In Hakka, it is called Mien Geow.
I know what “mien” is, but never the “geow” part. The only other “geow” I know actually means the dog.
It is hard to find a simpler meal than the humble Pan Mien, or “board noodle”: flour-and-water dough, ikan bilis stock, salt, and choysum. That’s it. Forget about the poached eggs and sambal.
In my family, this poor man’s noodle is a love affair.
When my grandma was around, we have a 30 kg cast-iron wok measuring 3 feet across the top, and it sat permanently on a wood fire stove; and it was in this wok that my grandma would cook pan min, in wholesale quantity.
When eaten freshly cooked, pan min is light and springy; and the fragrance of the ikan bilis stock sticks to your memory like a jealous girlfriend of your youth.
The leftover from lunch would then sit in the wok till dinner time when it takes on a hearty, stout, and full-bodied personality.
Pan Min is pure magic: one dish, with time, two personalities.
My mom cooks like my grandma did, in the sense that she doesn’t “prep” her stuff, or in professional kitchen parlance, mise en place.
She is not a chef; she doesn’t know the 68 ways to cut a carrot. Nor does she keep recipe cards.
It’s always a joy to watch her in the kitchen, this natural cook in my family.
But that’s a story for another time.
This afternoon we have a bunch of kids over for a swim-in, and with all the adults around, my mom needs to cook for about 10 people, in 30 minutes or less.
And guess what she cooked?
Mee Hoon Kueh Recipe
For Pasta Dough:-
- 1 kg of plain flour
- prawn/chicken/meat, sliced and marinate quickly with soya sauce , tapioca flour and a dash of pepper
- choy sum or any greens you can grab
- mushrooms (optional)
- ikan bilis, washed and drained
- some oil
- tung choy or preserved vegetables (optional)
- fried shallot
- cilantro and spring onions
- fried ikan bilis
- chili padi with soya sauce
- Knead flour, salt and water (add water bit by bit) into a dough. Knead bit by bit till the entire dough is smooth and not sticking to your hands. Takes more than 10 mins of kneading. Rest the dough while you start preparing others.
- Prepare meat, either prawns, chicken or pork. Cut them into reasonable bite size and marinate.
- Wash and pick vegetables. Set aside for later use.
- In a big wok fry all ikan bilis, scoop out what is needed as garnishing. Leave desired quantity, pour in sufficient water and brew into stock. You can choose to sieve out the bland ikan bilis while I know many who don’t mind it in.
- Hand peel dough into small pieces of pastas and throw into stock.
- When completed, start putting in meat and vegetable last.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Let individuals decide on the garnishing they like.
A delightful meal for most kids.
Novia lazing around after a hearty meal.Article contributed by Stevie Chan.