Mee Siam – A Thai Noodle dish reworked

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Dry Mee Siam

I love Mee Siam. Its something I crave every once in awhile. One of the first noodle dish I learnt to cook, the sweet, sour and spicy noodle dish makes a light and exotic meal. With its origins from Thailand (hence, the Siam part of the name), this noodle dish has been reworked by the Malays, Chinese and the Indians living in Singapore and Malaysia. All of them adding their own touch to the dish. In general, it is a rice vermicelli dish served with gravy made with tamarind, salted soybeans, tiny shrimp called udang geragau among other ingredients and served with dried beancurd, Chinese chives, calamansi limes and a spicy sambal.

I also love the dry version which is essentially the same ingredients stirfried with the vermicelli. This version is from my mum and is a quick one-dish meal that I make whenever I can get a hold of udang geragau. You can omit the udang geragau and just use regular prawns/shrimp, if you can’t find them. They should be available in the wet markets or Asian stores.

Dry Mee Siam

300g udang geragau (washed and drained)
150g regular prawns (shelled and deveined)
10-15 dry chillies (soaked in hot water for 10 min)
1 large onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp salted soybeans
1 pack rice vermicelli (soaked in hot water til softened, drained)
50g Chinese chives (chopped)
For the garnish: dry beancurd, Chinese chives, Calamansi limes, hardboiled eggs and sambal (see recipe below)

Blend half the udang geragau with the dry chillies, onion and garlic til smooth. In a large wok, heat 4 tbsp oil and add the blended spice paste. Stir and let fry til fragrant and the oil starts to separate. Add in the salted soybeans and the prawns. Stir to coat the prawns and let cook til almost done. Add the drained rice vermicelli and half of the chives. Stir well to make sure the spice paste coats all of the noodles. You may add sprinkles of water if you find the dish too dry but do not get the noodles soggy.

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Frying the spice paste

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Frying the noodles and Chinese chives

In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and add the remaining udang geragau. Fry til the shrimps are browned. Drain on paper towels and store in an airtight container. Makes a crispy garnish for the Mee Siam.

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Udang geragau

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Crispy fried geragau

In the same pan, toast the dry beancurd on both sides til browned and charred in places. Cut into small dice. I find using a pair of kitchen scissors makes this much faster. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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Dried beancurd

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Toasted beancurd

I didnt make the sambal for this round but it’s a good addition if you have the time.

Sweet Sambal

50g dried chillies (soaked in hot water til softened and drained)1 large onion (chopped)4 garlic cloves1 thumb-sized belachan (shrimp paste)20g tamarind (soaked in some water to make a thick paste)

Blend the first 4 ingredients into a smooth paste. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a saucepan and add the spice paste. Stir-fry the ingredients and let cook til fragrant and the oil separates, about 15 min. Take your time with this to make sure it is well-cooked. Add 5 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt and stir. Add in the tamarind paste and stir. Cook, stirring gently, for another 10 min. Serve. Can be stored in the fridge for about 1 week.

To serve the noodles, serve in a dish and garnish with the fried udang geragau, beancurd, chopped Chinese chives and half of a hardboiled egg. Serve the sweet sambal on the side to be stirred into the noodles. Squeeze calamansi juice over the whole dish and enjoy!

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