|Spicy Rice Vermicelli|
One of the benefits of writing a food blog is it motivates me to keep looking out for new recipes, cooking ideas and trying out new dishes. By posting the dishes online, it helps to keep track of the dishes that I have cooked for the past week, month or year, and at the same time, what are the dishes that I have been wanting to try out, but never appear on my dinner table. Better still, join a blogging event, for instance, a monthly food theme, where we need to use specific ingredient(s) in our cooked dishes or baked goodies. It really adds fun and challenge to my daily cooking routine.
Take for instance, this Nyonya fried mee siam. This is the first time that I'm preparing this dish, after flipping through a cook book that was hidden in my bookshelf for nth number of years. I have always wanted to prepare this spicy rice vermicelli, but had no idea how to prepare the rempah or the spicy paste. So when I saw the recipe in the cook book and scrutinised the list of ingredients... hey, it was not too complicated after all. OK, I must TRY THIS for this month's budget meal: Noodles! See... the power and motivation of food blogging. Else, I would have probably tuck the book back to the bookshelf for another nth years.....
|Ingredients for my fried mee siam|
(serves 4 to 5)
300g vermicelli (米粉)
150g small-sized prawns ( 虾仁)
1 firm bean curd (豆干）
2 eggs (鸡蛋）
2 handfuls of beansprouts (豆芽）
Handful of chives (韭菜 ), cut into 1" sections
2 tbsp tamarind paste, assam (亚参)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
7 dried chilies (辣椒干)
5 red chilies （红辣椒)
2 to 3 tbsp dried shrimps (虾米), briefly soak in water
15 cloves shallots (红葱头）
4 cloves garlic (蒜头）
1 small piece belachan, approx 1/2 tbsp (峇拉煎), toast in oven for a few minutes
2 tbsp soy bean paste (豆酱）
2 to 3 small limes (酸柑）
1 to 2 tbsp fried shallots (葱油酥）
1) Preparation work (see above picture): Soak the vermicelli in water till soft. Drain and set aside. De-shell the prawns. Cut the bean curd into small pieces, shallow fried in hot oil over medium-low heat till golden brown. Set aside. Fry the eggs into thin omelette and cut into thin shreds. Cut the chives into 1" sections. Mix the assam with one cup of water (sieve the liquid, discard the seeds)
2) Prepare the spice paste (rempah): Soak the dried chilies in hot water, squeeze out water and remove seeds (I prefer less spicy). Halve the red chilies and remove seeds. Blend the spice ingredients in a blender till all ingredients come together to form a paste. Add a little water from soaking the dried shrimps for easier blending.
[Note: The traditional way is to pound the spice ingredients in a mortar and pestle, in a certain order. I may explore that next time.]
3) Heat up the wok with oil (about 3 tbsp) over medium low heat and fry the rempah till fragrant. This takes time, keep stirring the paste till it dries up, colour darkens and the paste is fragrant (Do not attempt to speed up by cooking over high heat as the rempah is easily burnt). As the paste is drying up, add about 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 salt. Taste the rempah and add more salt if necessary.
4) Heat up some oil in a clean wok over high heat. Add the chopped garlic, stir fry for a while. Add the bean sprouts, give it a few stirs, remove and
push it to one side of the wok set aside. Add in the prepared rempah, assam juice and about 2 to 3 cups of water. Add the rice vermicelli, cover and let it simmer over medium heat for a few minutes.
5) When the rice vermicelli has soaked up most of the liquid in the wok, toss the vermicelli with a wok ladle and a pair of wooden chopsticks till ingredients are well-combined. Add in the prawns, fried bean curd and chives, bean sprouts and toss well again and cover briefly for a minute or two. Add in the shredded eggs and give it another toss.
6) Garnish with fried shallots and serve hot with small limes at the side.
[Recipe Source: Adapted from "Traditional Nonya Cuisine" by Luck Koh]
I will be sharing this recipe with Cuisine Paradise at her hosted event, June $20 Budget Meal - Noodles.
Estimated cost to prepare the above meal (serves 4 to 5):
Vermicelli ($1) + prawns ($2) + chives/eggs/bean curd/bean sprouts/limes ($2) + spice ingredients ($2)
Total estimate cost: $7.00