The name Mee Siam means “Siamese Noodles“. Said to be of Thai origin, it is now probably more popular in southern Johor and Singapore. Cooked with rice vermicelli or bee hoon as what the locals prefer to call it, Mee Siam is great for parties as it is cheap (ingredients costs little) and tasty at the same time.
Mee Siam uses a few main ingredients which brings out its peculiar taste – tau cheo (preserved soya beans), chilli and dried prawns. The more elaborate Mee Siam calls for the pouring of tamarind gravy over the cooked Mee Siam whilst mine is a simpler version which uses freshly squeezed calamansi (limau nipis) juice. The combination of spicy, sweet and sour taste makes this Mee Siam dish appealing to many.
The key to cooking Mee Siam is using a stove which produces high heat and to use the thinner type of rice vermicelli. Why? You use high heat because you don’t want to cook the Mee Siam for too long. Otherwise, the rice vermicelli will break into tiny pieces. At the same time, you use the thinner type of rice vermicelli (I use the Erawan brand which shows an elephant logo) because it does not taste as nice when thicker or coarser rice vermicelli is used.
This is my recipe for Mee Siam (for 2 persons)
- 150 grammes of rice vermicelli (pre-soaked for 30 minutes till softened. Drained)
- 100 grammes of bean sprouts
- 30 grammes of dried prawns (pre-soaked for 15 minutes to semi-soften)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon tau cheo (preserved soya beans)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 pieces of fishcake (optional. sliced) or fresh prawns (cleaned and deveined)
- 2 teaspoons of cili boh (chilli paste which you can buy from supermarket. Alternatively, grind / blend 4 pieces red chilli with 4 cloves garlic and 4 bulbs shallots)
- 2 to 3 pieces calamansi (halved)
- 300 ml hot water
- 5 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons light soya sauce or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Heat oil in wok. Add onions and dried prawns. Stir till onions are translucent and dried prawns are aromatic.
Push ingredients to side of wok. Add tau cheo and cili boh / mixture. Stir well for 15 seconds before pushing back the ingredients into this mixture. At this point, add fishcake or prawns. Stir fry for about 30 seconds, then push them aside.
Add eggs into wok and allow to fry till almost done. Push back ingredients into the egg followed by rice vermicelli. Stir well and sprinkle water occasionally to keep it moist. Add seasoning to taste. Cook till rice vermicelli is done (soft but not mushy to bite).
Dish up and serve with a squeeze of calamansi juice.
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