When in Rome do as the Romans do. So when in Malaysian, eat like the local Malaysians do. Food is the fundamental link to making any journey complete. You can never truly understand the culture of various countries, unless you experienced their cuisine. Having said that, eating Thai food in Italy would not do the trick and neither would dining in a Thai gourmet kitchen. To get to the depths of culinary understanding, eat like the locals would. In this case, my discovery of Malaysian cuisine began at their locals mamaks; small restaurants serving hawker style food and catering to their neighborhood’s usual suspects. My first entry into the Malaysian food realm; ayan mee goreng, spicy chicken noodles, although they were sweet rather than spicy.
Being strategically and geographically situated along the ancient spice route, Malaysian cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Indian food. Mee Goreng, has been adapted from Chinese immigrants, but now finds itself firmly entrenched into the Malaysian diet. Its popularity can be seen from its availability from the side walk hawkers to gourmet restaurants across Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Being a food lover, it became a challenge for me to decipher the ingredients of Mee Goreng, while I actually ate it. The essential ingredients of yellow egg noodles, bean sprouts, chicken and green onions were obvious, it was the sauce that was the tricky part. With each bite I tested my palate. The result; essentially sweet with a kick of spices right at the end. Armed with that information, I set out to test the recipe. I researched various articles on this dish and even asked the chef but obviously the secret could not be divulged. Taking inspiration from various recipes online, I tried and tested the sauce and finally came up with the recipe that struck the correct balance between sweet and spicy.
- 1/4 kg chicken fillets, thinly sliced
- 150g yellow egg noodles
- 3 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 2 spring onions, chopped lengthwise
- 1 egg
- Combine the oyster sauce, chilli garlic sauce, dark and sweet soy sauces, sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl
- Mix well and set aside
- Boil the egg noodles in hot water for about 5 minutes
- When cooked, pour the noodles in a large sieve to drain the water. Run cold water over the noodles to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside
- Glaze a wok with vegetable oil, enough to cover the bottom of the wok
- Beat an egg and pour into the wok. Scramble till all the pieces separate
- Add the noodles, garlic paste, bean sprouts, chicken, red pepper, carrots and 1/2 cup of water and stir fry
- Stir continuously till the chicken is cooked through and water starts to dry up.
- Once the chicken is cooked, pour the sauce prepared earlier evenly over the noodles
- Stir well to combine the sauce with the rest of the ingredients. Sprinkle a dash of sweet soy sauce and notice the color of the dish change to a light brown shade
- Stir continuously till the liquid starts to dry up and there is none left at the bottom
- Remove from heat and garnish with spring onions
- Serve while hot
Your authentic Malaysian dish will be ready in under 20 minutes. Make it for a quick weeknight supper or part of your Asian dinner theme over the weekend. Just like I did, you can change the taste of the sauce to suit your palate; add more chilli sauce to make it spicy or sweet soy sauce and sugar to make it sweeter. Bring the flavors of Malaysia to your home by cooking the real Malaysian mamak food; Ayan Mee Goreng.