Tuesday, August 30, 2005

IMBB 18: School Tuckshop Memories


I was walking past a school one day and heard the usual sounds of kids taking a break from classes and the all so familiar sounds of plates and cutlery coming together while kids were having a meal at the canteen, in those day we usually called it the "tuckshop".

It brought back memories of my school days and the kind of food i used to savour at my primary ad secondary schools.

I smiled to myself as i remembered how we used to have to queue up (endlessly it seems) just to get a bowl of noodles to satisfy my pangs of hunger and how i actually do miss those days!

I thought the best way to totally indulge in reminiscence would be to try at cooking up one of my favourite dishes from school. In addition, it is also in line with the latest IMBB (Is My Blog Burning) event for August; Summer's Flying, Let's Get Frying although i think i may be a little late for submissions!)

I remember attending a friend's house party where she prepared Mee Siam for everyone from scratch (well almost...it was not instant mix for sure!) and i thoroughly enjoyed it. I got on the phone, asked her for the recipe and i gave it a shot!

For our fellow bloggers from overseas, Mee Siam was originally a Thai dish of noodles made from rice flour noodles (vermicelli) and served in a light and piquant gravy made from tamarind juice (assam) and dried shrimps, and served with toppings such as fresh lime, tiny cubes of dried beancurd, chives and slices of boiled egg. It has since been adopted and sold by most of the races in Singapore including Indians, whose version is pinkish in colour and sweeter because it has more sugar in the gravy but i have decided to replicate it in Chinese style using chinese/nonya chilli paste instead.

Mee Siam (Chinese Style)

Ingredients:

1 pack Vermicelli; soaked in water till soften and drained
5 heaped tbsp Freshly mixed and grinded Chilli Paste; bought from any market specifically from a Nonya Store
Assam; 3 heaped tbsp; soaked in 500ml water
2 litres water
6 tbsp Soy Bean Paste (bottled)
5 pieces Tao Pok (dry beancurd puffs); blanched and cut into cubes
3-4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
chopped chives
handful of Beansprouts; blanched
Fish cake; toasted and sliced thinly into strips
Fresh lime; quartered
1-2 tsp Garlic; chopped
1-2 tsp Shallots; chopped
oil
Sugar

Method:

To prepare Chilli Paste

In a wok, heat 4tbsp of oil and add in chilli paste and stir fry till its fragrant; approx. 8 min.
Season with 1tsp salt and 3tbsp sugar. Dish out and set aside.

To prepare beanpaste

Using the same wok, heat 1 tbsp oil and add chopped garlic and shallots and stir fry till almost golden brown. Afterwhich, add 6 tbsp bean paste and stir-fry for about 1 min. Dish out and set aside.

To Prepare Vermicelli

Note: If you are using the traditional cast iron wok, chances are by now your wok would have some burnt bits of the chilli paste and bean paste. It would be advisable to give the wok a good rinse. If you are using a non-stick wok, you can continue using the wok without rinsing.

Heat wok and add in 2 tbsp of oil. Add in 1-2 tbsp of chilli paste (depending on how spicy you would like it to be) and 1/ cup water.
Add in softened vermicelli and stir fry till chilli is evenly mixed in with vermicelli. It should give a nice light orange-red colour. Dish out and set aside.

To Prepare Mee Siam Gravy

After the assam has been soaking in water for about 10 min, using your hand, squeeze and remove all assam seeds and skin and discard.
In a medium sized saucepan, add in 500ml of assam water, another 500-800ml of water depending on how thick you prefer your gravy and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, add in 4 tbsp of chilli paste, cooked bean paste, 8 tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp salt and allow to simmer for about 30-40min.

Add desired amount of gravy over vermicelli and serve with hard boil eggs, tofu puffs, beansprouts and a sprinkle of chives. Lime if you prefer it to me little more tangy.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mona said...

That bowl looks amazing! My boyfriend is Korean and it reminds me of the bibimbap I love...chili paste is my favorite...I'm known to kind of drown noodles in it.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Skrat said...

Hi Mona,
thanks again for your compliment!You sure sound like you have an unusual palate! Good on you! Im sure if you do visit Singapore that you would enjoy lots more other spicy food like Laksa, various curries...etc

11:42 AM  

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