Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Recipe: Homecooked Mee Soto!

Among the myriad of noodle dishes in Singapore, my favourite has got to be Mee Soto! Essentially a chicken broth based Malay noodle dish, Mee Soul-to is pure comfort with its rich flavours from spices and poultry accompanied with a punchy chilli kicap manis. Chicken (noodle) soup for the soul indeed! Moohehe. 

The issue for me with many Mee Soto sold at hawker stalls is that the soup tends to be heavily salted and MSG and/or chicken powder-laden. Since learning to cook this dish at home using a recipe tweaked from My Hidden Kitchen, I have discovered the joys of homecooked Mee Soto. :)

Here's sharing the recipe below. As with all my cooking, it can be quite intuitive and flexible so use the recipe as a guide and have fun!

Mee Soto

Ingredients
- 5-6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 star anise
- 5 cardamom pods
- 3 stalks of lemon grass, bruised to release aromatics
- 1 whole chicken, chopped into large parts
- Beansprouts
- Egg noodles or bee hoon
- 40g coriander seeds, toasted in a pan and grounded into a rough powder
- 10g white peppercorns, toasted in a pan and grounded into a rough powder
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 6 candlenuts
- 30g galangal
- 40g ginger
- 1 red onion
- 5 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2-3 teaspoons turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Soy sauce to taste
- Fish sauce to taste
- Fried shallots (garnish)
- Coriander leaves (garnish)

Method
1) Heat cooking oil in a large pot.

2) Fry cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise and cardamom over low heat for a few minutes until fragrant.
3) Blend garlic, ginger, galangal, onion and candlenuts into a paste with a little bit of water in a blender. Add this paste into the pot.
4) Add turmeric powder, ground coriander seeds and a big pinch of salt into the pot. Cook the spice mixture for a few minutes until it is dry, oil is absorbed and it turns a shade darker. Stir often to avoid it being burnt.
5) Add in lemongrass and chicken pieces. Stir fry for a few minutes, adding a little oil if it gets too dry.

6) Turn up the heat and add in about 2 litres of water to cover the chicken pieces. I find it better to add a little less water to make a moore concentrated stock which can be diluted out, if need be, later.
7) Once it starts to boil, lower the heat and shred the chicken before placing the bones back into the pot. Simmer the bones for another 1-2 hours for better flavour extraction.
8) Add in ground white pepper, salt, soy sauce and fish sauce to taste.
9) Blanch noodles and/or bee hoon and beansprouts in a separate pot.
10) Ladle hot chicken broth over the blanched noodles, beansprouts and shredded chicken.
11) Garnish with fried shallots and coriander leaves.

For the chilli kicap manis, simply blend 2 of each red chillies, green chillies and chilli padi plus 1 clove of garlic then add in kicap manis (dark sweet soy sauce), salt, sugar and a squeeze of lime to taste. A generous dollop of this into the Mee Soto adds oomph!

But wait. What's Mee Soto without its delicious spud sidekick Begedil? Moohehe.

Begedil

Ingredients
- 4-5 medium to large potatoes
- Fried shallot
- Beaten egg
- Chopped coriander leaves (Chinese parsley also can lah)
- White pepper
- Cumin
- Coriander seeds, toasted in a pan and grounded
- Salt

Method
1) Boil peeled potatoes until soft and cooked through.
2) Place boiled spuds into a large bowl or plate and roughly mash them with a fork. I like a bit of texture compared to a super smooth mash.
3) Add fried shallot, chopped coriander leaves, white pepper, cumin and ground coriander seeds. Taste and adjust various spice ingredients according to your preference.
4) Add in 2-3 tablespoons of beaten egg and mix into mashed potato mixture.   
5) Shape into small round discs of mashed potato mixture and dip patties into beaten egg to coat before deep/shallow frying them in a pan until golden brown.

Lay everything out for a DIY Mee Soto party! Egg (onsen/soft-boiled/hard-boiled) makes for a nice addition to the dish too.

I love how flavourful and natural-tasting homecooked Mee Soto is. Every drop of the soup can be slurped up with absolute piece of mind.

Chew On This:


Rehash leftovers and create a dry-style Mee Soto with blanched noodles and sprouts tossed in sesame oil, oyster sauce and fried shallots served with a bowl of chicken broth with chye sim thrown in for good (and healthy) measure. Same same but different. Moohaha.

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