Hokkien mee, our ‘Singaporean’ way

Singaporean Hokkien Mee

Food memories are something so precious. Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of food blogging for me is to be able to read about food memories from many blogger friends. And sharing mine to the world, too. But food memories aren’t always from the past. They always evolve, and as time passes, we are creating more and more of those meaningful memories.

When we are in the kitchen together, my MIL often tells me about her past in Singapore. Her father used to own a fruit store where tropical fruits were always available. Everyday, he would use the overripe bananas to make fried kueh (banana fried pancake). For her, to this day, it’s still the most delicious snack.

She told me too, about the hawker store just downstairs from her old flat. They were very famous for Hokkien mee, a kind of stir-fry noodles with seafood, prawn stock and pork pieces. She loved it, but was unable to enjoy often since the family was poor with a lot of mouths to feed…

After marriage, my MIL often improvised classic Chinese dishes to suit her new family, substituting away pork meat. Of course, one of the dishes she cooked often was Hokkien Mee. Then I came along (:P) and learned it from her, tweaking it from time to time. Just like that, our family version of Singaporean Hokkien mee was born.

Our version is full of flavors from the homemade prawn stock and fresh seafood. We like to have this with this particular brand of prawn chilli sambal, which gives a nice addictive kick.

Prawn chilli oil

Making Hokkien mee feels a lot like making risotto. Warm stock is laddled into the noodle mixture, and let them cook slowly (minimum stirring!) The end result is a soft, thick soupy noodle dish. Perfect!

Singaporean Hokkien Mee

Singaporean Hokkien Mee
Based on my MIL’s memories and various recipes

Ingredients (for 6-8 serves)

1kg fresh prawns
300g calamari, cleaned and cut into thin pieces
2 chicken carcases
1 onion, peeled
1 tablespoon black peppercorns

500g Hokkien noodles
200g dried vermicelli
200g bean sprouts
4 tablespoons light flavoured oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 eggs
2 tablespoons good quality fish sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 spring onions or garlic chives, finely chopped

To serve: lime quarters and Prawn Chilli Sambal

1. First off, clean the prawns – peel them and de-vein.
2. Put the prawn shell and head + chicken bones into a big saucepan. Drop in the onion, peppercorns and a good pinch of salt. Pour in some water (around 7-8 cups). Bring to the boil then simmer for 30-40 minutes. Pass through a sieve and the liquid is your prawn stock.
3.Briefly soak the dried vermicelli in cold water for 8-10 minutes, then drain well.
4.Warm up the prawn stock. Using a strainer with large handle, quickly blanch the prawn and calamari. Avoid overcooking! Keep the prawn stock warm.
5. Boil another pot of water and quickly blanch the bean sprouts. Set aside.
6. Beat the egg with a bit of salt and pepper.
7.Now, the real action! Heat up oil in a large wok, and then quickly fry the garlic until fragrant. Pour in the beaten egg, wait until it barely sets then stir briefly (scramble egg!). Next, put in the noodles and using high heat, sear them. You will have to stir them from time to time. Ladle in 1 cup of warm prawn stock, fry until the stock is almost dry. Then ladle in another cup of stock. Check the “doness” of your noodles. Once they are nearly done, add in the cooked prawn, squid, sprouts, chopped spring onion and seasoning. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
8.The final dish should not be dry, but still have thick soupy texture. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, and lots of chilli prawn sambal.

42 Responses to Hokkien mee, our ‘Singaporean’ way

  1. Soma says:

    Beautiful photographs as always. And agree 100% with you about the food memories. The noodles look delicate but the sambal stands by with a kick:) Delicious!

  2. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy says:

    A big portion of my memories as a child are do do with food! I think that is why I begam a food blogger! This looks so full of flavour and I love how the prawns 'pop: in your photos!

  3. Hannah says:

    Prawns *in* the chilli? Oh yes, I would like that condiment indeed.

  4. Lisa H. says:

    there are 2 things that will reel me back to the past…Songs and Food (of course :p)

  5. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    A fabulous dish! Really mouthwatering. What awesome flavors.

  6. Winston says:

    This is absolutely delicious, Anh! I'm so hungry from reading this post. I love Singaporen Hokkien noodles so much. And it's so nice to have it passed on to you from your MIL first hand, what a nice bonding session it must be for both of you. Recipes like these, that are old school, authentic and close to the heart, really get me each time. LOVE THIS!! And thanks for sharing =]

  7. Extra Virgin Chef says:

    That looks authentic and yummy. I am also in the process of capturing and documenting traditional Chinese recipes directly downloaded from my mom's head! http://extravirginchef.blogspot.com/2012/02/my-moms-10-minute-whole-fish-dish.html

  8. Angie's Recipes says:

    It looks delicious, Hokkien or Singaporean.

  9. Jennifer (Delicieux) says:

    I love reading about people's food memories too. It's amazing how food can instantly bring back a memory. And how wonderful of your MIL to share this recipe with you. It looks fantastic. Stunning photos too!

  10. Cocoa and Lavender says:

    This sounds great! I wonder if I can get Hokkien noodles here? Beautiful photos, too! ~ David

  11. erin @ yummy supper says:

    Anh, your Hokkien mee looks amazing. And you are making me miss S.E Asia and all the wonderful food. Lucky you to have a MIL who shares great recipes with you:)

  12. Johanna GGG says:

    what a lovely post – I agree that reading about people's food memories is lovely on blogs – and I also love reading about how recipes come about adapting and surviving as we change – and it is so lovely to remember family with a meal

  13. Cathleen says:

    This looks DELICIOUS!! I just had a huge breakfast, but I could totally make room for this as well ;)

  14. WokandSpoon says:

    My memories of hokkien noodles are Malaysian hokkien noodles. Very soupy. Looks like hard work but worth the effort. Yum!

  15. Sublime Palate says:

    One of my favorite hawker dishes ! Now I am craving for it .. The good part of living in Singapore is that you can enjoy all this by simply stepping out of your house and within 5 min walking distance! :)

  16. Little Corner of Mine says:

    Yum, looks good! I love that kind of chili sauce too.

  17. Blue Apocalypse says:

    That's really interesting that the Hokkien mee is similar to making a risotto. It looks delicious.

  18. MyFudoTM says:

    A dish gets more delicious and memorable when it has delightful memories as an additional ingredient. Thanks for sharing!

  19. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    This sounds wonderful – I never heard of hokkien before – thanks for letting me in on such a great secret! It is always funny to me how food memories can instantly take you back in time!

  20. chinmayie @ love food eat says:

    Noodles look so tempting. You are so right about food memories. That has to be my favorite part of reading food blogs too. It transports me to a different world every time :)

  21. Eri says:

    I could not agree more, I love food memories they make me feel "warm"! I love your dish I will try to make it soon now that I find an asian grocery store near my house..

  22. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Anh! My gosh, your description of Hokkien Mee is killing me… sounds so delicious. The homemade shrimp & chicken stock! The best of best. I love your pictures as always – this noodle is so irresistible!

  23. Sneh | Cook Republic says:

    Beautiful recipe Anh! I love hokkein mee and miss it dearly, must try making this at home. It is amazing how a certain brand of condiment can really make a difference to the taste of the recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Janine says:

    hokkien mee, together with the compulsory chili sauce is one of my faves, and yours look exactly like those i like in singapore. Especially like the story behind this dish of yours!

  25. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    I love that this is a dish rich with tradition, those make the best memories!

  26. SavoringTime in the Kitchen says:

    A wonderful story about your MIL and her childhood food memories.

  27. Umm Mymoonah says:

    Wow! Love the flavours in it, looks very delicious.

  28. jehanne@thecookingdoctor says:

    I love hokkien mee too..but my version is what my mom makes, full of Asian flavours..your food memories remind me of my current home:-)

  29. Tanvi@SinfullySpicy says:

    I cud imagine you & your MIL cooking & chatting in the kitchen. beautifully written! I always order singapore curry noodles at chinese restaurants..your version looks & sound so much better & delicious. will try!

  30. Ames says:

    I don't recall eating Singaporean hokkien mee but this looks pretty amazing :) . Hope to try it some time!

  31. Jamie says:

    You know that I feel the exact same way about you about food and memories. There is nothing so special as cooking together and having that food stri up memories and create a discussion around it. Food and life intermingle and nothing stirs up those memories or emotions better than food. This is such a fantastic dish with our favorite flavors… my family would love this.

  32. Amy (Savory Moments) says:

    This dish looks so delicious and the flavors look wonderful!

  33. nooschi says:

    Looks great…and love the story that came with this recipe!

  34. Yasmeen says:

    Anh, I agree wholeheartedly that one of food blogging's greatest joys is the feeling behind the food – the memories, stories, histories. I love sharing mine and love reading others in return.

  35. Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen says:

    I'm always intrigued by your recipes. This one in particular looks very very tempting.

  36. ChichaJo says:

    Lovely photos that evoke equally lovely memories! Yes, food memories are so precious…thanks for sharing yours! :)

  37. Sarah says:

    beautiful pictures – looks so delicious!

  38. shaz says:

    You're so lucky to be able to share stories and cook with your MIL. It's wonderful to see the handing down of recipes through the generations. I'll have to hunt some of this down now that I can :) Does your MIL have any recommendations of where to go?

  39. Hotly Spiced says:

    Yes, it's wonderful to share food memories. I love the sound of those banana pancakes. And your dish looks very fresh and full of texture and flavour.

  40. mjskit says:

    Loved reading about the relationship between you and your MIL. It's wonderful to be so close to an in-law and have such memories. This recipe is certainly something to share! It looks delicious!

  41. Nic@diningwithastud says:

    I find that sometimes this dish can be quite oily which overtakes everything but yours looks fab! So light which allows all the flavours to shine through :)

  42. Jill~a SaucyCook says:

    I am stuck! I can't decide which I love more: your delicious sounding recipe, your beautiful photography or your heartfelt story? I am so fascinated by the intersection of food and culture and think that stories like these need to be preserved. Thank you for sharing and I will definitely be back to visit often.

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