Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Malaysian/Singaporean Hawker Cuisine: Prawn Noodles


I don't often do posts on savoury dishes mainly because I HAVE TO cook dinner every Monday to Friday whilst I DON'T HAVE TO make desserts, bake cakes, pastries or cookies, thus the idea of baking becomes more appealing and is a treat for me. Styling and Photographing sweets is more fun too because the colors of sweets are more interesting.
However, every once in a while I whip up something savoury that takes a little more time and effort than the Monday to Friday dishes, something like this that I really take pride in preparing. I had some friends over recently to share this dish.



Most of you guessed right – This is Prawn Noodles or ‘Hae Mee’ as it’s known in Singapore or ‘Mee Yoke’ as it’s known in Malaysia. I’ve made Prawn Noodles in the past, but I must say that I was only totally happy with the flavour recently, thanks to Madam Chia Ah Bee, the mother of a good friend of ours from Singapore, Jeffrey Lim. On their holiday trip here two years ago, Madam Chia was kind enough to show me how she made her famous Prawn Noodles. Those of you living in Dover Road Singapore will remember Madam Chia for her noodle stall simply known as ‘Teck Hock Prawn Noodles’ that had been in the area since 1978. She is retired now and spends her time doing the things she loves like travelling, having her weekend mah-jong sessions, cooking for her family and watching cooking shows on TV.



Madam Chia Ah Bee (extreme right) with her family on holiday in Bangkok


Life wasn’t this easy for Madam Chia in the late seventies – she had been widowed in her mid 30s and had to be the only bread winner for her family of four children. Teck Hock Prawn Noodle Stall became her primary source of income. On Sundays and Public Holidays, she made and sold another of her specialty dishes, Braised Duck Noodles which was another popular favourite. I was told that Madam Chia had learnt her cooking skills from her mother and Mother-in-law, and this had become an invaluable asset for her in hard times.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn some of her ‘tips’ and ‘secrets’ to making some of the best tasting Singaporean dishes including this Prawn Noodle dish. The secret to making a memorable ‘Hae Mee’ is in the stock, which derives it’s rich flavour and coloring from prawn heads and shells that are sautéed until well caramelised.

I look forward to my next trip to Singapore when I will again savour Madam Chia’s skilful cooking!

21 comments:

Big Boys Oven said...

Hahahah looks like prawn "mee" noodle!

Mandy said...

it looks like prawn noodle to me too. :)

Ashley said...

I am not sure what this is, but I can't wait to hear more... it looks delish!

joy said...

I can't think what it is. Hmm... But looking at it has intensified my hunger pangs. So I'm gonna mosey over to the kitchen to make myself something to eat!

joy
The Goddess In You

daphne said...

i'm thinking it's definitely prawn noodles!

singairishgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
singairishgirl said...

Hae Mee (prawn noodles). I just had it at a friend's place for a brunch gathering. She got it from a shop along East Coast Road. I love theirs.

Ming the Merciless said...

My initial thought was beef noodle soup (new roll mein) but upon closer look, I think it's asam laksa.

Dwiana P said...

Oh may may Carol, can I came to your house? :))

tigerfish said...

Prawn noodles, isit? I think the Malaysian version and Singapore version is not totally the same, but I still like them both.

Oh for the love of food! said...

BB Oven, Of course I'd expect you to know what this is! Anyway, it's one of my favourite type of noodles.

Mandy,
spot on!

Ashley,
Thanks, I f you are ever in Singapore or Malaysia, be sure to look out for it!

Joy,
I got a feeling you will love this dish ;o)

Daphne,
Yup! You are right!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Debra,
You are lucky - sometimes, I wish I could get a really authentic tasting dish around here without having to cook it myself!

Ming,
My Dear, you need to get in touch with your roots!Beef noodles have got a thick brown, gravy-like soup where as when you see a bowl of Assam laksa, tell tale signs are shredded cucumber and mint leaves floating at the top. Hmmm....I've got a feeling though, that you knew this is Prawn Noodles all along!

Dwiana,
Sure! You are always welcome!

Tiger,
I think the only difference between the Singaporean and Malaysian style of making Prawn Noodles is the addition of the halved hard-boiled egg. Whay do you think?

Ming the Merciless said...

I love the "human interest" stories in your blog.

You should compile a cookbook for your daughters and future son-in-laws. :-)

And friends too.

joy said...

I would have loved to have tasted that! But did it have meat slices? Then again, I could probably just request one without meat save for the prawns! :)

I haven't been to Singapore for a couple of years now - wouldn't want to run into my ex!

joy
The Goddess In You
Your Love Coach

Moments said...

HMMmmmm...... it's only 10am now, and by looking at these pictures... i feel much like lunchtime.....

ka..t said...

My, what a beautiful, authentic-looking har meen! I like mine with pig intestines (I think this is the Penang style).

Would you be kind enough to share your recipe? Thanks!

Keropok Man said...

Wow, you know the moment i saw the picture, I can taste it in my mouth! The taste of prawn heads. Yum!!

Must be Hay Mee with the most generous amount of ingredients!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Ming,
Thanks Bud, I've always wanted to write a cookbook as an heirloom for my daughters..

Joy,
HA!HA! Singapore isn't THAT small!

Indra,
Looking at food pics make me hungry too, regardless of the time!

Ka..t,
Thanks for dropping by, I have no qualms about sharing my recipes, but then, I'm not so sure about releasing someone else's recipe without their permission. I hope you understand.

Keropok Man,
Thanks for visiting my blog! Hope to see you on this site again.

Oh for the love of food! said...
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Rasa Malaysia said...

Aiya, you are killing me with this Hokkien Mee. I have gotten no prawn heads in sight...cry cry.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Bee,
I've been saving prawn heads and shells for months for this Prawn Mee! I never throw away prawn heads and shells - I freeze them for stock ;o)