John & I always look forward to Thursday nights at my mums, it’s noodles night! Tonight, on the menu, is Mee Pok. Mee pok is a type of Chinese noodle that is flat and yellow, varying in thickness and width. The dish is of Teochew origin and is eaten in Chaoshan (China), Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. They are usually served tossed in a sauce (often referred to as “dry”, or tah in Hokkien), though sometimes served in a soup. Meat and vegetables are placed on top. Mee pok can be categorised into two variants, fish ball mee pok (yu wan mee), and mushroom minced meat mee pok (bak chor mee). Bak chor mee is usually exclusively made with flat noodles only, while yu wan mee can be made with other types of noodles. Mee pok is a staple offering in hawker centres and coffee shops in Singapore and usually more than one stall would be selling it, together with other Chinese noodle dishes.
The sauce in which the noodles are tossed in is a very important aspect of the dish, and is considered a representation of the cook’s skill and experience. The importance of the sauce in mee pok can be thought of similarly as the sauces that accompany pasta. The sauce consists of 4 components: chili, oil, vinegar and other condiments such as soy sauce and pepper. The chili is made from various ingredients and its preparation often includes as frying and blending. Oil, traditionally lard, ensures a smooth texture in the noodles, although vegetable oil is sometimes used as a healthier though less tasty version. Vinegar is added for its sourness, and diners may specify how much vinegar is used. The chili sauce may be replaced with tomato sauce for children, who are uncomfortable with the spiciness of the chili.
Ingredients for Mee Pok are basically, Emma’s Seafood Mee Pok sauce, fresh flat egg noodles, prawns, pork fillet, pork mine, pork balls, bean sprouts and lettuce. In mum’s, she used a bit of sliced fish cake. With the prawns, pork fillet and pork balls, you can actually pre-cook them in the chicken master stock. You’ll need to slice the pork fillet once it is cooked through. The master stock is the basic chicken carcasses , whole onions and whole corn chopped up.
You can buy both the sauce and the fresh flat egg noodles from Emma’s Seafood in Northbridge. Mum also adds a dash of light soy sauce, sesame oil and black vinegar to your taste along with the Mee Pok sauce from Emma’s in a bowl.
For the noodles, cook them for 30 seconds in boiling water, then blanch them in cold water before cooking them again until al dente and blanching them again in cold water to stop the cooking process. Add the noodles to the sauce and mix thoroughly. Arrange the blanched bean sprouts, the cooked pork fillet and prawns over the noodles along with some blanched lettuce leaves (blanched in the master stock). The pork mince is then cooked in the master stock with a sieve until cooked through added to the noodles. Finishing touches can be dried shallots or coriander.
The soup with the corn and left over lettuce leaves can be served along with the noodles. Don’t forget to season the soup before serving.