Hand-pulled Noodles – Whip It UP!
Mee Hoon Kuih
Delight mother with a bowl of piping hot hand-pulled noodles (mee hoon kuih) on Mother’s Day. This bowl of simplicity was born of austerity during the Japanese occupation when flour was more readily available than rice. Using basic pantry ingredients – flour and salt, mee hoon kuih resembles flattened pieces of dough pulled and stretched before being tossed into a simmering stock of dried anchovies (ikan bilis) to which minced meat, poached egg and vegetables are added before serving. Best with fried ikan bilis as topping!
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6-8 servings
A: Soup Base
200g anchovies (ikan bilis), peeled and washed
A handful of preserved cabbage (tong choi), washed
Thumb-size ginger, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, bruised
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon powder seasoning (optional)
2½-3 litres water
B: Mee Hoon Kuih dough
600g plain flour
300g pumpkin, skinned
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shallot or cooking oil
C: Soup Ingredients
350g chicken or pork slices, seasoned with salt, pepper and tapioca flour
8 dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked until soft, sliced
100g Chinese black fungus, soaked and sliced
6-8 eggs, one per person
400g choy sum or any green vegetables
300g anchovies (ikan bilis), airfried or deepfried
Some fried shallots
1-2 stalks spring onion, cut to 5cm lengths
Fresh cut bird’s eye chilli in soy sauce
1. After washing anchovies, pat them dry using paper towel. They can either be airfried or deepfried. Set it aside.
2. Heat a stock pot with water over medium heat. Place anchovies in a muslin soup bag together with tong choi, ginger and garlic and tie it securely. Put it in stock pot. Bring it to a rolling boil, then reduce to low heat. Let it simmer for 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile while soup is boiling, bring 2 litres of water to a rolling boil in a wok or deep saucepan. Put in a steaming tray. Place pumpkin on top of tray and steam until tender, about 5 mins.
4. After an hour, turn heat off. Add in salt and seasoning (if using) and a few dashes of sesame oil.
5. In a large mixing bowl, place skinned pumpkin into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Mix in remaining B ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Hand knead until it is no longer sticky but still pliable, approximately 20 minutes.
6. If dough is too soft, add some flour; likewise, add water if it is too dry. Shape dough into balls of about 150gm – each ball makes one serving.
7. For each ball of dough; using your fingers, pinch pieces of dough, pulling and stretching into bite-size flat pieces.
Drop each piece in the soup to cook.
Continue until the entire batch is cooked.
8. Cook 1 bowl at a time. In a small saucepan, pour in 1 bowl of stock – this serves one person. Add in meat, mushroom and black fungus. Boil until meat is cooked.
9. For each person, break in an egg if desired. Add in vegetables. Continue to cook for about 1-2 minutes then turn off heat. Pour entire content into prepared bowl. Repeat cooking process for the remaining bowls.
10. Garnish each bowl with D ingredients before serving. Enjoy it with bird’s eye chillies in light soy sauce.
TIP: Natural food colouring is preferable. The addition of pumpkin renders the dough yellow. Alternatively, substitute pumpkin with leafy greens e.g. spinach or beetroot for red dough.
TECHNIQUE: Adding pumpkin results in a tender dough that is delightfully moist with a chewy bite.
Photos: Tina Lim