Hokkien Prawn Mee - Scaled down Recipe

Saturday, February 03, 2018

I have written a few post on this recipe and you can check them out through this link.

I have never cooked this for less than 30 bowls and the recipe reflect this. However, there have been various request for a smaller portion recipe. So, I hope this is helpful if you plan on making 10 bowls or less.

As for the stock, it is primarily a prawn or shrimp stock with some secondary flavours from meat stock, i.e. chicken or pork. Once you grasp this, you will know how to vary the ingredients as you will be using different type of prawns, depending on what you can get from the market in your area. If you have very small shrimps, they can be used whole without peeling. Remember to roast them first before pulverising.

Auntie Ruby's Hokkien Prawn Mee Recipe

To make 10 bowls (about 2-3 liter of stock)

Preparing the prawn and dried shrimp stock 

800 gm  prawns
100 g dried shrimps (hae bee)
150 g  fried anchovies (ikan bilis)
5 cm ginger
  1. Peel and separate the heads and shells of all the prawns. Trim off the sharp pointers at the top of the heads. Set aside about 20 pieces of meat for garnishing later.
  2. Heat up 1 Tbps of oil in a wok and roast the dried shrimps for 10 minutes. Add ginger. Then add the heads/shells and roast till they turn golden orange. 
  3. Add 2 litres of water and pulverise it finely, using a stick or standing blender. You should see some orange or red coloured foam at the surface of the stock. 
  4. Add the ikan bills. Cover and simmer the stock for half an hour. Then let it steep overnight for maximum flavour extraction. You can also do this earlier in the day and let the flavours develop by dinner time.
Preparing the lard and sambal chili

300 g of pork fat 
30 pieces dried chilli
1 inch in diameter block of belachan or 1 Tbps
  1. Lard is of course optional but the flavour and mouth feel of pork fat is fantastic in the broth. Cut the pork fat into 1 cm (0.4 in) cubes. In a pan, slowly heat up the cubed fat. The oil will slowly flow out and fry the rest of the fat. Keep the fire low so as not to burn the lardon. It will take about an hour to do it right. When the cubs have shrunk to a quarter of its original size, increase the fire to get the lardon nicely browned. The lardon can be offered as a garnish but the oil is what you want. Lard can be prepared beforehand and stored in the fridge for weeks.    
  2. Leave about half a bowl of the lard in the wok to make the sambal chilli. Blend the soaked dried chilli into a paste.  Then, over low fire, add paste and simmer for 15 minutes. You can also use ready-made or store bought chilli paste.
Finishing the Broth

100 ml chicken stock concentrate
30 gm rock sugar
A bowl of sambal chilli (100 ml)
50 ml of lard 
Water to make up to 4 litre of broth
  1. Strain the prawn and ikan bills stock. 
  2. Keep the broth on a simmer. It is important to taste it as you develop the flavours to learn how each ingredients move the broth closer to the outcome you want. While I give the quantities of ingredients in the recipe, the sweetness and saltiness which you prefer may be different from mine. Learn to train your palate to balance the flavours. If you have tasted some good Hae Mee or tasted mine, those palate memories can guide you. 
  3. Add the rock sugar, chicken stock (bouillon powder or concentrate) and sambal chilli. The chicken stock flavouring gives a mellow body to the broth. (Note: You can replace the chicken stock with chicken bones and meat or pork bones if you want to stir clear of MSG.) 
  4. Add the belachan and a bowl of the sambal chili (with lard oil) into the broth. 
  5. Add some water along the way.  
Don’t rush through this stage. This is where a cook can improve his skills, palate and learn the steps in improving a broth. Sometimes, I ladle out some broth into a bowl and flavour it to find a right estimate of what is needed in the pot. Of course, if you are using the same ingredients again and with experience, you will get more confident.

Preparing the prawn meat and pork loin meat(for garnishing)
  1. Simmer the pork loin meat in the stock for 30 to 40 minutes depending on how large the chunks are. Don't overcook it or it will be too dry. 
  2. Set aside 20 pieces of prawn meat for the topping. Keep the remainder for other uses. Devein the prawn meat for the topping using a toothpick or the sharp edge of a knife. It is easier to devein before you blanch them.  
  3. Blanch the prawns in the boiling stock using a strainer. Do this in small batches as the prawns need to cook quickly or the meat will fall apart on the sides. If you are doing this the day before serving, refrigerate the prawns. They keep well after they are cooked.   
Preparing the bowls: garnishing and serving

20 pieces prawn meat (halved into 40 pieces, 4 per bowl)
500 gm  water convolvulous (kangkong)
500 gm beansprouts
300 gm pork loin
4 eggs
Fried shallots
400 gm (2.2 lb) yellow noodles
400 gm  (2.2 lb) rice vermicelli (bee hoon)
30 slices of fish cake (3 slices per bowl)
  1. Slice the boiled prawn meat into halves. 
  2. Slice the pork loin and fish cakes. 
  3. Fried shallots are indispensable. Make your own if you can. If you use commercial ones, get those which are fresh and crispy. 
  4. Soften the bee hoon in water for about 30 minutes.  
  5. When it is time to serve, assemble a serving of the bean sprouts, mee, bee hoon and kangkong in a bowl. Blanch the contents of the bowl in rolling boiling water for about half a minute. This will also remove the “kee” (alkaline) smell of the yellow noodles. Put back into the bowl. Garnish with slices of prawns, pork and fish cake. Pour in the boiling broth and drain. Do it twice. Garnish with fried shallots and serve immediately with plates of sambal chilli and lardon on the side.  
It may take a few tries to master this dish but the responses from your family or guests will encourage you. It may seem like a lot of work but it will become intuitive as you become more experienced. As with all party dishes, effort and work is needed but your guest will remember this meal for a long time. As someone said, a good recipe is about doing many small steps right. It is true for this dish.

The PPM broth is done. 

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  1. hi, may i know what is sambal chili? is it chili boh?

  2. Thank you for sharing. The taste is perfect. May be better than sar tiao lao at penang. :)

  3. Nice post thanks for ssharing