Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Tangy Sarawak classic

Low Lay Phon

ANN/The Star – Tomato noodles is a street dish that is popular in Kuching, Sarawak.

It resembles kong fu chow or Cantonese-style noodles with its thick egg gravy, except that it features a tangy and sweet tomato gravy derived from bottled ketchup

The noodles usually used for this dish is Sarawak mee kolok which is similar to the egg noodles used in wantan mee, but it is also common for patrons to ask for sautéed kuey teow (flat rice noodles) or crispy fried mee hoon (rice vermicelli) to be used instead. Prawns, sliced fish cake and choy sum (mustard greens) are must-have ingredients.

Some stalls include squid, tomatoes, bean sprouts and firm tofu.

All components of the dish can be made ahead of time, and kept aside separately to keep the noodles crispy. To assemble just before serving, heat up the gravy and adjust its seasoning and consistency.

Then pour it over the crispy noodles with the accompaniments. The gravy should be soupy with a slight starchy consistency. You may garnish the dish with sliced chillies and spring onion.

The only condiment to go with this dish is red chillies in vinegar.

Tomato crispy noodles resembles Cantonese-style mee but includes ketchup in its gravy. PHOTOS: LOW LAY PHON
Pour the hot gravy just before serving to keep the noodles crispy

– 500 grammes dried mee kolok or fresh egg noodles
– Two cups cooking oil
– 100 grammes mustard greens
– Two stalks spring onion, shredded and soaked in cold water
– One pod red chilli
– One tablespoon black vinegar

Prawn broth
– 250 grammes fresh prawns
– One tablespoon cooking oil
– Four cups cold water
– One cube anchovy stock

Tomato gravy
– One tablespoon cooking oil
– 20 grammes fresh ginger
– Three cloves garlic, minced
– One cup prawn broth
– Two tablespoons oyster sauce
– Six tablespoons ketchup
– Three tomatoes, cut into wedges
– 100 grammes fish cake, sliced
– Two tablespoons cornstarch plus two tablespoons cold water
– Half teaspoon white pepper to taste
– One tablespoon light soy sauce to taste

Shell and devein prawns, reserving the heads and shells for the broth, and the prawn flesh for the garnish.

To make the prawn broth, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot and fry prawn shells and heads.

When oil has turned red, add water and anchovy stock cube. Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes until reduced to one cup of broth.

If using dried noodles, cook them in boiling water for about two minutes until al dente, rinse with cold water and drain well.

If using fresh egg noodles, loosen the tightly wound ball of noodles, then gather into a loose mound.

Heat oil in a saucepan and deep-fry either the dried or fresh egg noodles for about two minutes on each side until light golden and crispy. Set aside until ready to assemble. To make the tomato gravy, sauté ginger and garlic with cooking oil until wilted, then deglaze with prawn broth. Season with oyster sauce, ketchup, light soy sauce and white pepper to taste.

Add tomatoes, fish cake and prawn flesh and poach until cooked through.

Finally, add mustard greens to blanch, then immediately remove to keep its green colour.

Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry and adjust seasoning to taste. Add more water as necessary to get the consistency of a thick soupy gravy.

Pour the gravy over the noodles and assemble the meat and vegetables over the noodles.
Serve hot with red chillies in vinegar on the side.

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