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Beaten by a nasty flu for the last five weeks, and shooting two cookbooks (not mine) back to back with very tight deadlines, the last couple of months were a total blur for me, is crazy to think that we are already in the winter season! But life is good, I like keeping myself busy rather than sitting at home doing nothing. There were lot of things happened, and there will be lot more things going to happen, very exciting projects ahead and I am sure all will be unfold eventually.

As promised, some of you were asking for the recipes that I did for the Home & Decor Malaysia Magazine in May issue, here I finally can share the recipe on how to make your own Chilli Pan mee at home. However, I will also share the original soup base Pan Mee recipe from my cookbook with you.

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Original soup base Pan Mee (photo from Have You Eaten? cookbook)

Personally I love the original soup base Pan Mee which is served in a clear anchovy broth and the noodles are usually just hand stretched and pulled in organic forms. It is not rocket science, everyone can make it with just a few ingredients, I think it is a great alternative winter comfort food, something easy to prepare for a Sunday lunch, or it will be breakfast in Malaysia. Whenever I go back to visit my family in Malaysia, I will still go to my favourite cafe in Ipoh Garden to have my Pan Mee fix in the morning. If you are from Ipoh, I am sure you’d know which cafe I am talking about.

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For those who like it hot, then the Chilli Pan Mee is the way to spice up your life. Think about it as the Bibimbap, but in Malaysian version and no doubt the core ingredient that makes the dish is the dried chilli mix. With only a few dried ingredients that can be easily sourced from any asian grocers, add some patience and constant stirring in the wok over low heat, this fragrant chilli mix can be your next best friend that you can’t help but sprinkle on everything not limited to just Pan Mee. Usually I’d say it will keep fresh in the refrigerator for a month, but believe it or not, I still have a jar in the fridge that is still potently strong without losing any of the flavour and texture. So long you top the jar with a layer of oil and fry the ingredients well to make sure all cooked and dried out (especially the dried shrimp), it will happily add some sparks to dishes for many months to come.

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The noodle itself is nothing more than a pasta dough really. If you are familiar with making pasta, then just mix them, laminate and roll them in a pasta machine like you normally would. If you are making the original style, then make sure to stretch the noodle between your thumb and index finger as thin as possible before tearing a small piece and drop them in hot boiling water. As when it cooks, it will firm up, shrink and become thicker again, you definitely do not want to chew on a lump of dough.

Original soup base Pan Mee or Hot Chilli Pan Mee, it will keep you warm and content this winter.

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Soup Base Pan mee (hand-pulled flat noodles)

Serves 4

200 g (7 oz) pork loin medallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
4–5 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
30 g (1 oz) ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
1 bunch of sweet potato leaves, washed (see note)
handful of garlic chives, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths
3 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped

Ban Mee Dough

300 g (101/2 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Anchovy soup base

2 litres (68 fl oz/8 cups) water
30 g (1 oz) ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
185 g (61/2 oz/1 cup) dried soya beans
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil

1. To make the noodles, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, then make a well in the centre. Crack the egg into the well, then add the water and sesame oil. Using a fork, slowly stir the mixture until everything comes together to form a dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

 

2. Meanwhile, to make the anchovy soup base, pour the water into a large pot, then add the dried anchovies and soya beans and bring to the boil over medium–high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil to taste, then strain the stock into another clean pot, discarding the solids. Keep the soup warm over very low heat while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

3. Combine the sliced pork, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour in a bowl, then cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 20 minutes.

4. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes until softened, then drain. Remove and discard the mushroom stalks, then thinly slice the mushrooms and set aside.

5. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium–high heat and fry the dried anchovies until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside to cool.

6. Bring the soup base back to a rolling boil over high heat. Divide the dough into 4 portions, then lightly dust each with flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands. Using your fingers, slowly pinch one end of the dough until it is about 2 mm thick, then pull off a bite-sized piece and drop it into the soup. Repeat the process until the dough is used, pinching off one dough piece at a time and dropping it into the soup. Cook the noodles for about 1 minute, or until they float to the surface. Ladle them out and transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining 3 portions of dough.

7. Place a few pork strips in a small wire sieve and drop them into the hot soup. Cook for 1 minute, then add a handful each of sweet potato leaves and garlic chives and scald them for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer the cooked ingredients to the bowl. Repeat with the remaining pork, sweet potato leaves and garlic chives to make another 3 portions. Ladle some hot soup over the noodles, then garnish with some mushrooms and the fried anchovies.

8. Combine the chopped chillies and extra soy sauce in a small dipping bowl and serve on the side with the noodles.

Note: Traditionally ban mee is served with sweet potato leaves, which are available from Asian grocers. They can be substituted with any leafy green, such as choy sum, water spinach, English spinach or en choy.

 

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Chilli Pan Mee

Serves 4

Chilli Mix
30g dried whole chillies, soaked in hot water for at least 1 hour 35g dried shrimps
85g shallots (eschalots)
6 cloves of garlic
3g belachan paste
250ml vegetable oil

Pan Mee noodle
350g plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting 1 egg
200ml water
pinch of salt

Pork mince and mushroom topping
300g pork mince
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for at least 1 hour then cut into small pieces, keep 1 cup (250ml) of the mushroom water for later use.
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornflour
pinch of ground white pepper

4 large eggs, poached
1⁄2 cup ikan bilis (anchovies)
A handful of fried shallots, for garnish
2 sprigs spring onions, finely sliced
vegetable oil, for frying

 

1. To make chilli mix, put all ingredients and 125ml of vegetable oil into a food processor and blend into smooth paste. Heat remaiming oil in a wok on high heat, add paste into the wok and keep stirring. Turn the heat to low, and keep frying for 5-10 minutes until the mix is dry and crispy. Once ready, remove chilli mix from heat and pour into a heatproof and let it to cool completely.

2. To prepare pan mee dough, add flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in centre. Then add egg, salt and start bringing all ingredients together while adding water a bit at a time into the mixture until it all comes together and forms a rough dough. Tip dough onto a floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is nice and smooth. Wrap dough in cling film and let it rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until ready to be used.

3. To make pork mince and mushroom topping, add all ingredients in a mixing bowl, stir to mix well. Wrap in cling film and let it marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. After marination, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok on high heat, stir fry the pork mince until cooked, about 2 minutes. Add mushroom water and let it simmer until the liquid has been reduced by half and thickens. Remove from heat, set aside and keep warm.

4. Heat 4 tablespoon of oil in a wok on high heat, fry anchovies until they are golden and crispy, about 1 minute. Drain fried anchovies on paper towel and set aside.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator, use a pasta maker and roll the dough into noodle strips. Else, use a rolling pin and roll the dough to 2mm thickness, then cut into 5mm strips with a knife.

6. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a rolling boil. In batches, cook the noodle for 2 minutes then ladle them out and transfer to a serving bowl.

7. Top the noodles with poached egg, pork mince, anchovies and fried shallots. Sprinkle with spring onions and serve chilli mix on the side according to one’s heat tolerance.

 

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And for the June Issue that just came out, I whisked up two recipes for the magazine that are focusing on ‘sauces’ – BBQ pork buns with soy sauce and Sambal Belachan Mud Crab. Which one would you choose to be featured on this blog next month?

Leave a comment below and let’s vote!