Fern at To Food with Love is a reader of Rasa Malaysia. She often leaves me sweet comments on my recipes, and that’s exactly how I found out her absolutely mouthwatering and delicious blog To Food with Love. A fellow Malaysian who currently resides in Sydney, Fern shares many home-cooked recipes ranging from Malaysian, Chinese, western, baking to desserts. I am particularly drawn to her gorgeous food photography on the site. Please welcome Fern to Rasa Malaysia, with the wonton noodles or Malaysian Wantan Mee recipe. Anthony Bourdain had it in the Penang episode so now the world wants to learn how to make it. Enjoy!
Hello everyone! I’m Fern from To Food with Love, where I share my favourite recipes for home-style Asian cooking and popular Asian street food. I am delighted that Bee has given me this amazing once in a blog-time opportunity to do a guest post on Rasa Malaysia. This is even better than that plane ticket I won ten years ago! Like Bee, I also spent my childhood days in Malaysia, oftentimes a willing spectator, milling around my mother’s kitchen, waiting to execute my duties as the official “taste-tester”.
It was tough choosing a dish to feature in this post, as Bee has covered almost every well-known Malaysian dish on her website, and I didn’t want to repeat any recipes from my previous posts either. I finally settled on Wonton Noodles, because apparently, Anthony Bourdain had a taste of it in Penang and now the whole world wants some wontons too!
Wonton Noodles are known in Chinese dialect as “Wantan Mee”, as the locals would call it. I’m guessing that most of you would be more familiar with the version you get at Hong Kong-style eateries where the noodles don’t look as dark (in all fairness) as the one you see here. This version of “Wantan mee with black sauce” is typically found in KL and the northern part of West Malaysia, including Penang. I was telling Bee that where I come from, the Wonton Noodles are served with an orangey-coloured chilli sauce instead, that is just particular to my hometown. Anyway, I haven’t managed to replicate that sauce yet, but I think I’ve come close with this black version, after a few attempts.
In Malaysia, the basic Wonton Noodles are usually egg noodles tossed in a sauce, topped with Char Siu (Bbq pork), wontons, choy sum and pickled green chillies. I should emphasize that the pickled green chillies are as essential to this dish as are the rest of the ingredients to achieve that authentic balance, and they are really easy to prepare too. In fact, if you just use store-bought Char Siu (or even wontons too), making this dish is really easy. Just make sure that you get good quality fresh egg noodles (not too thin) and your favourite brand of ready-made wonton skins.
400g (14 oz) fresh wonton noodles (egg noodles)
1/2 bunch choy sum, washed and cut into 2 inch lengths
Approx 300g (10 oz) char siu pork, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
Sriracha chilli sauce, to serve (optional)
Pickled green chillies:
5-6 long green chillies, sliced thinly
2/3 cup Chinese white rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 packet square wonton wrappers (about 40 sheets)
150g (5 oz) pork mince
150g (5 oz) prawn meat
1 tbsp egg white
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
5-6 Chinese dried black mushrooms, stems removed
1 cup warm water
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with the back of a knife
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mushroom flavoured soy (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water
Seasoning sauce (per serving of noodles):
1 tbsp thick dark soy sauce (Cheong Chan brand thick caramel)
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp prepared garlic oil
Prepare pickled green chillies:
Combine vinegar, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix well to dissolve. Taste and adjust salt/sugar if desired. Place sliced chillies in another bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let it stand for 30 seconds, and then drain off the water. Pour the vinegar solution over the chillies, ensuring the chillies are completely covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until chillies turn into an olive-green colour.
Combine all ingredients for pork mince (except wrappers) and mix well. Place a teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of each wonton wrapper, and then lightly moisten the edges of the wrapper with water. Seal the edges to form a triangle shape, then press the edges to thin out the dough. Bring the corners together and squeeze to form a “money bag”. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers. Set aside on a plate until ready to cook.
Prepare garlic oil:
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic over low-medium heat until it starts to turn lightly golden in colour and crisp. Transfer immediately to a heat proof bowl and set aside.
Prepare mushroom sauce:
Soak mushrooms in 1 cup warm water until softened. Squeeze out excess water from mushrooms, set aside, and reserve the soaking liquid for later. Slice the mushrooms if desired. Heat up 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Fry the garlic and mushrooms for 1 minute. Then add the rest of the ingredients except for the cornstarch solution. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cornstarch solution and stir until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and sugar. Blanch the choy sum stems first, followed by the leaves. Remove, drain and set aside.
Boil some water in pot and cook the wontons in batches for about 1-2 minutes until cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Drain and set aside. Alternatively, add them to some prepared chicken broth and garnish with spring onions.
In a shallow serving bowl, place 1 serve of the seasoning sauce.
With the same boiling water used for blanching the vegetables, bring it to a rolling boil, and cook 1 bundle (100g / 3oz) of noodles for about 30 seconds or until done to your liking. Use a large sieve to drain the noodles and run it under cold running tap water for 5 seconds, then dip the noodles in the boiling water again just to warm it up. Transfer the noodles into the serving bowl and toss them in the seasoning sauce. Add 6 tbsp of the mushroom sauce and toss again. Add a dash of white pepper.
Garnish the noodles with choy sum, wontons and sliced char siu pork. Serve immediately wth pickled green chillies and a bowl of wonton soup. If you like it spicy, mix the noodles with some Sriracha chilli sauce. Enjoy!
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