The first time I’ve ever heard about Tuaran Mee was through a random conversation with my band’s keyboadist, who’s from Sabah. One thing that I’ve always been proud of is that our band represents 1 Malaysia, though that’s a story for another day I guess. Anyway, I did a little research and found Terri’s recipe and I was fascinated by the unique cooking process.
Tuaran Mee originates from Tuaran (obviously), a small town in the Northwest of Sabah, not at all far from the state capital Kota Kinabalu. Tuaran mee to Sabahan is pretty much like the Kolo Mee to Sarawakian. Though so far it hasn’t made its way out of the state yet, so unfortunately I could only drool on the pictures or make it myself.
From what I gathered, Tuaran mee uses egg noodles and the stall owners usually make their own noodles. The closest substitute would be fresh wanton noodles which I used in my version. I have tried it with dried kampua noodles too but they don’t work as well. You’ll know why in a minute.
There are two ways to serve Tuaran Mee: Fried in egg, or Kon Lou (Kolo) style where the noodles are just boiled and tossed with seasonings. Personally the fried version appealed to me more, so that’s what I did. The noodles are then topped with Char Siew, Choy Sum (Sawi), Hakka Egg Roll (Chun Kien as how the locals call this) which is another item that is apparently unique to Sabah. So here I will include the recipe for Char Siew (the same recipe I used for the Sarawak Kolo Mee) as well as Hakka Egg Roll.
Recipe adapted from A Daily Obsession
2 nest of Tuaran noodles (substitute with Fresh wanton noodles)
1/2 cup Char Siew (Recipe to follow)
6 slices of Hakka Egg Roll (Recipe to follow)
1 large handful of Choy Sum
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2 teaspoons Light soy sauce
White pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Chicken Stock Powder
Chopped Spring Onions
Heat a large pan and add some vegetable oil. When the oil is just below smoking point, add the noodles, spread them out and fry until browned. The browning gives a toasty aroma and that’s what makes the dish so appealing.
When the noodles are in the pan, bring a pot of water to boil. Once the noodles are brown, hopefully the water will also be boiling at the same time. Now it’s the time to add the noodles into the pot and cook until just soft enough. Drain well and move to the next step immediately.
Heat the pan/wok with about 3 tablespoon of oil (you’ll need this dish to be greasy otherwise it won’t taste good). At this point (just before the noodles are ready) I also lightly fry the choy sum for a minute then push to the side. Crack in the egg and lightly beat it with chopsticks, then add the noodles (just dump on top of the half cooked egg), followed by soy sauce, sugar, pepper and chicken powder. The trick is to let the egg coat the noodles so timing is very important.
To serve, dish the noodles out onto the plates, arrange the toppings accordingly and sprinkle some chopped spring onions. Serve with chili sauce or cut chili.
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking Chinese wine
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1-2 drop red food color
honey for brushing
Combine all seasoning with pork in a large container. Marinate pork for a few hours or overnight in fridge.
Heat oven to 180 degree Celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place marinated pork on the baking tray,bake pork for 20 minutes,then turn the other side,bake for another 20 minutes.
Brush pork with honey and then change setting to grill at 200 degree Celsius,roast the pork for another 5-10 minutes or so each side (brushing the other side too) until it is charred around the edges. Let cool, and cut to serve.
Hakka Egg Roll
Recipe adapted from A Daily Obsession
200g Minced Pork (fattier cut would be better)
Pinch of Salt
Large pinch of White Pepper
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 large Egg
Mix the minced pork with salt, pepper, soy sauce and cornstarch until the meat feels sticky and paste-y.
Beat the egg well (I didn’t season the egg though). Then fry it in a square pan to form a thin sheet. I don’t have a square pan, so I adapted by using a square baking dish greased with some oil, then bake until just set.
Spread the meat paste on the egg sheet, covering nearly the whole sheet, leaving a bit space for the end bit to stick. Then, roll the egg sheet carefully to form a log. Steam over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes and let cool until ready to serve.
It sure was a lot of work, but now my curiosity has been satisfied. The noodles are full of flavours from the toasting and egg coating, they go really well with the meat toppings. I’m aware that the wanton noodles might have a little more of a bite than the original tuaran noodles but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. I would never have been motivated enough to cook this dish if it wasn’t for the Malaysian Food Fest. So thank you Wendy and Mary!