- Belly pork
- Prawns (peeled but with tail intact)
- Thick hokkien noodles (possibly blasphemy, but I've used Udon noodles here - they seem to be a reasonable substitute)
- Chinese cabbage
- Light soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce (I used the Thick Caramel Sauce - Red Label on a Rectangular Bottle)
- Chicken or Pork Bone Stock
- Sambal belacan (to serve)
**Long Title:** Hawker-style Kuala Lumpur Hokkien Mee
This is my version of the thick, black hokkien mee you get in Kuala Lumpur. My brother and I were always addicted to this stuff. Every time we went to KL on family trips dinner on the first night would always be a trip to a hawker stall for a plate of this. It's been a tradition since as long as I can remember.
I don't go to KL as often these days so it's a long time between fixes. This is how I make this in Japan.
The secret to this Hokkien Mee is one thing... pork fat. Not exactly good for you, but it really defines this dish.
1. Remove the skin from the belly pork and separate the fat from the meat. Cut the fat into lardons and chop the meat. Marinade the chopped meat in a little chopped garlic, some white pepper, cornstarch, Maggi seasoning and sesame oil. Render the lardons of fat over extremely low heat in a small frypan. This will take about an hour and at the end of the process the liquid fat will be separated and you will be left with small crispy nuggets of pork fat (chu yau cha). Pour of the fat and you're ready for frying. (Of course, if you can buy solid pork fat separately you could use that for the chu yau cha and use another cut of pork for the meat in the dish. I use belly pork simply because I can't buy the meat and fat separately.)
2. If you started with around 200 grams of pork belly (including fat and skin), that's enough for about two people. While the fat is rendering, peel your prawns (around 3 or 4 each), cut the squid into rectangles and chop a bowl full of chinese cabbage crossways at around 1cm intervals. Finely chop around 3 cloves of garlic. Separate and soak your noodles in a large bowl full of cold water. Your prep is done. Tidy up and get your wok out, ready to fry.
3. Heat the reserved pork fat (the liquid, not the chu yau cha) in the wok until hot and add in the pork meat to brown. When just browned throw in the prawns, squid and garlic. After 30 seconds or so add in the Chinese cabbage and toss for another 30 seconds.
4. Add in enough noodles for two people and pour over about half a cup of chicken stock. Then add your seasonings: about a tablespoon of light soy sauce, a few healthy shakes of white pepper, about one and a half tablespoons of dark soy sauce (or more - the colour of the dish should be very dark) and a heaped teaspoon of sugar. Toss in the wok and cook for a minute or two until the noodles are done.
5. To serve, make sure you get plenty of the thick, black gravy that has collected in the bottom of the wok in each serve. The picture above doesn't quite do it justice, but trust me - there was a delicious thick black gravy around it. Although it is a fried noodle dish, the gravy is very important. Scatter the dish with crispy pork fat and serve with a spoonful of the sambal belcan and a wedge of lemon if you like.
6. Don't get any on your shirt.