Thursday 27 May 2010

Dry Malaysian Mee Siam (Spicy Tangy Fried Vermicelli)

*If this post sounds familiar, it's because it's an update of one of my first blog entries last year entitled Tangy Nyonya Fried Meehoon, which was essentially a (less authentic) shortcut version using shrimpy chilli oil rather than the fresh blended spice paste below. Finally got to make the proper full-blown thing, and during daylight hours so good photos could be taken, so here you go! :)

Up until the point a friend who was moving back to KL decided to leave me all her leftover jars of sauces, I had never used fermented/salted/preserved soybeans (tau cheo) as an ingredient before. I think it will be a staple in my fridge from now on because I cannot BELIEVE what an amazing flavour it lends to this quintessential Nyonya-style noodle dish.

Stir-fried and therefore not to be confused with its wet Singaporean counterpart served with gravy, dry Malaysian Mee Siam is characterised by a deliciously robust combination of sweet, sour and spicy flavours, stemming from the many different bits that go into the spice paste. To make it easier for yourself, blend/slice/soak everything you need before starting to cook so it's all ready to be tossed in quickly.

Dry Malaysian Mee Siam (Spicy Tangy Fried Vermicelli)
Serves 2-3
  • Pre-preparation
Pound or blitz together to a thick paste and set aside:
2 cloves garlic
2 small Asian red shallots
6 dried chillies, soaked in hot water and deseeded
1 stalk lemongrass (white part only)
1 tsp dried shrimp paste (belacan)
1 heaped tbsp dried shrimps (heh bee)
2 tbsp fermented/preserved/salted soybeans (tau cheo)
A few candlenuts (optional)

200g dried vermicelli- submerged in hot water for a few mins, then drain and set aside.

2 eggs- either boil for 15 mins until hard-boiled then slice thinly, or whisk with a touch of salt, fry as a large omelette then shred into thin strips. Set aside as garnish later.

2 tsp tamarind juice (assam jawa)- soak some tamarind pulp in hot water and set aside to be strained into the noodles later.
  • To Cook
In a large wok, fry the prepared spice paste in a bit of oil over medium-high heat until fragrant.

Add the following in order and fry briskly:
200g peeled and deveined prawns
Some sliced fishcake/chicken/pork (if desired)
1 large cube fried beancurd (tau kwa), cut into small squares

Add the following and toss with a pair of chopsticks to combine well:
Prepared vermicelli (add a little bit of water if it sticks together)
A small handful of Chinese chives (ku chye), sliced into short lengths (I didn't have any this time so I replaced it with regular English chives)
Handful of beansprouts
1 tsp sugar
Dash of white pepper
Dash of fish sauce
Prepared assam jawa- push soaked tamarind pulp through a sieve into noodles, and discard the residual pulp
A few kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced (optional- this is my own little touch)

*I omit salt as belacan and taucheo are already salty- feel free to have a taste and season further if you think it's required.

Dish up and garnish with the prepared eggs, some thinly cut red chillies for colour, some sliced spring onions/Chinese chives/coriander (for a splash of green) and half a calamansi lime (or if it's unavailable like where I live, a wedge of normal lime makes a tolerable if inferior substitute).

Serve immediately, alongside some sambal if desired.

Version 2- With the shredded omelette garnish


  1. Oooh, I've got to try this - my mother also made the dry kind of mee siam!

  2. This plate looks delicious, thanks for share, thanks a lot tomorrow starts my long weekend and i can cook this, thanks