If you don’t have time to cook 3 Dish 1 Soup (三菜一汤), this dish can be prepared in half an hour as a nutritious meal on its own.
Previously in my Glass Noodles (Tang Hoon) with Dried Cuttlefish Recipe, I shared that Glass Noodles – also known as Bean Vermicelli, Dong Fen 冬粉 in Mandarin and Tang Hoon in Cantonese – is one of my favourite noodles because of its bouncy texture and pretty translucent appearance of the noodles once cooked. Today I’m sharing my recipe for Glass Noodles with Fuzzy Gourd (also known as Fuzzy Melon or Hairy Gourd). This dish has an interesting background – it is known in Cantonese as ‘Dai Yi Ma Kar Looi 大姨媽嫁女’ which literally translated means ‘Eldest Aunty Marries Off Daughter’. I am not sure how this name was derived. Perhaps it may be a dish served on the eve of weddings? But if anyone can enlighten me, do drop me a comment below – to satisfy my curiosity!
When I was young, my mother used to cook Glass Noodles with Hairy Gourd almost every other week as it is quick, economical and fairly easy to cook in bulk to feed our large family of 9. In those days the hairy gourds were hairier, smaller in size and not as hardy as the present day’s, which are tougher, making it more difficult to scrape off the skin. If you don’t have time to cook 3 Dishes and 1 Soup (三菜一汤), this dish can be prepared in slightly over half an hour as a nutritious meal on its own. My little grandson gobbled down 2 bowls of the tasty Tang Hoon for his dinner when I cooked this 2 days ago, and he felt so satisfied and contented.
Note: For Special Diets, please read the notes at the bottom for suggested modifications.
INGREDIENTS FOR GLASS NOODLES WITH HAIRY GOURD (serves 6)
– Hairy Gourd, 500-600 gm
– Tang Hoon / Dong Fen / Glass Noodle, 30-40 gm
– Garlic, 3 cloves
– Dried Shrimp (Hei Bee), 40 gm
– Water, 1-2 bowls
– Light soya sauce, 2 tsp
– Salt, 1/2 tsp
– Oil, 3-4 Tbsp
PREPARATION FOR GLASS NOODLES WITH HAIRY GOURD (15 mins)
- Wash the dried shrimp and soak in one bowl of hot water until soft. Keep the shrimp water for later use.
- Chop the dried shrimp coarsely and set aside.
- Soak the Dong Fen with hot water until soft. Wash and drain.
- To remove the hairy skin of the hairy gourd, use a knife instead of a peeler because the skin is very tough. Its best to use the end part of a knife edge closest to the handle to scrape off the hard skin of the hairy gourd from end to end. It is easier to scrape if you hold the hairy gourd slightly off the table while scraping.
- Wash and slice the hairy gourd cross-section-wise into 5mm slices, angling the knife diagonally to the length of the hairy gourd. This helps to elongate the shape of the hairy gourd.
- Arrange the slices into small stacks. Take one stack and start slicing into 5mm strips. Repeat for all the other stacks.
COOKING METHOD FOR GLASS NOODLES WITH HAIRY GOURD (15 mins)
- Add oil into a wok over medium heat.
- Add in the dried shrimp and fry for a few mins. Lower the heat once the dried shrimps start to bubble and splatter in all directions.
- Add in the garlic to fry until aromatic
- Add in the hairy gourd and turn up the heat to medium high.
- Toss the hairy gourd and mix well with the dried shrimp and garlic and fry for a few mins.
- Add in the bowl of dried shrimp water and give it a stir and mix well
- Add in the salt and light sauce
- Lastly add in the dong fen and mix well. Add in another bowl of water and continue to simmer for another 5 mins or until the hairy gourd is limped but not disintegrated.
- Taste to see if it’s salty. Add some light sauce if it’s not.
- Transfer to a platter and serve.
TOP TIPS FOR GLASS NOODLES WITH HAIRY GOURD
- Fry the dried shrimp first till it’s aromatic then add in the garlic as the garlic has a shorter cooking time and gets burnt easily. Once burnt, it will give a bitter taste.
- When using a metal spatula to fry, make sure the spatula is making a scooping action from the bottom of the wok up to toss. This prevents the hairy gourd and Tung Hoon from getting broken up during the frying.
- Do not cut the hairy gourd too thin or too thick. If it’s too thin it will disintegrate and if it’s too thick it’s hard to cook.
- The saltiness also depend on the types of dried shrimps. Some are very salty and some are not. So you need to taste and adjust the amount of salt and soya sauce accordingly.
- Don’t mix up Tang Hoon with Bee Hoon. Tang Hoon is made from Bean while Bee Hoon, also known as Rice Vermicelli, is made from rice. Tang Hoon is a transparent colour when cooked, hence the name Glass Noodle, but Bee Hoon is an opaque white colour when cooked.
- There are different brands of Tang Hoon / Dong Fen / Glass Noodles in the market. Some are very powdery and ‘dough-y’ after cooking. Some break easily during cooking and become mushy. See picture of the brand I used which is good. It is from Thailand, so I always stock up when I visit Bangkok. It’s very ‘QQ’ when it’s cooked. You may also be able to find it in Thai supermarkets in Singapore.
- Need to add more water because the Tang Hoon absorbs lots of water. Again the amount of water will depend on the types of Dong Fen used. After adding 1 bowl of water, chek to see whether it is too dry. You may need to adding another bowl of the cooking.
- You can add more Dong Fen to this recipe if you want to eat this dish as a meal on its own. Remember to add more water if you do (see tip 7 above).
Suggested Modifications for Special Diets
- Child-Friendly: No modifications needed.
- Egg-Free: No modifications needed.
- Fish-Free: No modifications needed.
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free soy sauce (Lee Kum Kee has a gluten-free range)
- Nut-Free: No modifications needed.
- Shellfish-Free: Skip the dried shrimp.
- Vegan: Skip the dried shrimp.
- Vegetarian: Skip the dried shrimp.