Cooking Malaysian street food is no biggie

Just whipped up some Mee goreng. It’s Malaysian street food. Don’t worry about it.

But if you want to say the same thing to your friends and family, make this. You’ll feel cool! And full. It’s really good. Only tip I’ll offer is that you should cook the noodles according to their package’s instructions before throwing them in the wok. It’s probably just boiling them for like 10 seconds, but starting with soft noodles is a good thing. Trust me.

Oh, and I’ve been to the Asian market and stocked up on some items. Here’s what I’ve learned: there are a lot of different kinds of soy sauce (not just the red kind and the green kind). I own three. (Wait! Four!) I’m sure you could substitute and still make a delicious dish but I’ve definitely enjoyed using authentic ingredients when I can.

Don’t skimp on crisping up those shallots. I learned that you do this by lightly coating the slices in a little bit of flour before throwing them in some oil. Once they look good, remove and put on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.


Mee goreng (from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 8 oz firm tofu, cut into 3/8-inch-thick strips
  • 4 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into half at an angle
  • 4 oz choi sum (or boy choy), cut into large chunks (both leaves and stalks)
  • 11 oz fresh egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (or another savory chile paste), plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp thick soy sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 oz Mung bean sprouts
  • handful of shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 tbsp crisp-fried shallots
  • lemon wedges to serve

Set a wok or a large pan on high heat. Once hot, add the oil and then the onion, and cook for about 1 minute to soften a bit. Add the tofu and French beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to give the tofu a bit of color. Stir gently as you cook, trying not to break up the tofu.

Next, add the choi sum. When it wilts, add the noodles and carefully spread them in the wok using tongs or large chopsticks. You want the noodles to get a lot of heat, almost to fry. Mix gently, cooking the noodle for about 2 minutes. Now add the spices, sambal oelek, soy sauces, water and bean sprouts and toss carefully. Cook for about a minute, or until the noodles are semisoft.

When ready, top with lettuce, transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with crisp shallots. On the side, serve lemon wedges and a small bowl of extra sambel oelek.


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