I used to dislike eating silver needle noodles a lot when I was young. Whenever I fell sick, my mum would buy a packet of these for me to eat because that’s what sick people should eat when they have no appetite, or so she says. My mum definitely had good intentions, but these soup noodles tasted almost always very bland and plain and would make me feel worse and even more deprived. I therefore grew up associating this dish with sickness, fever, vomit, lack of appetite and all the emotions that one would feel when one falls sick. That’s how much I used to dislike this dish.
There used to be a rumour that went around revealing the evil deeds of some hawkers and how they actually resorted to using mice’s tails in place of this noodle to cook the dish. Following that, people began to call this dish ‘lao2 shu2 fen3’ which is a literal translation of ‘mice’s tail’. My dislike for this dish quickly went from dislike to fear to that of disgust.
Naturally, all these inclinations and thoughts that developed with my growing up years dissipated during my adulthood and I no longer have such negative vibes toward the silver needle noodles. I still don’t eat it that much, but I am beginning to see the multitude of possibilities of using this dish to create a variety of nice homely dishes for my family. Starting with this one here.
- Mee Tai Mak (silver needle noodles): 400g
- Frozen prawn balls (or fresh prawns): 6 pieces
- Chicken stock cube: 1
- Water: 1 liter
- Oil: 2 tbsp
- Garlic: 1 clove, finely chopped
- Red onion: 1, finely chopped
- Minced pork: 150g, marinated with 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil and stirred with 1/2 cup water
- Shiitake mushroom: 3, sliced
- Oyster sauce: 2 tbsp
- Fish sauce: 1 tbsp
- White pepper: a pinch
- Chye sim: 100g, leaves only
- Coriander: 1 stalk, chopped
- Cook the noodles and prawn balls in boiling water with chicken stock cube till done. Drain but reserve stock. Portion out and scoop the noodles into 2 bowls.
- In a separate pot, heat oil, then fry garlic and onions till fragrant.
- Add reserved stock. Stir in minced pork and bring to a boil.
- Add mushrooms, oyster sauce, fish sauce, white pepper and chye sim. Cook for 30 sec.
- Scoop into bowls. Garnish with coriander to serve.
I love the effect of stirring the minced pork with water first, before you stir everything into the broth. This gives it a very flavourful taste to both the noodles and the broth – my absolute favourite!
You can also replace the noodle with rice vermicelli or even instant noodle packets, depending on how healthy you want to be!
- Make your own prawn balls in advance by visiting the given link above! It’s really easy and a lot tastier than what you can get outside!