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KL Hokkien Mee is well-known in KL, at least nowadays, but until I cooked it myself on 2 August 2021 I had never eaten it. And cooking it seemed to be a real problem: I couldn't find a recipe. Well, I can find dozens of them, but they all require interpretation, and for once it's a dish that I don't know. The dish looks very different from Singapore Hokkien Mee:

https://rasamalaysia.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/hokkienmee3.jpg

It uses lots of dark soya sauce, and thus the unusual colour. It also needs fried pork fat, something almost called lardon in French or Grieben in German, but I can't find a good English word. leo.org points me to the English word “greaves”, and the OED confirms that that's the word. The only problem is that I've have only once heard that word before, the surname of “laughing Larry” Greaves, whom I knew hardly more than 50 years ago. I had never heard it in a culinary connection, and I suspect that many others haven't either.

So: what recipe do I try to interpret? The most promising seem to be from Rasa Malaysia and Nyonya Cooking. Both go into some detail to explain the dish (in subtly different ways), and both have recipes that are really hard to follow. I chose the Rasa Malaysia recipe because it was marginally easier to interpret, but I still had no clear indication how many servings it was made for, and it has things like

  • shrimp, allow about 3-4 per person
  • white fish balls, allow about 2-3 per person
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250 g (8 oz.) thick hokkien noodles

Apart from guessing what she means by “shrimp” (I guessed prawn), how big? And does she really want to serve 250 g of noodles per person? So I guessed that some quantities were per serving, and others for the complete dish (an unknown number of servings). And since I'm planning this for breakfast for myself only, I prepare a lot in advance, so that I can freeze it in individual portions.

KL Hokkien Mee, Dereel thing

Pork

For 4 portions

quantity       ingredient       step
450 g       fat pork belly       1
10 g       garlic       2
50 g       light soya sauce       2
10 g       oyster sauce       2
6 g       sesame oil       2
6 g       cornflour       2
  1. Remove the layer of fat from the belly. I'm assuming that this will be about 100 g. Cut into 1 cm cubes and fry in a pan until the Grieben are crisp. The name appears to be chu yau cha (猪油渣)

  2. Cut the remaining meat into slightly larger cubes and marinate in the other ingredients for at least 15 minutes.


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Noodles

Prepare the noodles according to instructions. Mine wanted to soak them in hot water mainly to separate them. It didn't work well:


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After rinsing, I had to separate a number of groups that had stuck together.

Assembly

Per serving

quantity       ingredient       step
70 g       marinated pork (see above)       1
      fat from pork rendering, to fry       1
50 g       medium prawns (about 4)       2
50 g       fish balls (about 4, see discussion)       2
15 g       garlic       2
60 g       choi sum       2
180 g       loosened Hokkien noodles or bucatini       3
25 g       dark soya sauce       3
5 g       light soya sauce       3
40 g       chicken broth       4
5 g       cornflour       5
      water to mix       5
10 g       chu yau cha (see above)       6
  1. Fry the pork in fat over high heat.

  2. Lower the temperature and add garlic, fish balls and choy sum stalks only. Cook.


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  3. Add noodles and soya sauces, heat.

  4. When hot, add the chicken broth and choy sum leaves. Stir and bring to the boil.


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  5. Just before serving, add the cornflour mixture.

  6. Bring back to the boil, mix well, add chu yau cha and serve:


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Discussion

A number of things became clear when making this dish:

6 September 2021

The next time I made it the differences were minor. I used bucatini instead of Hokkien noodles, which tasted pretty much the same. And I think it needs more liquid and a je ne sais quoi, maybe garlic. So I've upgraded the quantities from 45 to 60 g of broth and from 7 to 10 g of garlic.

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