Sunday, March 17, 2013

Singapore mei fun like nobody's business

Singapore mei fun is my favorite Chinese food, mostly because it's curry-flavored, but also because it's delicious and greasy and perfect. I've tried several recipes from around teh internets, but most called for too much soy sauce, and none were greasy or curry-y enough to mimic what I get from New China. I've also tried several curry powders, and the one I like best comes from the UK.

You're not going to make this every week, not because you won't want to eat it, but because if you're making it right, in my opinion, it's not diet food. Don't let that stop you.

The cooking goes pretty fast, so you'll want to have all the ingredients rinsed, drained, minced, measured, etc. before you start cooking. Don't feel too guilty about adding oil between each addition to the wok—it really is crucial. When you do add oil, drizzle it around the edge of the wok, so that it slides into the bottom, and for this recipe, add both olive and toasted sesame oil in equal amounts.

You may notice there's no shrimp in this version, unlike the restaurant variety. Feel free to add it if you like, before the other meats.


singapore mei fun

This makes enough for four or five people.

You'll need these:
a wok
a big bowl to soak the rice stick
another big serving bowl
a wok spoon (this looks like a spade), or whatever you normally stir-fry with
See that wok spoon?

Rajah hot Madras curry powder from the UK—only $3.99 at my Asian market
And these:
1 lb. super-fine rice stick (rice noodles from the Asian market, or from the grocery store, if you enjoy paying three times the price)
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
3 eggs, whipped with 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 TBSP hot madras curry powder
1" knob of ginger, peeled, minced
5 or 6 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, minced
1/2 cup napa cabbage (5 big leaves or so), finely sliced
2 cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed, drained, and relatively dry (2 big handfuls)
3 green onions, cut into 1" pieces
some cooked chicken (optional)
some char siu (optional)
3 tsp or more thin soy sauce (regular, not the dark stuff that's best for fried rice)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Get everything prepped before you begin cooking. You're welcome.
  1. Set the wok on a burner and heat on high.
  2. Place the rice stick in a bowl large enough to hold it with room to spare and cover with cool water. Soak the noodles for 30 minutes, until softened, but not mushy, pour off the water, and coat with 1/2 cup olive oil, mixing well. Set aside.
  3. Into the very hot wok, pour enough of equal amounts of olive and sesame oil to coat the sides.
  4. Pour the eggs and sesame oil mixture into the hot wok. Let the bottom set just a touch, and stir gently with the wok spoon until just cooked. Remove the eggs to the serving bowl.
  5. Add more oils to the hot wok and add in 1 TBSP of the curry powder. Stir around a bit, and if necessary, add enough oil to rise above the powder, so you can fry the vegetables.
  6. This part goes pretty quickly... Add in the garlic and ginger and fry just a minute, until fragrant. Add in the vegetables in order of slowest-cooking to fastest, pushing vegetables aside and adding oils between each addition, and stir fry until just beginning to soften.
  7. (Skip this step if you're not using meat.) Push the vegetables aside in the wok, add oils, the meats, and 1 tsp soy sauce, and stir-fry until heated through. 
  8. Remove the vegetables and meats to the serving bowl.
  9. Add oils to the wok, and then add in the 2 TBSP curry powder and stir around. 
  10. Add the noodles, 2 tsp of the soy sauce, and a small amount of stock. Stir around to mix everything together and fry the noodles, adding more stock as necessary just to keep from sticking. You want a nice, slippery mess of fried curry goodness, not soup.
  11. Taste, and add more soy sauce if you'd like.
  12. Turn off the heat, stir in the cooked vegetables and eggs, and dump it all into the serving bowl.
Save some for lunch tomorrow.

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