Saturday, 14 January 2012

Rustic Hand-torn Sourdough Noodles (Mee Hoon Kueh)

It's been two consecutive posts about kimchi thus far, and I'm not going to continue with a third, but I really do enjoy making my own fermented food. They're fab for your health, usually quite simple to make, requiring not much more than just patience, and I feel this odd sense of motherly pride looking at my little fermented babies. I think it might be a sign that I'll make not a half-bad mother 10 years later. I do enjoy eating my babies though.

Besides kimchi, my sourdough starter has been brewing happily, and though I haven't been baking with it that much these days, I have been using it for crepes/pasta/noodles just because they're a lot simpler. I made my sourdough pasta dough that day, ready to cut into noodles, but got lazy and decided heck. Just roll it out and tear them in. That's the way a very rustic, homely handmade noodle dish, called mee hoon kueh (usually plain flour and water) is made back in Singapore.

The stock couldn't be simpler, it's an asian dashi stock made with dried anchovies and shiitake mushrooms (you can even make it instantly if you've got my all-natural instant stock powder recipe down). That's more common, though you can easily use any homemade stock you've got on hand.

Rustic Hand-torn Sourdough Noodles
serves 1
For noodles

For soup stock
handful of dried anchovies (ikan bilis)
shiitake mushrooms soaking water (see below)
2 cloves garlic, chopped

For serving
small handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and drained
chopped spring onions

The seasonings
1 tsp traditionally fermented MSG-free oyster sauce
dash of white pepper, unrefined sea salt, to taste

1. Add the dried anchovies to the mushroom soaking water, top up with enough water for a bowl of soup, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 min. Slice the shiitake mushrooms, let marinate in the oyster sauce for a short while.
2. Meanwhile, fry the chopped garlic in a little oil till fragrant. Drain and add the fried garlic to the simmering stock. In the remaining oil, fry the mushrooms to cook, then set aside with the rest of your toppings.

3. Roll out, or just flatten, your ball of sourdough noodle/pasta dough. Tear pieces off and drop it into the boiling stock. They're cooked when they float to the top.

4. Season to taste with pepper and sea salt. Dish out into a bowl, top with the mushrooms, roasted anchovies, fried shallots, and spring onions over, then tuck in! It's also nice to have thick sweet soy sauce and chilli on the side; my kind of thing.

This is handmade noodles at its best, simple, hearty, and for me, nostalgic. There's a rustic sort of fun in tearing your noodles into odd mini-handkerchief-like shapes, instead of the usual fiddly long strands. My mum used to shoo us from the kitchen, it was her territory, so we hardly got to cook as kids, but this was one thing we all got the chance to do. You can definitely do it your way, if you don't have/like anchovies; other versions come topped with minced meat or a poached egg, brilliant too!

See the traditional home-style version I did again more recently, here


  1. Ooh, this is a new one for me... I love the idea of just ripping bits off and chucking it in a pot, though I have to ask - if one wanted to be extra fussy and one was a bit of a neat-freak (who's that? not me! \O.o/ ) could one use a pasta machine to make them a uniform size, or is that against the very essence of the dish?

    It looks like a fantastic dish though - lovely and warming for a Sunday afternoon!

    Have a nice weekend Shuhan :)

  2. if the recipe includes fried shallots, I'll eat it, no matter what shape the noodles are!

  3. this looks really yummy! i miss homecooked food, i will try this when I get my own kitchen

  4. The dish looks so good. I've not been brave enough to make my own noodles or pasta yet but this method is so easy how could I fail? I love your style of cooking. It's so inspirational. X

  5. Very creative, I have never heard of sourdough pasta/noodles. I guess it will be a little airy/light compared to the regular stuff

  6. charles: haha you perfectionist! I would say the tearing is the essence of it, and the torn edges make sure the people eating it know that it's handmade ;)

    little macaroon: hahahaha, i know what you mean!

    yongfeng: yay thanks! the normal version is even simpler, just flour and water(:

    dom: thanks a lot dom! this definitely takes the faff out of making your own noodles(:

    three-cookies: quite the contrary, they're quite a lot heartier, and a little bit tangy too. the original version is just made with normal flour and water though. I;m just a little bit obsessed with my sourdough pasta dough (:

  7. I freaking love your blog. Everything you cook is something I want to eat right away. (I could do with some of those dried anchovies right about now.) I've never made sourdough pasta, but I must try it.

  8. I would kill for a bowl of these right now - they look sensational. Love the idea of the hand torn noodles.

  9. This reminds me a lot like pan mee. Love that it's sour dough too.. I could actually eat soup noodles 2-3 times weekly. With all the fried anchovies, shitake mushrooms etc..Serve it with good sambal! Wah.. if only I could get this near my work place. Gong Xi Fa Cai!! xoxo

  10. Using sourdough to make mee hoon kueh is totally new to me. My version is always made with OO flour for the extra softness but yours looks very rustic!

  11. This bowl of noodle soup is so healthy and light. I've never eaten sourdough version but it must be good! I love all kinds of noodle soup and this handmade one is extra special! Oh, and your yummy pictures are awesome!

  12. This looks wonderful and I think it is also pretty healthy which makes it perfect for lunch! I love all your dishes and learn so many things reading your blog xx

  13. Shu Han, it sounds very original and appetising. I have never heard about hand-torn sourdough noodles! (Actually you post many Asian recipes I have never heard about ;-) )
    I also risk posting some more kimchi-related recipes and I totally understand what you mean by watching the fermenting stuff change and mature... I am really hooked on kimchi.
    Sourdough is an adventure I haven't embarked on yet though.

  14. I've never heard of sourdough noodles before, but I bet they are awesome. This sounds really delicious. I'm making your mom's sesame chicken this week. I can hardly wait! Have a great day!

  15. susan: It made my day, reading that! Thank you so much! Sourdough pasta is fun, and actually pretty easy if you aren't using wholegrain flour i.e. skip the soaking step.

    gourmet chick: aw, thank you so much!! i like hand tearing it too, not only makes life simpler, but tastes just the same, if not more fun.

    chic & Gorgeous Treats: It is kind of like pan mee, we call it mee hoon kueh!

    zoe: ooh, if i were to make it the usual way, I'll definitely try using 00 flour instead of normal flour, great idea.

    nami: thanks nami! i agree though, all handmade noodles taste esp good, whether they're the usual familiar flavours or a special one(:

    laura: it is healthy of course ;) thanks laura!!

    sissi: haha glad to be your guide to weird asian food. yup, there is just this sense of accomplishment knowing you've grown or mothered something. I guess people have pets, I have the same, just edible ones ;)

    mary: ohhhh please let me know how it went!!! Quite a few people have tried it and really liked it and I've passed on the news to my mum (:

    farine: thank you, it is fun for sure!

  16. I like the rustic look of this noodle!