Sunday afternoon, alone at home, knackered from all the exciting activities all week (catering for 50 pax is probably something I will think harder before committing next time), what better than a soothing bowl of noodles with soup? That was my lunch today and it sure hit all the right spots.
This is something that I cook often at home because it’s super quick and easy. The origin of Fish Head Noodles is unclear, but some will tell you that the milky broth version originated from KL. It actually does remind me of Teochew Steamed Fish because of the key ingredients: Tomato, Kiam Cai (Pickled Mustard Greens), Ginger and Salted Plum, so I’m speculating that this might be Teochew in origin. Please do correct me if I’m wrong.
The purists will stick to having this noodle soup with deep fried Fish Head but I’m not a fan of having fish bones in my soup. I have choked on a few fish bones in my lifetime and do not wish for recurring episodes. Luckily for me, there are places in Klang Valley that do serve this with fish fillet and I stick to that version at home. As for choices of fish, any firm-fleshed fish that can withstand frying would work. I’ve even seen a Salmon version as featured on Quay Po Cooks‘ blog.
Ironically, the first Fish Head Noodles recipe I’ve come across online was actually done by a Korean lady. Her version is missing one really important ingredient that would render this recipe non-halal: Shao Xing Wine. It adds such an alluring aroma to the soup and completes the flavour profile. Like Shannon, I’ve opted for the thick Rice Vermicelli (Fen Gan) which is something I always have at home at it’s also used in Zao Cai Mee Hoon (a Foochow Dish), another tangy soup noodles dish. Can you tell I love noodles?
Fish Fillet Noodle Soup (serves 1)
100g Garoupa Fish, cut into smaller pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
Flour to coat fish
100g Rice Vermicelli (Thick or Thin according to your preference), cooked to directions of packet
Thumb size ginger, sliced into thin strips
2 pieces of Pickled Mustard Green, sliced into thin strips
1 Tomato, cut into wedges
1 Salted Plum
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Xing Wine
250ml Chicken Stock
A pinch of Dried anchovies
10ml Evaporated milk (slightly more if using Fresh milk)
2 stalks Spring onions, thinly chopped
Handful of Coriander, roughly chopped
Peanut oil for shallow frying
Prepare the noodles: I cooked mine in boiling water for 1 minute or 2 until al dente, then drained and served in bowl.
Coat the fish pieces with flour and shallow fry until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
In a pot, lightly stir fry the ginger in sesame oil, then add the chicken stock, dried anchovies, pickled mustard green, tomato and salted plum. When the broth starts to boil, add Shao Xing Wine and fish sauce. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and remove the foam on top.
When the broth is ready, turn off the heat and remove the anchovies (if you want). Stir in the evaporated milk just before serving and pour over the noodles. Place the fish pieces on top and garnish with spring onions and coriander.
When done right, the broth is slightly sweet, with just a hint of creaminess (you can opt for creamier version with more milk of course), tangy (tomato and plum) yet savoury (from the pickled mustard green, though it’s actually a little tangy too). Yet it takes no more 20 minutes to prepare! Now you know why I prefer to cook this at home.
I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Kuala Lumpur Selangor Month hosted by Shannon of Just As Delish. Also submitting to Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Alvin of Chef and Sommelier.