This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to present a flavorful noodle dish that can be customized to your liking.
Ordering hawker or kopitiam (coffee house) noodles in Malaysia is not too different from the concept of building your own noodle bowl (or plate, if you like). First of all, you can choose to have them either in soup or dry style, to put it simply. Noodle soup is self-explanatory so my focus today is on the dry version.
Since Cantonese appears to be the lingua franca for ordering Chinese food in Kuala Lumpur where I hail, I'd like to start by introducing it by the name frequently used, Kon Loh Mee. Directly translated, it basically means "dry mix noodles," and perhaps that should give you some idea about how it's prepared.
Unlike the soy sauce stir-fried noodles I've previously shared, the noodles here are not stir-fried but tossed with a soy sauce mixture and served with toppings, which can vary depending on the vendor's specialty and customizable based on your preference. The recipe that I developed for the Jade Asian Greens website features their baby bok choy.
Let's get to the simple steps for building your own Malaysian soy sauce noodles at home.
Part I: The Sauce
Despite the emphasis on the word "dry" to set it apart from the soup version, the sauce in Kon Loh Mee plays an instrumental part to bind all the good flavors and textures of the different ingredients together.
My take on the sauce is a simple mixture of shallot oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. For one serving, I like to start with 1/2 tablespoon shallot oil + 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce + 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce + 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and go from there. Combine the sauce in a bowl, toss the noodles in, taste, and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. Add more soy sauce if you like it saltier. I usually add more sesame oil because that's how I like it.
I'd like to stress that shallot oil is an important ingredient and you can make it easily by, well, frying shallots in oil (above). I have a simple step-by-step guide for you here.
The happy byproduct of shallot oil is crispy shallots (above), which are added to the noodles at the end for the aromatic crunch that makes this dish so irresistible for me!
Seriously, don't miss the step-by-step guide to make shallot oil and crispy fried shallots here!
Part II: Noodles
The next step is to pick your noodles. Thin rice noodles (mai fun), flat rice noodles (kuey teow), and yellow egg noodles are the common options at a typical Malaysian hawker stall. Depending on my mood, I sometimes combine two noodles together in one bowl (yes, you most certainly can do that at home too!) and my personal favorite are glass noodles.
The springy wonton noodles, which fall under the egg noodle category, are a popular choice and available either in thin or wide (pictured above). I'd also suggest soba noodles, ramen noodles, and even spaghetti noodles!
As a rule of thumb, 2-3 oz (55-85g) of noodles is a good portion for one serving.
Part III: Toppings
Hawker-style Kon Loh Mee is often topped with Chinese barbecued pork, wonton dumplings, meatballs, shrimp or minced meat, just to give you some ideas. If you're avoiding meat, tofu and tempeh make good toppings here.
There's also always some kind of Asian leafy greens included, like choy sum, gai lan, or bok choy. You can find out more about these greens in this post I wrote. The greens are usually just simply blanched and my chef papa (that's what I like to call him even though he's long retired from the restaurant business) has given me a few easy tips to ensure they maintain a fresh flavor and texture.
Here's what you do: Bring a pot of water with a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a small glug of vegetable oil to a rolling boil. Then add the greens. You know they are ready as soon as the water returns to a rolling boil. Remove the greens, drain, and add them to your noodles.
I like to use baby bok choy because they are tender yet crisp and can be cooked whole, which really adds to the presentation of this simple dish. Jade Asian Greens offers two types of bok choy, the regular kind with white stalks and crinkly dark leaves and the overall green Shanghai bok choy with wider leaves, which can both be used for this recipe.
They can be found in the produce section of your supermarket washed, packed in a special bag that maintains freshness, and ready for use. In fact, Jade Asian Greens is the first packaged and ready-to-use fresh Asian greens on the market since 2008. It helps that they harvest their greens daily and prepare them right before they are shipped out! A part of the San Miguel Produce, a sustainable family-owned farm in Oxnard in Southern California, they grow, harvest, process, and deliver their own vegetables.
Part IV: Pickled Green Chilies
Finally, serve your Kon Loh Mee with a side of chilies. In a pinch, a simple chili soy sauce dip will suffice but if you have the time, pickled green chilies are the way to go.
You can use either jalapeno or serrano for a bit more kick. In a nutshell, the chilies are sliced, deseeded, and pickled in a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and sugar until they turn a lighter shade of green, which takes about 1 to 2 hours, but it's preferable if you can wait overnight as they get better with time. I have the step-by-step guide for you here.
Oh, and don't forget to top your noodles with crispy fried shallots from the shallot oil!
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