Thursday, 18 April 2013

VLOG (cringe): Wild Garlic Foraging, and Wild Garlic Fried Beehoon!



There was a 75% chance this post wouldn't be written.

See, on Saturday I went wild garlic hunting. I have always loved the whole idea of foraging, of getting (free) food off mother nature. I've gone on about it beforeI've cooked with weeds before, but I've never really foraged for anything on my own besides the odd summer blackberry. My mum has taught me never to trust strangers, and certainly not to put them into my mouth.

But I did (sorry mum), and hey, I'm alive!

Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, is actually quite easy to identify. A gentle rub of its lush green leaves releases the unmistakeable heavenly (this is subjective) scent of garlic. The tricky part is finding The Secret Location. Chefs and greedy people in general get really excited about wild garlic season, and a bit protective about their 'stash'. I was lucky to get a tip from James (thanks) about A Secret Brook somewhere in zone 4, with "lots of wild garlic and mosquitoes". So I happily set off on my wild garlic mission, half expecting to come back with nothing but a broken foot maybe, given my reputation as a complete klutz, but well, surprise- we managed to lug home a full bag of wild garlic.



Back at Charlene's, we made fried beehoon with wild garlic. Fried beehoon is fried rice vermicelli, perhaps best known in its shocking yellow form in the dish 'singapore fried noodles'-- a dish which I never heard about until I left Singapore. Fried beehoon is probably the inspiration for this bastardised dish, a homely one-pan stirfry done by mums to get rid of leftovers and hungry whining kids. This is singapore fried noodles, the way we really do it at home. Garlic chives or spring onions are often added towards the end for some obligatory greenery and wonderful allium-y pungency. But wild garlic works even more wonderfully here with its delicate taste and silky texture. I've done it before so I know.

I thought I'll do it Mum's way this time i.e. a 30 minute soak in cold water till soft and pliable before frying. (The other way was a parboil-and-steam, more chef-y) Both are good. Done right, there should be no sticky clumps, only loose flowing strands of noodles plump with umami flavour from the shiitake-shrimp stock. And tangled within these strands, will be the crisp beansprouts and tender leaves of wild garlic-- oniony, garlicky and just altogether amazing.

Here's the recipe again, with a few more tweaks.

FRIED BEEHOON WITH WILD GARLIC
serves 3-4
Ingredients
200g dried beehoon (thin rice vermicelli noodles)
2 free-range eggs, beaten
2 handfuls of dried shiitake mushrooms
1 handful of dried shrimps
100g shallots, chopped
1 bunch of wild garlic
1 bunch beansprouts
1/2 cup warm water
cold water

Seasonings 
2-3 tbsp good dark soy sauce (traditionally fermented)
1 tbsp good oyster sauce (naturally fermented)
unrefined sea salt
LOTS of white pepper
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp lard from a happy pig or groundnut oil

Method
1. Soak the noodles in cold water for 30 minutes, plus minus 10 minutes depending on how thin your noodles are, till soft. Drain, discard water.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water along with the oyster sauce. You are essentially marinating the mushrooms so they become plump with sweet savoury juices later. Soak the shrimps in warm water for 15 min.
DO NOT DISCARD THE WATER. This shiitake-shrimp-flavoured soaking water will form the most amazing broth for your beehoon to cook in later.
3. Make a thin crepe-like omelette. Beat egg with a pinch of salt and pepper, then pour into a small heated frying pan, let set then flip when golden. Slice into strips. Drain the mushrooms and slice too.
4. Over a medium-hot pan, fry the chopped shallots and shrimps in lard till fragrant, then add the mushrooms, stir-frying for a min or so before adding the soaking liquid, seasonings and plenty of white pepper.
5. Bring everything to a bubbling simmer and then add the drained beehoon, keep jiggling and tossing with the chopsticks* all the while as the thirsty noodles soak up all that delicious broth and finish cooking.
6. Toss in the wild garlic towards the end to wilt. Then add the beansprouts and omelette strips, give a quick final few tosses and dish up. 

*With careful calculations given to avoiding more washing up, you can essentially use that single pair of chopsticks from start to finish-- beating the eggs, frying the ingredients, tossing the noodles, and finally, eating your meal.


And, yes, I made another video. Cringe. I still feel funny (in a not good way) seeing myself on camera, but I thought then that I should make a video in case we die from our foraging adventures.




Related recipes
Fried Beehoon with Wild Garlic (the parboil-and-steam way)
Ginger-Garlic-Spring onion Miracle Sauce (good to try with wild garlic)
Stinging Nettle Saag (more foraged goodness)

81 comments:

  1. Seriously, it would have been more ready if it started to flower. Couple more weeks!

    You wouldn't doubt that it's wild garlic because you'd be able to smell it from *afar*!

    Good video and I like the recipe. I miss bee-hoon...

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    1. Nah we left the little ones alone, we picked the large ones, although yes, I bet it would have been even better after it started to flower. But we were so excited!

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    2. Akchwerly today I can smell it in the air as I walk/drive around. I'd say go pick some more!

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  2. I love the video!! (and especially the typeface you used)

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  3. You are adorable! Love the video, please do more!

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    1. haha nah charlene was the adorable one, I was unkempt and unladylike

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  4. Awesome video, I will now always cook to the sounds of someone plucking a banjo! Great job on finding the wild garlic, I have never quite been brave enough to forage (except for obvious stuff like blackberries).

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    1. this was my first time aaron! I'm surprised I'm alive

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  5. Great video. Love the recipe and the short cut stock tip too. Now off to find a secret WG stash in SE London!

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    1. thanks:) if you find one give me a shout please, I live in the SE too!

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  6. I love wild garlic. Please keep the videos coming, they're fantastic and such a mood lifter. Next time I cook something like this I'm gonna be braver with the white pepper, couldn't believe how much you put in, looks seriously delicious.

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    1. haha thanks so much milli, they're such a lot of effort to make so it makes me really happy to hear that people really enjoy them!

      yes white pepper is my mum's secret weapon to amazing fried beehoon. I know it looks like a scary amount but somehow it works!

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  7. Love the post and each year I vow to hunt it out, have seen it before but it was in some RHS gardens and I didn't think they'd like me stealing their plants! Recipe look lush, will be making it soon. :)

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    1. Hurrah! But yes, not from the RHS gardens. Unless desperate. Or maybe not.

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  8. Awesome video!!! Lovely recipe!! :)
    http://www.rita-bose-cooking.com/

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  9. Love the recipe. Love the video. We call them ramps here. Sadly, I think our season is done. But there's always next year!

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    1. Hurrah thanks:) We call them ramsons too, ramps is new to me! We're right in the middle of the wild garlic season here, pity yours is ending, but I'm sure you've had your fill!

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  10. I love the video! Really cool to see you in action. The fried beehoon looks utterly scrumptious!

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    1. thanks michael, I still cringe seeing myself on film though! Yay glad a fellow asian approves of the fried beehoon!

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  11. I read about wild garlic yesterday, heard their flowers are really nice too. Too bad we cant go hunting for them here.

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  12. Hello Shu Han - thank you so much for visiting our blog and that of course is how WE discover your fantastic blog. I have been browsing few of your post and I am inlove with your homemade wontan mein and chinese recipes plus your video..so cute!
    definitely touch a soft spot in my tummy and memories of my grandmother cooking.
    Also i love using white pepper give a soft kick!

    You just got yourself a big fan!
    gonna browse some more ....well done i have to say :)

    Lisa - cookng sisters

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    1. thanks so much lisa! so chuffed that I reminded you of your grandmother's cooking (yes I believe it's a bigger compliment to be thought of as cooking like one's grandmum than a famous chef.)

      and yes white pepper is so underappreciated! it's my mum's secret ingredient!

      hope to see you back here more :) xxx

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  13. omg. I look so.. not glam hahaha. but nice video anyway :P

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    1. Please. I'm the unkempt unladylike one. You eat so... delicately and giggle so demurely.
      THANKS PARTNERRRRR :)

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  14. This is brilliant! I love the video, really good fun. :) My sister lives in the countryside and forages for wild garlic but I've never tried it. I will have to investigate.

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    1. thanks caz!! You MUST bug your sister to show you! What a good opportunity to pass up!

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  15. Very entertaining! Love the noodle dish too...so easy and looks incredible. I want to go look for wild garlic...but I doubt anything survived after our 36 hours of snow. We still have 30cm of snow in my back garden alone.
    I doubt our farmers markets have anything either...

    Nazneen

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    1. pfft, sorry to hear about the waether! the sun's just finally come back out in london, hope it does so on your end too! you can always do this with spring onions or garlic chives, which is traditional anyway :)

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  16. I love the video, with the giggling and all! And I've still got no idea where you went even after watching the video as that brook could be anywhere! In fact, there's one near my place that looks pretty similar...hmmmmm.....

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    1. i swear I don't normally giggle so much!!! embarassing. well, clue, zone 4.

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  17. wow great fun. I haven't foraged wild garlic yet but I'm sure there must be some nearby. I planted some beans today though and noticed a big patch of new nettles and started planning what to make with them. I must look up your stinging nettle sag...

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    1. you lucky thing! sometimes wish I lived in the countryside and have more weeds to pick (and eat heh).

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  18. Great minds think alike ;-) No matter how short the ramsons season is, it is still so magical that we have posted about it the same day! I bet your noodles were fabulous... I am trying your recipe this weekend. I love the video and envy you the foraging trip so much... I am too lazy or maybe too ignorant about THE good places to pick ramsons myself... so I just buy them on farmers' market. Wonderful amusing post, Shuhan!

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    1. Thanks sissi! I really think we have some spooky ESP thing going on!

      I love the wild garlic season, perhaps the fact that it's so shprt makes it all the more magical! haha and honestly, I didn't forag for my own wild garlic till last saturday, so you have every excuse to get them form the market!

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  19. Shu Han, the only so called wild garlic I can get here is the one that spontaneously grows out of my compost hah! hah! Dare not eat lah! Anyway, I have been trying to grow my own garlic but have not been successful. I love fried beehoon! OK, that will be next on my menu :)

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    1. hahaha please don't eat that and die.

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  20. What is it with you Singaporers and your anti sin chow chow mai fun (Singapore Noodles) agenda? Yeah, wild garlic is great but just think how much better this dish would be with a liberal sprinkling of curry powder. ;-)

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  21. wild garlic sounds interesting.. though i suppose i wouldn't know what to do with it, even if i had some.. now i know.. make fried beehoon, haha! foraging for food (even the insides of a fridge!) always(almost!) makes everything taste yummier!

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  22. Love the vlog and the blog.
    Tim

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  23. I went weed hunting with my dad last weekend, but I didn't filmed the experience ha ha ha. Your video is great (always are), I love it! mmmmm I shouldn't have watched it at lunch time, I'm hungry and I won't arrive home until 15.30h arggg

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    1. I wish you filmed it! Or took photos! I wouldhave loved to see it, I bet your dad was a LOT more experienced than the two of us giggly girls.

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  24. Your video is amazing - I'm in awe! I think you are pretty brave with the foraging though. I'm too chicken to pick anything I haven't planted...

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    1. hehe thanks, I'm amazed we are alive.

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  25. Great stash - this year is the first year I found a really good place to pick wild garlic but sadly it's nowhere near my house. We put ours into runny scrambled eggs, stirred in at the last minute, and the taste was delicious.

    Bookmarking your Behoon suggestion for next year in case I get lucky again!

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    1. This is nowhere near my house too haha, I wish it was! But we had so much fun that day anyway, may just go back down sometime. Or scout for more wild garlic locations!

      Hurrah, you can try this with spring onions instead of wild garlic too by the way, though yes, fingers crossed for more wild garlic luck ! x

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  26. Love the video and the recipe too :)

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  27. interesting to know that wild garlic but not look like garlic..just wonder how the taste of your fried meehoon with wild garlic..

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  28. This looks AMAZING!!! Fried meehoon is like my favouritestestestestestest thing to eat! I love eating massive bowls after bowls of it, and with some chilli dipping sauce on the side I can die a happy boy. You so natural in front of the camera lah, I'm surprised no TV network has approached you yet. And they will, I'm sure ;)

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    1. Winston you have no idea how much footage of myself I cut out. I get so nervous in front of the camera! So glad I had charlene this time to take up half the camera time haha.

      And yay for fried beehoon! I know you love it because I see it on your instagram a lot haha.

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  29. This post excites me! I'm always looking for foraging spots in London! Now if only I had friends who were interested at all in collecting weeds to eat with me, hahah.
    I also wanted to say that I really appreciate your blog's point of view. It's inspiring for me to see that you started just a few years ago and have come so far.

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  30. mmmmmm.. yum. giggling girls in beehoon video are pretty funny. love it missy! :)
    LOVE fried bee hoon - always reminds me of my mum making me bee hoon for lunch!

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  31. You're adorable and this looks amazing. I live on a zone 3/4 boundary... tell me your secret location is in South West London, PLEASE.

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    1. Oh, and I couldn't help but add this to my Sunday links when I watched the video, it was too cute not to share! Let me know if you don't want it there and I can take it down.

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    2. Unfortunately, nope not in the southwest, sorz. I bet there are plenty near you though!
      Haha of course you can share it. Chuffed, though slightly mortified you find this cute.

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  32. Hi Shu Han, nice and fun video. You look adorable. First time I see wild garlic, very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Your fried bee hoon look really delicious. Wish I can have some. :)

    Have a nice week ahead,regards.

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  33. Hi Shu Han,

    How do you identify garlic in the field of greens? How did learn to do this? You must be very experienced doing this. You are so brilliant and knowledgeable with your food and I was wondering how did you learn all these valuable skill?

    Zoe

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    1. Haha I'm a complete noob when it comes to foraging. Wild garlic is easy to identify because you can smell it! Other than that, the only things I dare pick are blackberries and nettles.

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  34. Thats a beautiful bowl of noodles. Great option for a weeknight meal. I've bookmarked this to try soon :)

    I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog and would love for you to be a part of it -
    http://www.myhobbielobbie.com/2013/04/a-few-of-my-favorite-things-and-giveaway.html

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  35. Damn, that bell sound at 2m16s... I had headphones on and was scrolling down the page reading the comments at the time... it gave me such a shock! Felt like I was next to Big Ben or something, haha!

    So jealous... all that wild garlic looks so lovely - I bet the smell of it down by the river was so awesome.

    Fantastic looking final dish too - so yummy!

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    1. HAHAHAHA I had great fun exploring imovie's sound effects.

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  36. Hi Shu Han! You should also go pluck some wild mushrooms for the bee hoon! :D

    Enjoyed watching the video!

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    1. I want to! But I don't want to die! Haha.

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  37. I enjoyed watching the video, it looks so fun! Love the music in the video too.

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    1. Thanks so much! Haha I thought the music was a bit too much in the end. Now I always hear banjos playing when I make fried beehoon.

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  38. How adventurous to pick wild garlic. Yeah, my Mom also told me not to pick anything in the wild....hahaha...Thanks for sharing the video. It's definitely fun to watch. ;)

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  39. What an adventurous post! Love it! I'm so using the word beehoon. Officially my new favourite.

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  40. Wonderful. I have no idea how to find this elusive plant. Zone 4 is pretty big so I guess I shall have to live without. The dish looks wonderful. yum!

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  41. I loved the video! and the recipe too. out of curiosity, what font did you use for the video and how did you piece everything together- was it just imovie? really really liked it!

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    1. heya! it's just imovie (which annoys the hell out of me haha) and the font is belta! thanks so much, glad you liked it, I always cringe watchign myself!

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  42. I have just gone on my first foraging trip last weekend and I so LOVE it!!! It's amazing! Can't wait to do more. So incredible you can do it in the middle of London! (As in the middle of LA, I suppose...) I love your cooking videos, so fun, and so cool to see you in person too :-)

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  43. Shu!! Haha you are soo soo funny and adorable! I loved watching this video. The sound effects and your lil' captions were absolutely hilarious ;). I've never been foraging for anything in my life but sounds like my kind of adventure. My roommate in college was from Singapore (I miss her terribly), and I must ask her about beehoon!

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    1. Min!!! Haha thank you so much! I'm sure you'll like it; it's free food, what's not to like ;) I think if you ask your Singaporean exroommate abbout SIngapore Fried Noodles, you'll most likely set her off on a rant!

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