of garlic – minced
- 1/2 white onion- thick-sliced
- 6-8 stalks of spring onions (chopped and divided equally into 3 parts: the broth, the noodles, and for garnish)
- a cup of bone broth (recipe provided below) or chicken broth
- a couple of thin slices of fresh ginger (please, no ground ginger!)
- 1 tablespoon curry powder (I used the S&B Oriental Curry Powder. I used this powder in my favorite Beef & Mixed Veggies Stew recipe.)
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce (I used MaeKrua Thai Oyster Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (I used Kadoya brand)
- 3 eggs — scrambled or made sunny-side up depending on how you’d like it
- Grapeseed oil
- A good old wok — optional
When making Singapore noodles, take into consideration the type of rice noodles, fresh prawns, and the curry powder. My favorite is this mai fun rice sticks.
This mai fun noodles are nice and chewy when cooked. They also soak up the sauce well. For this recipe, I used up the whole packet. So what? Leftovers means Bonus!
Look. These noodles have been blanched in hot, boiling water; then, tossed in cold water to stop them from cooking further. Just so you know, these noodles must be a little al dente. If they get too mushy, the result will be a sad, slushy Singapore.
To make this noodle dish, I used 2 pieces of center cut pork loin chops — bone and all to sweeten the noodles. If you prefer chicken or beef, feel free to omit the pork.
The fats were trimmed. If you want a more velvety-tasting meat and noodles, let the fats be.
The meat was sliced into thin long pieces just like so. Restaurants here in America tend to add char siew or barbecued pork.
To me, the sweetness in the char siew somehow tends to ‘cancel’ the savory curry flavor. If you are a fan of char siew, throw in some just before you plate the it. As it Cooks wouldn’t want to see you pout.
What about the bones? Make a clear bone broth. (If you don’t feel like sweating over the stove just to make a bowl of broth, a ready-made chicken broth will do.) I prefer to make my own. It’s a ton tastier, trust me. It’s simple to make, too. The more bones, the better actually! Boil the bones with 2 cups of water. Throw in a couple slices of thinly sliced ginger and a sprinkling of chopped spring onions. Bring it to a rolling boil. Cover, and let it simmer slowly until the bone is cooked through. Cool the broth. The aroma is so gingery-lovely. I prefer to leave the pieces of ginger in the broth. If it bothers you, remove them.
It’s time to fry the eggs. Mr. Chi-Town likes his sunny-side up. He likes to tear it apart and mixes it with the noodles.
I like it scrambled, restaurant-style. The soft sunny yellow, golden brown, and snow white morsels are a sight to behold. And the aroma of a simple ‘fried egg’ can be captivating. When ready, scoop up the egg gently. Let it sit in an oven-proof plate in a 180 degrees warm oven.
Peel off the tails of the prawns. Pat dry. (Optional: Season with a touch of garlic, freshly ground black pepper, and onion powder.) Heat up the wok, throw in the prawns. Caramelize them. They should look like this when you dish them out of the wok.
Remove the prawns form the wok. Add about a tablespoon of oil. Saute the chopped white onions at high heat.
As soon as you notice a slight browning around the edges, immediately remove them from the work. At this point, the oil is well-seasoned with the delicious flavors of the prawns and onions. Coming up next is the fun time! It’s time to wok fast. It’s time to stir everything up. Are you ready for crazy?
Heat up the wok. Pour another tablespoon of oil (only if necessary). Add the minced garlic, some chopped spring onions, and sliced pork. Stir for a minute or so until the pork is slightly browned. By now, your kitchen should smell like a bustling Chinese dim sum restaurant on a lazy Sunday morning.
Add the bone broth. On high heat, cover the wok, and let the aromatics meld and the meat become tender. It should take about a minute or two. Next, is spice-it-up time. Add the curry powder, sambal oelek, tamari, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. Mix well. Toss in the mai fun noodles.
Toss, toss, toss. Blend in the happy family members: The prawns, the scrambled eggs, and the remaining spring onions. (If you still want your dearest char siew, throw some in.)
It’s time to dig in. Grab a pair of chopsticks or a fork. Go for it hot off the wok. This diner-style plate is for Mr. Chi-Town.
This one below is my Tee-lucky plate. Once the one big happy family disappears, the bone is waiting to be gnawed. It’s so my fun!
The star of this recipe is definitely all the ‘members of the happy family.” The mai fun noodles may be just a flavor carrier, but they are still a very important part of this dish. The wok, too, is instrumental in making a good stir-fry. Let’s not forget the ‘breath of the wok.’ High heat does it. And oh, no colossal shrimps needed. Unless of course, if you’re making it for that special occasion.
Mai fun can be combined with all kinds of ingredients, meat or veggies to make it homey. Do consider all my recipes in this blog, including this one, as a guide. Experiment. Shake things up a little bit. Put your own twist. Have fun making your own mai fun. Even if you are not able to find mai fun noodles, pad thai noodles will work, too. Experimented with pad thai noodles for a change (please refer to the picture below), a couple of eager foodie friends were asked to sample a plate each. The verdict? They could ‘t stop eating. They didn’t say a word. When the last morsel on the plate was swept clean, they uttered a string of “wows” followed by compliments after compliments.Talking about noodles, may I suggest investing in a wok. A good wok. Please say ‘no’ to the non-stick version. Think carbon steel — the kind Malaysians like. It’s a smart cookware. The more regularly you season it, and the more often you cook with it, it’ll get smarter and smarter. Did you know that As it Cooks loves my wok to bits? She is 3 years old. Her name is Storm. 🙂
So what’s you favorite noodle story?