4tbspWaterto mix with the chilli powder to form a paste
200gramsAssam (Tamarind)Dahlia Brand
4Buah Keras (Candlenut)
400-500gramsBean Sprouts (Tow Gay)
1/2packetChives (Ku Chye)About 40 cents worth
To boil Hard boiled eggs
1tspWhite Rice Vinegar or 1/2 tsp salt
Boil some eggs (see tips). Once cooled. remove the shell and cut the eggs into slices using an egg slicer, then set aside.
Wash 150g of dried shrimp and soak in 1 rice bowl of hot water until soft. Drain dry, then blend finely. Keep the shrimp water for later use.
Put the packet of bee hoon into a large basin. Submerge it in warm water (not boiling) until soft (about 20-25 mins). Drain off the water and wash the bee hoon a few times, then pour into a colander and drain dry.
Pour the shrimp water into a measuring cup, then top up with tap water to reach 1 litre. Place the assam in a large bowl and add the shrimp water to make assam water (see tips).
Mash 5 TBsp of Tau Cheo coarsely. (unless you've bought the readily mashed up one!)
Mix 3 TBsp of water to the 5 TBsp of chilli powder and mix to form a paste.
Remove the skin from the shallots and blend them finely.
Wash the buah keras (candlenut) and blend it finely.
Peel the skin from the garlic and chop it finely.
Remove the root of the bean sprouts, wash and set aside.
Wash the chives. Cut off the end of the stalk and discard, then cut the chives into small pieces.
Cut the tau pok and tau kua into small cubes.
Slice the limes into halves.
In a wok, add 2 TBsp of oil and fry the tau kwa until golden. Transfer to a plate. In the same wok, add in the tau pok and fry for a few mins. Remove and set aside.
Add 2 TBsp of oil in the wok over medium heat, then add 1 tsp of chopped garlic and fry till aromatic. Next, add in the bean sprouts and fry for 3 mins. Remove and set aside.
Add 5 TBsp oil in the wok over medium heat, then add in the dried shrimp and fry, stirring it constantly till aromatic.
Using the spatula, push the dried shrimp to the sides of the wok, creating a space in the centre. Then add 1 Tbsp of oil to the centre.
Turn heat to medium low and add in garlic, onion, buah keras and chilli paste in the middle of the wok, and fry for about 2 mins stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the wok.
Mix in the dried shrimp and fry for another 1-2 mins, then add in the tau cheo to the shrimp mixture and mix well.
Next, add in the assam water, shrimp water and sugar, then stir to mix well. Once the gravy is boiling, pour in the bee hoon.
Toss the bee hoon with the gravy until well and evenly coated. Turn the fire to medium low. If the mee siam is too dry, add some water to it and mix well. Cook until the mee siam is soft enough but not disintegrated.
Lastly add in the tau pok, tau kwa and bean sprout to the mee siam and mix well.
Remove and transfer to a big serving plate. Garnish with the sliced eggs on top of the mee siam and sprinkle the chives all over the mee siam. Serve the mee siam with lime. You can also serve the mee siam with sambal prawns.
A good brand of Assam to use is 'Dahlia' brand as it is not too salty, sour enough, and it is easily available at supermarkets like NTUC or wet market.
Use the CTS (Choon Thye Sauce) Brand of Preserved Soya Bean for Tau Cheo (Salted Soya Bean), which is actually flavorful and you can taste the flavour of soy bean.
Use CHILLI Brand Rice Vermicelli for bee hoon because of its springy texture, and it doesn't break up or disintegrate during cooking.
Buy the eggs a few days earlier. It's easier to remove the shell from older eggs than freshly bought eggs; they tend to stick to the egg white.
Do not soak the bee hoon with hot boiling water. It will be too soggy and break easily into pieces while frying. The bee hoon will also expand too quickly in hot water and there will be no capacity for it to absorb the gravy later on, making it taste bland.
Use chopsticks to toss the bee hoon in the gravy as it will prevent the bee hoon from breaking into small pieces.
Add more chilli paste and assam juice/lime/sugar if you prefer your Mee Siam to be more spicy or more sourish or more sweet.
Add more water during cooking if the mee siam is too dry.
If the portion of the Mee Siam is too much for the day...
Divide the Mee Siam into 2 portions BEFORE adding the bean sprouts and tau kwa and tau pok .
Add in the bean sprout, tau kwa and tau pok to the portion that you need.
DO NOT ADD THE BEAN SPROUT, TAU KWA AND TAU POK IMMEDIATELY to the whole pot unless you are going to consume all of it within the next few hours. These ingredients turn bad quickly and the whole pot will have to be thrown away.
Buy the Tamarind from Thailand as some like those from Malaysia and Indonesia tend to be very salty.
Add more tamarind and sugar if you prefer a more sourish and sweeter taste.
Control the fire well when frying chilli paste as the paste gets burnt easily. It's safer to use low heat even it slows down the cooking time.
Add some chilli padi if you prefer it to be more spicy.
HOW TO PREPARE BOILED EGGS
Place the eggs into a pot of tap water with the water covering the eggs.
Sprinkle a little salt/ add 1 tsp of white rice vinegar over the eggs before cooking to prevent the egg white from spilling out if it cracks during cooking.
Boil the eggs in medium heat for about 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the pot for about 10 mins with the cover on. the eggs should now be hard-boiled.
Transfer the eggs into a bowl of tap water covering them.
HOW TO PREPARE ASSAM WATER
Use your hands to squeeze the tamarind until the seeds comes out, then use a large sieve to strain the assam water into a larger bowl. The flesh of the assam tends to stick to the seeds, so you must squeeze it hard until the assam seeds come out, or not all the tamarind juice will be extracted.
Use a spoon to press the assam against the sieve to extract as much water from the assam as possible.
Scrape the thick assam juice from the bottom of the sieve into the bowl.
Do not discard the assam residue in the sieve, just in case you need more water to fry the mee siam, you can add water to the assam and extract the more assam water.