Our very first dinner in Kuala Lumpur was hokkien mee in Chinatown. Simple, but absolutely packed with flavour and not quite as easy to eat with chopsticks as you’d expect. It was only a matter of time before I made it myself. After a trip to my favourite Asian supermarket in Louvain earlier this week and scoring some fish balls, hokkien mee time it was!
KL Hokkien Mee (original recipe at Rasa Malaysia)
200g of pork belly, skin and excess fat removed and sliced into 1cm pieces
Marinade for Pork:
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
White pepper to taste
1 tbsp of soy sauce
½ tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp of cornflour
Shrimp (allow about 3-4 per person > I used 9)
White fish balls (allow about 2-3 per person > ditto)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small baby Chinese cabbage (I used pak choy leaves instead)
250g of thick hokkien noodles
Chu yau cha (recipe below)
2 tbsp of pork flavoured oil (recipe below)
4 tbsp of dark soy sauce
2 tbsp of light soy sauce
3/4 cup (180ml) of chicken or pork stock
2 tsp white sugar
White pepper to taste
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp cold water
Mix the sliced pork belly pieces into the pork marinade and set aside for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the rest of your ingredients and set aside within reach of your cooking area:
- Shrimp – peeled, deveined, tails removed
- Baby Chinese cabbage – washed and sliced into 1cm strips (discard the really thick stems)
- Fish balls – halved
- Noodles – prepared according to your packet’s instructions.
Mix the cornflour and cold water in a little bowl until smooth and set aside.
When everything is ready, preheat a wok over a high flame and add about 2 tablespoons of pork oil and heat until smoking.
Add the marinated pork belly and fry briskly (be careful of hot spitting oil).
When just browned, add the shrimp, fishballs and garlic and fry for half a minute. Toss in the chinese cabbage and fry for a further 30 seconds or so.
Add in the noodles and give it a quick toss.
Add the dark soy sauce and light soy sauce and mix to coat the noodles. Add more dark soy sauce if the colour isn’t dark enough.
Add the stock, sugar, white pepper and a small handful of chu yau cha (crispy pork lardons) and fry to combine. Taste the sauce and adjust the saltiness and sweetness to your preference.
Add in the cornflour/water mixture and toss until the sauce has thickened and the noodles are coated in the gravy.
Serve the noodles onto plates and spoon over the gravy. Garnish with more chu yau cha if you wish and a spoonful of sambal belacan.
To make the pork oil and chu yau cha:
Dice your pork fat into small cubes (or lardons). If using just pork belly, remove the skin and then trim off the excess fat from the top of the belly and dice.
Place the diced pork fat in about 2 tablespoons of peanut oil over medium-low heat. I used a deep pot and covered it partially with a lid to prevent the pork from spitting oil all over my kitchen!
Render the fat until the little pork pieces are crispy and golden. Depending on the size of your lardons, this could take 30 minutes to an hour. Check it regularly to make sure it’s not browning too much.
Remove the chu yau cha from the oil and drain on paper towels. Once it’s completely cooled, you can store the chu yau cha in an airtight container or jar.
Drain the pork oil into a sterilised and airtight glass jar to store.