Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Kway Teow Hailam

While out on a recent field trip, I had the privilege of sampling Malay hospitality. We made a visit to a colleague's home in Butterworth, the mainland side of Penang, and were greeted with a freshly made noodle dish served with a light peppery gravy. Our hostess called it Mee Hailam - I've seen it on the menus of local eateries here, but this was the first time trying it. I'm not sure about the etymology of the name - perhaps it's a corruption of the Chinese province of Hainan? This is my paltry attempt at replicating the dish. I substituted the yellow Hokkien noodles for flat kway teow rice noodles because it was what I had at the fridge.

Kway Teow Hailam

250g flat rice noodles or yellow Hokkien mee
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp caramel sauce

1/2 cup of stock (Homemade is the best of course, or else something low salt)
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp finely ground black pepper
Dash of sesame oil
Handful of spinach leaves
80g beef, cut in 1 inch chunks, then flattened - should yield 5 or six slices

*I prepared this as a wok recipe, i.e. high heat over low surface area, i.e. cooks extremely fast. I suppose you could use a skillet, but you might have to use a little more stock (say, 3/4 cup) to compensate for liquid boiling off.

1. Heat wok to high and stir fry kway teow with soy sauce and caramel sauce. Put on plate and set aside. (Note: Skip this entirely if using Hokkien mee. Instead, just blanch noodles in boiling water for 30 sec and plate)

2. Bring stock, soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil to a boil. Add beef, wait for 30 sec and turn off heat before adding spinach.

3. Scoop out beef and veges onto noodles before pouring in the gravy - then pour the gravy over, as much or as little as you want. Garnish and serve!

Cost breakdown
Total cost: RM3 (Approx)
Rice noodles: RM1
Beef: RM1
Spinach: 40 cents


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