Saturday 4 February 2012

Curry Mee

I miss Malaysia. My trip there last April affected me greatly; it was one of the most hardcore eating trips I've done. After day 3 I forgot how it felt to be hungry and instead felt only 'full', 'really very full' and 'ohmygod-I'm-going-to-barf'. The ease of getting a quick bowl of noodles for next to nothing made me giddy. I hit the noodle soups hard and one of my favourites was curry mee.

Thick, spicy and coconutty soup contained chunks of congealed pigs blood and little cockles as well as tofu puffs and prawns. Alas, it's not as easy to get hold of pigs blood and cockles so my replica version leaves these out, you may well be relieved to hear.

Instead, spongy tofu soaks up the soup so that they're nice and juicy when you bite into them. There are slices of fish cake lurking in there too, underneath the mound of yellow egg noodles. For a bit of texture variation, I also added a little rice vermicelli, a tip I picked up in Penang. A few green beans in there added some crunch, and once all the sambal olek (chilli sauce) was mixed into the broth, a squeeze of lime made the dish complete. Most noodle soups in Malaysia that we tried were served with a hard boiled egg; I prefer mine a bit softer so a barely poached egg was dropped in.

The key to this lies in the paste, where most of the flavours are. You can get most of the ingredients in an Asian supermarket; in London, I use New Loon Moon on Gerrard Street.

Curry Mee

Serves 4

For the paste:

15 small purple shallots
7 cloves of garlic
3" of ginger
4 sticks of lemongrass, soft innards only
6 dried red chillis soaked in boiling water till soft
1 tsp shrimp paste (belachan)
2 tsp ground coriander
Roots or stems of a bunch of coriander
1 tsp sugar

Chop all of the above roughly and blend into a fine paste, adding some oil as you go. Any leftover paste should be kept in the fridge with a film of oil on top.

300gr yellow eggs noodles, fresh
100gr rice vermicelli, cooked and cooled
1 branch of curry leaves, fresh
4 lime leaves, fresh
A handful of green beans
100gr Chinese fish cake, sliced thinly
20 tofu puffs, halved
A handful of beansprouts
1 tin of coconut milk
250mls chicken stock
1 limes, quartered
A handful of coriander to serve
4 eggs
Sambal Olek to serve

In a large pan, fry 2 tbsp curry paste per person, so 8 tbsp in this instance. Fry slowly for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk, the chicken stock, the lime leaves and the curry leaves. Leave the curry leaves on the branch when you add them in as this makes it easier to remove them. Simmer gently for 35 minutes. Add the tofu puffs in the last 15 minutes, the fishcake slices in the last 5 and take off the heat. Remove the curry leaf branch.

Add the eggs to boiling water and leave for 6 minutes - take off the heat and run under cold water. Peel carefully.

In another pan, blanch the beansprouts and simmer the green beans for 3 minutes. Cook the egg noodles as per cooking instructions (mine required just plunging into boiling water for a couple of minutes) and drain.

To serve, divide the egg noodles and vermicelli noodles among 4 deep bowls equally. Top with beansprouts and green beans. Heat the soup base up till simmering, then distribute soup base equally. Halve each egg over the bowl and place in carefully, then add the coriander sprinkled on top with a quarter of lime per bowl. Serve with the sambal olek.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a great recipe!

Tasting Pages said...

That looks so amazing I feel it could cure my cold. Have never cooked with tofu puffs (sounds like a snack food my mom would've tried to trick me into eating) or fish cake before so am curious to try. Time for a trip to Gerrard St!

Helena Lee said...

That looks so tasty - and just right for a cold day like today. Pity you can't just pick up pigs blood (slightly Carrie-esque I fear), if you find any let me know! xx

Chris Pople said...

Curry mee too please!

Anonymous said...

you can get pigs blood pudding at the seafood shop next to Lo's Noodle factory in Chinatown.

Christie @ Fig & Cherry said...

Love this Lizzie! Especially the soft egg addition, right up my alley.

catty said...

I miss having cockles in Malaysia!!! Even at the risk of being violently ill, I'd eat them LOTS of them.

Anonymous said...

This looks and sounds delicious! Time for a trip to an Asian market I think...

Shu Han said...

curry mee!!! that's a nostalgic bowl of noodles for me (: I love the tofu puffs, it's so delicious biting into one and having the curry juices squirting out. it's a must-have in laksa.

Hollow Legs said...

the bountiful plate - thanks!

Tasting Pages - Tofu puffs are a great texture, not an enormous amount of flavour to them but they soak sauce or soup up wonderfully.

Helena - thanks! Apparently the Seafood shop next to Lo's Noodle factory? I don't know where either of those are...

Chris - curry mee yourself?

Anon - thanks! I'll check it out.

Christie - thanks! Do try it out; the soft egg makes it super rich

Catty - do cockles make you violently ill?! i love cockles, be it in soup or in a tub covered in vinegar.

willeatsanddrinks - Thanks! Yes, get yourself down there.

Vix said...

oops, anon was me.

Lo's noodle factory and Oriental Seafood (where you can find blood pudding) are in a dodgy alleyway in chinatown called Dansey Place.

Unfortunately no blood cockles to be found.

Hollow Legs said...

Brilliant, thanks Vix!

Sheena said...

Yes, finally!!

I've just been searching for Curry Mee recipes. What an excellent coincidence to swing by here to read your latest post and see a beautiful bowl of it staring back! Looks fab.

The Grubworm said...

Oh yes, come to mama! That is a great looking bowl of mee, and it brought memories of Malaysia rishing straight back into my head.

I always think that so many noodle soups are overlooked in favour of the ubiquitous Laksa, Pho and Tom Yam over here, and it is a real pleasure to something like this (and a recipe). All those punchy, pungent, aromatic and sweet smooth flavours in one soup... I'd be tempted to make my egg lightly poached, or even raw (jjigae style). mmmm-mmm.

Liv said...

Pigs blood can also be found in Earls Court - Manila supermarket on Hogarth Road

J@Feasttotheworld said...

Thanks for sharing this. This brings back so much memories. I used to have this all the time when i was studying in Kuantan, Malaysia. I was probably around 10 and there's a stall near the school the used to sell this. I think they cost less than 1 Malayasian ringgit (around 20p?) and were always served with a massive keropok(prawn cracker) that you dip into the curry soup .....delicious :-)

Hollow Legs said...

Sheena - you're very kind, thanks - hope you enjoy.

Grubworm - I wish we had more variety of noodle soups too - currently not enough at all. I often add a raw egg, chiggae style when feeling lazy. A messier result.

Liv - brillo, thanks

J - Studying in Malaysia? You must've eaten very well indeed. A prawn cracker dipper sounds amazing.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm this looks so good! I hope I can find all the ingredients to make it soon.

Su-Lin said...

This looks ACE. I like that you've done a proper mix up of mai fun mein too!

Sharmila said...

I LOVE curry mee, even though I haven't been to Malaysia. And I can just imagine how gorgeously those tofu puffs soak up that gorgeous sauce.

S said...

hoooo, yes. a wobbly poached egg with spicy noodles? yes please. w/o the pig's blood this is something i can make very soon. lovely noodles to slurp in the winter. x s