This dish is my version of Loh Si Fun, which is very much a feature of the street food culture in Malaysia and variations of it can be found almost everywhere. As a child we often ate at a place which was a massive car park in the day, but a flourish of activity would commence around 6pm where the whole area would be transformed into a large food court. A host of stalls would appear offering the most amazing variety of street food that you could ever imagine, proving that the current ‘pop up restaurant’ concept was present even back then minus the fancy title.
The Loh Si Fun stall was a firm favourite of mine and I still recall the young lady and her mother who used to run it. I never knew her name but she always wore such lovely clothes, make up and jewellery, taking extreme pride not only in her appearance but in the food she produced. My family and I aptly named her ‘Miss Car Park’ and I’m certain that wherever she is today she would still ooze the same glamour.
Without doubt the original recipe itself holds a few ingredients that would be a closely guarded family secret, however I used my taste buds and managed to recreate it as close to the real thing as possible. What’s even a bigger bonus is my version takes hardly any time at all and can be rustled up even after a hard day at work when the kids are screaming out in hunger as you scratch your head wondering what to do!
Noodles tend to go down a storm with little ones and this dish is a staple in my kitchen even now that my children are grown up.
‘Miss Car Park’ used a short stubby rice noodle which is available here in Oriental supermarkets but to make life easier I’ve opted for ready made Udon noodles which are identical in texture but longer in length and easily obtainable in any high street supermarket (see left). They’re precooked and only require minutes in boiling water which saves time, effort, and more importantly doesn’t compromise on taste. If you’re desperate and haven’t got Udon to hand, then any other noodles in your store cupboard can be substituted.
Minced pork is what the original recipe dictates but again whatever that’s available in your fridge will do. I’ve had to resort to chicken, prawns and minced turkey myself on the odd occasion and it still went down a storm with my ‘not so little’ ones. For vegetarians, tofu or quorn mince are good alternatives. What really cannot be compromised on is the dark soy sauce and when I say dark I mean dark. The brand that you want is Lee Kum Kee (pictured left) which is sold in Tesco or if you’re feeling adventurous, anything from a Chinese supermarket.
Other brands like Sharwoods or Red Dragon are extremely salty and will not give that dark appearance to the end result so don’t even bother! This dark soy is present in many Malaysian dishes and having it as a store cupboard staple will be incredibly useful for future recipes.
Sesame oil is another vital addition (pictured right) and no other oil should be used as the intense nutty roasted aroma is difficult to replicate and won’t possess that authentic flavour. Again an item that is now widely available in all supermarkets and I purchase mine from Tesco! As long as you have these two ingredients you’re good to go so I’ll stop blabbering now and get on with the actual recipe!
Recipe makes 4 portions
In a very large bowl, add the udon, the pork, soy sauce, white pepper, and sesame oil. Mix it all together until all the noodles are coated in the soy and have a dark appearance. Divide it into 4 bowls and garnish each one with the spring onions and chopped red chili (optional).
Serve with the chili sauce on the side. Easy peasy!
If using prawns or tofu then stir fry it in the garlic and vegetable oil before adding to the noodles. Similarly if you’re opting for chicken then slice the chicken and cook in the same way. Minced turkey can be cooked the same way as minced pork.
For vegetarian options, a medley of mushrooms with the tofu works well. Deep fried tofu squares which have a lovely texture can be found in Chinese Supermarkets which freezes incredibly well and can be added to other dishes.
From left to right; minced pork noodles, prawn noodles, chicken noodles.
I really hope you give this a go and get back to me with pictures and comments.
Happy cooking!!! Mariae xxx
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