Today I want to introduce stir-frying noodles with a deep cultural heritage of the Indian Muslim origin in Malaysia – Mee Goreng Mamak.
Mee refers to noodles, and goreng means stir-frying in both Malay and Indonesian language.
Fresh yellow noodles are the most popular choice, followed by the dried instant noodles. You can use Chinese egg noodles, which is widely available, but it is not how to cook mee goreng traditionally.
Mee goreng has become synonymous with the Mamak shops and stores because every such eatery will serve these noodles dish without fail. It is the street food that hardly any locals had never tried before.
This recipe is based on how the Indian Muslims cooked in Malaysia. You will find other mee goreng recipes from different regions. They are all using the same terminology, which means fried noodles.
The characteristic of mee goreng Mamak in Malaysia
Let me highlight the uniqueness of these noodles. Tofu and potatoes are two indispensable ingredients for mee goreng. Ketchup is another must-have ingredients. These noodles are spicy, with loads of chili sauce and sautéed chili paste called sambal.
The restaurant will cook it with curry and potatoes. Since we do not want to make a pot of curry merely for preparing the mee goreng, we will use curry powder in the recipe, and boil some potatoes separately.
Here is the recipe for the easy Malaysian style chicken curry with potatoes. Use it instead of the Malaysian curry powder and boiled potatoes to cook the mee goreng if you have cooked it.
Most of the restaurants serve it as a meatless dish, which is the standard way of serving mee goreng. However, you can switch it up by adding shrimps, squids, or meat to the recipe.
Here is my step by step guide to preparing mee goreng mamak
1. Blanch the noodles with hot water
The yellow noodles are best to blanch in hot water for a few seconds until it loosens. Once the noodles are no longer stick together, remove, drain, and set aside. It is easier to fry mee that do not stick together.
2. Prepare the ingredients
There are a few essential ingredients in this recipe:
Cabbage is a necessary ingredient for various fried noodles in different countries. It works because its crunchiness has a sharp contrast with the soft texture of the noodles. There is no exception for mee goreng.
It is best to cut the cabbage into thin strips to shorten the cooking time.
Firm tofu is another regular item for mee goreng mamak. Always choose the firm one as the soft tofu can break into small pieces during stir-frying. If you get the regular tofu, I suggest you to deep-fried (or pan-fried for the less oily version) until it firms up before adding to the noodles.
You can add other sources of protein to the mee. Shrimps, squids, and chicken meat are common. I add some chicken meat in this recipe, but please omit it for a vegetarian meal.
Cucur udang (prawn fritters) is another popular ingredient for mee goreng mamak. The cook will cut one or two prawn fritters into smaller pieces and fry together with the mee. Again we are not running a restaurant at home so we will omit it in this recipe.
Potato is another essential ingredient for mee mamak. In the restaurant setting, the cook will take the potato from the pot of curry. We will simulate the same method by boiling some potato wedges in advance.
3. Prepare the sauce
There is a big difference between the seasonings used for mee goreng versus Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese noodles. Kicap manis (sweet soy sauce) is the required ingredient. It has a unique flavor and cannot substitute with other types of soy sauce.
Ketchup should not be substituted by using tomato paste or fresh tomato, or it will turn out to taste more like bolognese.
Chili sauce is a must for the traditional recipe, but I understand that not everyone can take spicy food. Therefore, you have to adjust the level of spiciness yourself. The locals would prefer to make it even spicier by adding sambal (the local sauteed chili paste) and chopped bird’s eye chilies to the mee goreng.
Other seasoning items are more common among different Asian cuisines. Oyster sauce is not the typical seasoning, but I include a small amount for extra flavor.
Once you measure all the seasoning ingredients in a bowl, add some water to dilute it so that it is easier to pour into the wok while stir-frying. You can add each of the ingredients separately, but premixed the seasoning can avoid any omission or double in the amount accidentally as there are quite many items in the list.
4. Fry the mee- a few pointers before you start
Once you have prepared the sauce and all the ingredients, you can get it onto the dining table within five minutes. That’s why I like stir-fry because it’s the quickest method to cook anything.
- Get a good wok. The eggs tend to stick onto the surface, so make sure you use a well-seasoned wok. You may also want to use a large non-stick pan as it does not require extremely high heat like other Chinese stir fry dishes.
- Cut the stem of the choy sum into one cm sections. Stir-fry together with the cabbage strips for a minute or two before adding the leafy part of the choy sum. The stem takes longer to cook until it turns soft.
- Indian Muslim can take hot food. It is the norm to add chili boh (local chili paste), sambal (sauté chili, garlic and onion paste), and bird’ s-eye chili into the recipe. Since not everyone can withstand the level of spiciness of the original recipe, I have omitted all these items, with only the bottled chili sauce in the recipe. This bottled chili sauce is not fiercely hot and is essential to keep it close to the authentic flavor.
- Always add the egg last, instead of topping the mee with a fried egg or an omelet scramble into small pieces. The eggs should be nearly cooked before folding into the noodles. It will coat the noodles partially, and combine with the sauce while cooking. I like the slightly wet mee goreng with eggs, which is called mee goreng basah in Malay. That’s truly the Malaysian style mee goreng you will expect at the local stores.
- Squeeze some fresh lime juice to the mee right before serving to add another dimension of flavor to the mee. (Optional)
- The sequence of adding the ingredients is not critical, except the vegetables must be first, and the eggs are always last. The more crucial issue is to combine the sauce with the noodles evenly. Add some water if the sauce is too dry to blend well with the noodles. The outcome should be slightly wet, not as dry as most of the Chinese stir-fry noodles.
- The noodles and the eggs tend to stick to the wok easily, especially over high heat. Use medium heat to stir fry the noodles. The flavor is the result of the combination of the seasonings and ingredients. Since it is not so much depends on high heat, the concept of wok-hei is playing a secondary role in mee goreng mamak.
- 23g (1.5 tbsp) kicap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 20g (4 tsp) dark soy sauce
- 10g (2 tsp) oyster sauce
- 60g (4 tbsp) ketchup
- 75g (5 tbsp) chili sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 8g (1tbsp) Malaysian curry powder
- 30ml (2 tbsp) water
- 450g yellow noodles
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 small onion (70g), thinly sliced
- 75g chicken breast meat, cut into thin slices
- 150g choy sum
- 100g cabbage, thinly sliced
- 150g firm tofu
- 1/2 tomato (50g), diced
- 1 small potato (70g), diced and boiled until soft
- Sambal and bird's eye chili (to adjust spiciness)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- One lime for juice and decoration
- Blanch the mee in boiling water for fifteen seconds. Drain and set aside.
- Combine all the ingredients in (A).
- Heat some cooking oil in the wok. Saute the onion and garlic until aromatic.
- Add the chicken bread meat and season with salt. Fry until it is cooked and slightly brown.
- Stir-fry the choy sum and cabbage with some oil and season with salt. Add some water if it is too dry.
- When the vegetables turn soft, return the chicken meat to the wok. Then add the tofu, tomatoes, potatoes, and the sauce (A).
- Add the yellow noodles, combine with all the ingredients in the wok. Add some water if it is too thick.
- Turn up the heat to medium/high, stir-fry for a minute.
- Reduce the heat to low. Then push the noodles to one side of the wok. Add some more oil to the wok and crack the egg on it.
- Spread out the egg with the spatula and slowly fold into the noodles. It will be sticky, so continuous stirring and flipping are necessary. Remove and served with a wedge of lime.
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Serving Size:3 servings
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 877 Total Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 243mg Sodium: 1890mg Carbohydrates: 94g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 21g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 45g