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KL Hokkien Mee is a relatively new dish from Kuala Lumpur. Here an image from Rasa Malaysia, and then my interpretation:

https://rasamalaysia.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/hokkienmee3.jpg
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211112/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-4.jpeg
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Although I lived in KL for years, I have never eaten it there. This page shows my current recipe and, further down, a discussion of how I got here.

I still haven't decided on the exact quantities of the sauces. Comments welcome. The photos below show an earlier stage where I used fish balls instead of squid.

Ingredients

Per serving. The photos show an earlier version of the recipe, but still give an idea of the procedure. These quantities base on my experience of 12 April 2022.

quantity       ingredient       step
50 g       squid tubes, cut into strips       1
70 g       marinated pork (see below)       2
      fat from pork rendering, to fry       2
10 g       garlic       3
5 g       chili, chopped       3
60 g       choi sam       3
180 g       loosened Hokkien noodles or bucatini       4
20 g       dark soya sauce       4
15 g       KL caramel sauce       4
20 g       light soya sauce       4
50 g       medium prawns (4 to 6)       4
20 g       chicken broth or water       4
12 g       cornflour       4
15 g       greaves (see below)       5
10 g       (maybe) ikan bilis, ground to powder       5
  1. Fry the squid in fat over very high heat until lightly browned. Anything less than very high heat won't brown them.

  2. Remove the squid from the pan, lower heat slightly, add the pork and fry until brown. This can take longer than expected.

  3. Lower the temperature further and add garlic and choi sam stalks only. Cook.


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210802/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-14.jpeg
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  4. Mix the cornflour in the chicken broth. Add squid, prawns, choi sam leaves, noodles, soya sauces and broth. Bring to the boil and allow to thicken.


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210802/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-16.jpeg
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  5. Put on serving plates, add chu yau cha (greaves), sprinkle with ikan bilis powder if used, and serve:


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Pork

Traditionally this dish uses pork as described below. In August 2022 I tried replacing it with Lap Chong (2 sausages or about 60 g per portion), and it didn't taste bad. I haven't decided which is better yet.

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, enough to make greaves, known in this context as 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.


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210802/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-3.jpeg
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Noodles

Prepare the noodles according to instructions.

Discussion

This section has grown over the course of development of this recipe. Some comments may be out of date.

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 greaves, fried pork fat. These are known in German, where they're called Grieben, but they're almost unknown in English-speaking countries. Some people use French lardon, but they're normally not pre-fried. 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.

And then there's the sauce. Dark soya sauce? What kind? They confirm that Kicap manis, the Indonesian sweet dark sauce, is incorrect. But then there's “caramel soya sauce”, which is also dark. You can only get it in KL, they say. But what I found are two different sauces, both from KL:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211009/big/Cooking-caramel-1.jpeg
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  http://www.lemis.com/grog/Day/20211010/41MpsIfqfFL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

Problem: they're “cooking caramel”, nothing to do with soya sauce. I've tried the first one, and without dark soya sauce it doesn't taste right. So I'm currently trying to balance light soya sauce, dark soya sauce and caramel.

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.

Experience

A number of things became clear when making this dish:

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. I still can't make up my mind how much liquid to put in the dish, but possibly the best choice is to thicken it more.

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