Sabah MFF: Tuaran Mee

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.

Tuaran Mee
Tuaran Mee

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.

You can already smell the lovely aroma at this point.
You can already smell the lovely aroma at this point.

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.

Char Siew

200g pork
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.

Close up of the Pork Egg Roll.
Close up of the Pork Egg Roll.

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.

Another look at the delicious plate of noodles. Yum!
Another look at the delicious plate of noodles. Yum!

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!

Mmmmm! I want more!
Mmmmm…. I want more!

I am submitting this to Malaysian Food Fest Sabah Month hosted by Mary Of a Pepper’s Love.

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Seremban MFF: Hakka Mee

First recipe of the year! And what more appropriate (for the noodle monster in me) than a plate of sexy noodles simply tossed with some umami pork gravy, freshened up by spring onions and pickled green chili? That’s right, I’m talking about Hakka Mee. It’s Negeri Sembilan month for Malaysian Food Fest. If you would like to learn more about Negeri Sembilan and its delicious offerings, check out Hody’s very informative post.

Seremban is the capital of Negeri Sembilan, where Hakka Mee is said to have originated from. Even though I’ve never been there, I’ve had some pretty good Hakka Mee around KL. I’ve always preferred flat noodles to round so this is right up my alley. What’s the difference between the Teochew’s Bak Chor Mee (Mee Pok) and Hakka Mee, one might wonder. They both feature flat noodles and mince pork, but the main difference is in the seasoning: Hakka Mee is flavoured with fish sauce (clear) and garlic oil while Bak Chor Mee with black vinegar and soy sauce (dark) and pork lard (oil). Although in places out of Seremban, the sellers might stray slightly from the original recipe. Like Toast & Roast.

Hakka Mee from Toast and Roast, see that brown bits? Crispy Pork Lard!
Hakka Mee from Toast & Roast, see those brown bits? Crispy Pork Lard!

According to Baby Sumo, authentic Hakka Mee in Seremban goes without Pork Lard. In her recipe (and a few others) the oil was simply flavoured with garlic and mixed in a bit of sesame oil for that extra fragrance. Since I still have plenty of Mee Pok left, I decided to use them since they are almost the same except Mee Pok is slightly broader and perhaps just a little smoother in texture. I added some mushrooms too. Of course, this is MSG-free.

Homemade Hakka Mee, healthier option.
Homemade Hakka Mee: the healthier option.

For Pickled Green Chili Recipe, click here.

Recipe Adapted from Baby Sumo
2 pieces Flat noodles (You could use the Cintan brand, available in most local supermarkets)
2-3 pieces of Shitake Mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped
100g Minced pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp chicken stock seasoning
Enough water for the mince pork gravy (about 150ml)
A few drops of Sesame oil
Pickled Green Chillies
1-2 spring onion, finely chopped

1. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add a few drops of sesame oil, and cook the noodles for 3 minutes,or until al dente. Drain and divide into two bowls.

2. In a large wok, heat the oil (both types) over medium high heat. Add garlic to fry for a minute or so until aromatic. Add the minced pork and mushrooms to fry for 2 minutes, then add water, fish sauce, chicken stock seasoning and light soy sauce and allow to simmer over low heat for 8-10 minutes. Add a little more water if it’s starting to dry up.

3. To serve, top the noodles with the minced pork with gravy, and some spring onions. Serve immediately with pickled green chillies.

Just look at those glossy noodle strands, coated with pork gravy..... heavenly!
Just look at those glossy noodle strands, coated with pork gravy….. heavenly!

It’s amazing how such a simple noodles dish can taste so good. And contrary to what you might believe, it’s totally not bland at all. I generally like a lot of dark sauce on my noodles but this was equally as satisfying. Lighter, perhaps, considering the lack of Pork lard, but definitely no compromise on taste! To ‘upgrade’ this dish, you can also add some Char Siew and Bean Sprouts. Mmm. I want to eat this for the rest of the week.

I am submitting this post to Malaysia Food Fest, Negeri Sembilan month hosted by Hody of Cook 4 you & me.