Auntie Ruby Prawn Noodles for 30

Monday, March 25, 2024

I cooked a batch of Prawn Mee for 30 pax recently. I will share the recipe here. It will also be my cooking notes for future cooking. 

For those who have cooked this before, it may be helpful to note some changes I made from previous posted recipes

So, some basic principles to note for a good prawn soup:
  • You want a rich umami prawn taste in your stock. The shells will give you the rich flavor. In SG, fresh medium size sea-farmed prawns are good and cheap. It is even cheaper for this recipe because you are reserving the prawn meat for other dishes. 
  • It is important to fry the shells in oil first to extract the prawn flavors. Some oil (lard!) in the soup is important for flavour and mouth feel. 
  • Fish or prawn stock will need to be enriched by pork or chicken stock for a fuller taste. You want to balance the sharp flavours of seafood. This will be true for fish soup and certainly true for this recipe. 
  • My Mum's version add some ikan bilis and so I am following hers. 
Ingredients for the soup:
2 kg pork bones
5 kg prawn shells
300g Ikan Bilis (heads on is cheaper)
8 litre of water
Salt and sugar to taste
a bowl of oil

Slices of Loin pork (300 gm)
Slices of prawn (1 kg)
Fish Cake
Fried Shallots
10 Hard boiled eggs (thin slices)

For the bowls:
Yellow Mee
Bee Hoon (Rehydrated)
Bean Sprouts

Chilli Paste
Lard and lardons

Preparing the Stock
  1. Fry the shells (including the heads) in the oil in a wok or pot till it is red/orange in colour. It will take about 5-10 minutes. You can also use lard if you wish. Add some water and using a hand blender (most efficient method), crush the shell. You want the flavors from the heads to be fully released.
  2. Boil the water and add the pork bones to the water and simmer for 2 hours or more. Mid point, add the ikan bilis and the crushed prawn shells. For maximum flavor extraction, it is best to prepare the stock ahead of time i.e the day before. You can leave the pot of stock on your stove overnight. 
Finalising the Soup
  1. Strain the stock with a colander. At this point, I will add some water to the bones and crushed shells to further extract the flavors. 
  2. Taste the stock. From here your palate will guide you as you add some salt and sugar. I will sometimes enrich the stock with some lard (oil) and chilli paste but these can also be left out for guest to add on their own. I will suggest not to enrich the soup too much as it is meant to be eaten with the noodles, not as a prawn soup or bisque by itself. 
Preparing the bowls
  1. Cook the prawn meat. The slice horizontally into halves. If you slices before you cook them, the meat will curl up. Up to you. 
  2. Prepare a pot of boiling water. Use this to prepare the noodle bowl by bowl using a colander. Portion your mee and bee hoon, slices of loin pork, kang kung and bean sprouts. Dip into the boiling water for about 30 secs. Then dip into the prawn soup and drain before lifting and dropping into a bowl.
  3. Add the soup into the bowl. Garnish with slices of prawns, fish cake, slices of egg and fried shallots.
  4. Chilli paste and lard to be added by diner. 
There are some finer points for presentation and getting each item right. Loin pork cooks fast and if you want it tender, don’t overcook it. 

I have improvised on my Mum’s recipe by cooking a pork stock beforehand. In her original recipe, she add chicken powder or stock concentrate. I will also omit belachan and heh bee (dried shrimps) if I have enough prawn shells i.e. 2 kg for 10 pax. Note that belachan and her bee is made from shrimps and will enhance the soup if used. 

With experience, I am sure it will be intuitive. This recipe may seem complicated with many steps but as you build your experience with cooking soup noodles, you will find an intuitive rhythm. You have to be organised in the way you approach this recipe. The hawkers cook this everyday and have a daily system or rhythm in preparing the stock and the bowls when ordered. You have to find your own when you are cooking for your family or a party. 

Slurping a bowl of traditional Penang Prawn Mee is an unforgettable satisfying experience. It is worth the effort to master this recipe. 

I will add some photos below when we were preparing to serve this recently for an Alpha Course

Frying the shells in some oil

Blending the shells in some water

By this colour you can tell the shells were kept fresh

The soup is finalised and bowls prepared. 

Condiments for garnish

Ready to Serve. 

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  1. Thank u for the notes! Hope you will cook Mee Rebus next:)