Monday, January 16, 2012

Hokkien Char Mee (Fried Noodles) 福建炒麵

Every time I look at the menu for a Chinese restaurant, I scratch my head and wonder what 'chow mein' means. This is because back in Asia, there are many different varieties of fried noodles and ordering 'chow mein' would be similar to ordering 'meat'.

Today, I made Hokkien Char Mee (Fried Noodles) for dinner. Hokkien Char Mee is popular dish in Malaysia and Singapore. It's name is similar to Hokkien Mee, and looks very similar to Char Kuay Teow (Fried Flat Rice Noodles), but it is completely different. It is a meat dish, unlike Hokkien Mee, which is a predominantly seafood dish. Like Char Kuay Teow, it is fried with dark soy sauce, which gives it its dark color. However, the dark soy sauce used in Hokkien Mee is made with sugar and molasses, which gives the dish a much sweeter undertone than Char Kuay Teow.

I could possibly go into a lengthy discussion on the different soy sauces in Asian cuisine (I can already count at least 6 different varieties!), or I could dive into differentiating Asian noodles, but I'd rather just dive into the dish itself.

Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 1/2 lb dried fat bee hoon (vermicelli)
  • 1/2 lb dried yellow noodles (or egg noodles)
  • 3/4 lb Chinese broccoli, separate into leaves and stems
  • 10 oz pork, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sweet dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese soy sauce
  • pinch of white pepper (optional)

  • Cook noodles according to the packaging, and set aside.
  • In a heated pan, fry the minced garlic until fragrant and golden brown.
  • Add the sliced pork, and fry until the pork is half-cooked.
  • Add the noodles and stalks of the Chinese broccoli. Fry until the stalks are half-cooked.

  • Make a hole in the middle of the noodles, and crack both eggs in the hole. Scramble the eggs in the hole, then cover the hole with the rest of the noodles.
  • Add the leaves of the Chinese broccoli, and fry until everything is evenly combined.
  • Add the sweet dark soy sauce, soy sauce and white pepper (optional). Fry until evenly combined.
  • Serve.

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