I thought I would try to squeeze in one more recipe before MFF Sarawak Month is over. This is Cha Zhu Mien - literally means fried and then braised noodles. My mom would make this often at home or maybe she makes it only when I’m there because I’ll be the only one asking for it….along with the hoogan for supper. Hehehe. Now, there are many versions of how this dish is prepared but the main gist of it is that you have to stir-fry the noodles first before braising it in a broth.
My husband also know of this dish but I suppose in his mind he is thinking of the ‘loo mien’, what they have in Sitiawan where the broth is thickened by cornstarch and darkened by dark soy sauce and black vinegar. I personally do not like the cornstarch thickening thing in my ‘cha zhu mien‘, I like my soup just as it is and if you want it darker, just add more soy sauce.
Sliced lean pork
Dried Shitake mushrooms, re-hydrated and sliced
Pak Choi, cut off the root-end part
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
Fried shallots, garlish
Ground chilli (optional)
4-6 cups Chicken Stock
1 heaping teaspoon, chopped garlic
1 teaspoon light Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark Soy Sauce (optional, more for colour)
1/2 teaspoon Ang Chiu/ rice wine
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
1. Prep your ingredients ready. Make the broth first. I like to go quite overboard with the chopped garlic for this noodle dish, but if you don’t fancy too much garlic then adjust portion to your preference.
2. In a pot, stir fry a heaping teaspoon of chopped garlic with 1 teaspoon sunflower oil. When it’s fragrant, pour in your chicken stock.
3. Let it come to a boil, season it with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine and pepper.
4. While the soup is boiling, heat your wok till it’s hot.
5. Add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil. Add some chopped garlic and stir-fry (I did say I like to go overboard with the garlic didn’t I? You can skip this part if you’d like) before adding the yellow noodles.
6. Sometimes when you buy the packet yellow noodles, they tend to stick to each other. Don’t use your flat spatula to try and break it or you’ll end up with crumbly, short pieces of noodles. Take two forks and with both hands, separate them in the wok.
7. You want to stir-fry the noodles till they’re quite dry with some brown marks here and there. The noodles should be like semi-crispy but not too hard.
8. When the noodles are ready, bring the soup to a boil. Add all the other ingredients to the soup; fishballs, sliced pork and sliced shitakes.
9. Add your noodles to the soup (in the step-by-step photos above, I added the soup to the noodles because I gathered my pot might be too small for all the noodles, but I leave it to you whichever method you’d like).
10. While it’s coming to a boil, crack some eggs on separate places. I rather like my eggs whole and chunky, some like the egg-drop texture. Again, personal preference.
11. When the eggs are done, the noodles should be braised soft enough to eat. Taste and adjust soup seasonings.
12. Turn off the heat and add your pak choi at the end.
13. Here’s how I like to eat mine, I put some ground chilli into the bottom of the bowl.
14. I ladle some soup into the bowl to mix with the chilli. Then just scoop the rest of the ingredients into the bowl.
15. Eat garnished with fried shallots!
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