How To Make Better Hokkien Noodles At Home | Pork-Free Recipe | Comes With Cheat Code
Honest opinion. Cooking most dishes with pork drums up the taste Instantly. When I first started cooking, I made luncheon meat fried rice with dried chillies and I felt like I was The Bomb. But like Shaggy says "It Wasn't Me", The Bomb was most probably the spam 🤫.
It's just like driving a well-engineered car or having great tyres. You feel so much more confident behind the wheel, feeling the power that the beast yields, but in fact the increased skill is the DIRECT RESULT of really great products, not a sudden burst of ✌🏻talent✌🏻 from the driver. (Pipe down..I'm not player hating ok, just stating facts).
But say, what if you cooked with a perceived handicap - would you fare worse..or better?
From my kitchen experiments and loving to cook plant-based, vegetarian or vegan dishes, I find the latter to be true. Because when I eat an exceptional Indian vegetarian dish, my palate does not wander off, searching for the taste of meat, it's so perfect one forgets the need for meat.
In the same vein, I have attempted to make Hokkien Noodles or Hokkien Mee without using pork lard. It can be done, and I think it's better without it!
I could almost hear Hokkien Noodles connoisseurs screaming bloody murder "No, NAN-SENSE", "SHADDAP, you don't know anything"...well I tested and tweaked this recipe over 5 consecutive days, (yes I have Hokkien Mee coming out of my ears after that) so give this a try and let me know :)
Here's my recipe:
Marinate two sliced boneless chicken legs in peri peri flakes, a bit of paprika, garlic powder, turmeric, salt, a little bit of fish sauce and white pepper.
Marinate half a bowl of squid in sweet soy sauce, a bit of turmeric powder and white pepper.
Marinate in fish sauce and white pepper.
Separately, prepare aromatics like scallions (I incorporated this later, did not manage to capture it in pic), shallots and and sliced garlic. Have cili giling (chilli paste) on standby too.
This is the peri peri seasoning/flakes I have been loving and using.
Brown the shallots in oil followed by sliced garlic. Then, add chicken slices in the wok.
When they are about 50% done, add cili giling (chilli paste) into the mix and fry them until it is 90% done.
Add your preferred noodles into the wok. It should be soaking up the juices and gravy from the chicken. In this pic, you can see that I am using thin creamy noodles - I learn that some people actually prefer eating the thin variety.
(This is my attempt without adding cabbage to the mix. I think it tastes fine, but.... it is infinitely BETTER if you add cabbage to the mix.)
Add caramelized thick soy sauce and dark sweet soy sauce to the mix followed by folding in the squid.
Important Note: Your Noodles should be 50% done, no more than that. You finish it all with cooking with the raw seafood. The absorption of taste is much better this way.
As the squid gets firmer, add shrimps and stir.
So, when you are stirring in the shrimps, just add cabbage and scallions... keep folding until cabbage becomes a bit softer, then you can turn off the heat.
1. Udon tastes better than thin creamy noodles (but this is from a personal perspective)
2. Adding scallions at the end (when you stir in the prawns and cabbage) elevates the fragrance
3. Cabbage is Important: It gives Hokkien Mee a kind of sweetness that we Malaysians have come to recognise
WHERE does the taste come from?
Seafood. It comes from seafood. So your ratio of squid, shrimps, cili giling/chilli paste (which has a hint of prawns) to noodles contributes largely to the taste profile. The marinated chicken gives it another layer of complexity, like the function of pork lard. So don't skim on the good stuff.
Is there a CHEAT CODE?
Yes. If you are lacking flavour, add more chilli paste, but if you are afraid that you may be adding too much heat, sprinkle a tiny amount of anchovy stock and fold. If you are lacking colour, just add caramelized thick soy sauce (it is neither too sweet nor salty, but it's fragrant so it's fine).
For more food adventures, follow me on:
Recipe serves 2
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
2 sliced Boneless Chicken Legs
2 tbsp Peri Peri flakes
1 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fish sauce
3/4 tsp white pepper.
1/2 Bowl of Squid
3/4 tbsp sweet soy sauce
A pinch of turmeric powder
A few shakes of white pepper.
1/4 Bowl of Shrimps
1/2 tsp fish sauce
A few shakes of white pepper.
1 packet of Udon Noodles
4 shallots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 stalks of scallions (green part), cut into 2' length
2 1/2 tbsp chilli paste/cili giling
1/4 cabbage, sliced
1 tbsp caramelized thick soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce