Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting streetwise with Mee Goreng

Noodles were the first thing I'd ever learnt to make.  Needless to say, it was a disaster and had to be scraped off the pan because I had overboiled everything in sight. The second time I tried, it wasn't so bad if you don't count the fact that I had emptied nearly half a bottle of vinegar into it. It took me quite a number of trial and error methods to earn it an 'edible' status. Of course, there is one little thing I still wish to learn, for which I could give my left arm and right leg for.

Now if you ask me, there’s nothing in the world more exciting than watching noodles tossing on a wok. Better still, if it’s happening in a food cart on the road.  Call it the man’s expert wielding of the wok or the soya tinged noodles flying in the air and neatly falling in a pile below, it never ceases to amaze me how he possibly does it. What if the noodles flew out of control to land on an unsuspecting customer’s head?  Or even worse, his own.  My cook Hori does a neat noodle toss in my very humble non stick pan, something he claims to have learnt from a Chinese restaurant in Mumbai. Of course he does grumble about not getting a wok big enough to ‘make the noodles dance’. (That reminds me to blackmail the husband into buying me one of those babies)
Last evening it was pouring like mad and I had this sudden craving for some spicy noodles. While I had some daal, fish curry and a dead looking soya bean curry lying in the fridge, I decided to give it a miss and dig out a Malaysian stir fried noodle recipe that was lying unattended for long.
Now, Mee Goreng is a very popular spicy noodle dish sold along the streets of Singapore and Malaysia by street-hawkers to high end restaurants.  You can add as many vegetables and meat of your choice. The original recipe included squid, barbecued pork and chinese sausages. You can also add mushroom, baby corn and bean sprouts for veggies. I skipped those since I didn’t have any. The red chilli paste gives this dish a unique flavor and the much needed zest. You need to cook it on a high flame to retain all the wonderful flavors.



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