When I travel overseas, I will miss local Singaporean fare, like fried Hokkien Mee! Wok-hei noodles with large squid and prawns, and topped with crispy lard, it's so satisfyingly good, especially if you can make it yourself.
Use a knife to scrape the skin of the pork belly and then rub with coarse salt to exfoliate dead skin and dirt. Wash and drain.
Remove the roots of the bean sprouts, then wash and drain.
Remove the skin from the garlic and chop finely.
Wash the chives and cut into 4cm lengths.
Wash the pork fat and cut into small cubes.
Cut the limes into half and set aside for later use.
In a wok, put in the pork fats and turn on heat to medium high. Stir fry the pork fats until golden brown and crispy to extract the oil.
Transfer the crispy pork lard into a bowl. Pour out the oil into another bowl and set aside for later use.
In the same wok, add 3 TBsp of cooking oil (not pork oil) and turn the heat to medium high. Add in the 1 tsp chopped garlic and fry till aromatic.
Next, add in the prawn heads and fry to mix well with the garlic. Press the prawn heads to extract all the juices and essence.
Add 700-800 ml of boiling water to the wok and let it simmer for 10-15 mins. You will see an orangey layer of oil surfacing. Turn off heat, transfer the prawn stock into a pot over a sieve and discard the prawn heads.
Wash the wok, add water and bring it to a boil. Place the prawns in a deep plate and steam for about 4-5 mins. Remove the prawns and place them on a bowl.
Do likewise for the squid, steam it for about 10 mins. Then remove and set aside.
Steam the pork belly over high heat for about 15-20 mins. When cooked, remove and set aside.
Pour the juices from the squid and pork belly into the prawn stock (the stock should total up to about 1 litre).
Remove the shell from the prawns and set aside.
Cut the squid into 0.5cm cross-section slices and the head and tentacles into strips, then set aside. Cut the pork belly into strips and set aside.
In a wok, heat up 3 TBsp of pork oil and 2 TBsp of oil over high heat.
Add in half of the yellow noodles and half of the vermicelli. Then stir fry without breaking anything.
Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of light soy sauce and 3 TBsp of prawn stock to the noodles. Mix well and fry for about 3-4 mins.
Push the noodle to one side of the wok, then add in 2-3 TBsp of pork oil to the wok. Add in 2 TBsp of garlic and fry till aromatic.
Next, crack 3 eggs over the garlic and break them up gently. Drizzle 1 tsp of fish sauce on the eggs and swirl around. (Note: Do not turn the egg over at this point).
When the egg is slightly charred, flip the noodle mixture over to cover the egg. Add in half the bean sprouts and stir fry with the noodles.
Add half the prawn stock to the noodle mixture, then cover the wok and let it simmer for a few minutes to allow the noodle mixture to absorb the stock.
Add in half of the prawns, squid, pork belly slices and chives into the noodle and mix well.
Lastly, taste to see if more light sauce needs to be added. Transfer the noodle mixture into 3 individual plates.
Repeat the same procedure to fry the remaining half of the noodles.
Best served hot with lime, sambal chilli and pork lard.
WHAT VERMICELLI TO USE?
There are 2 types of thick vermicelli: Fresh or Dried. It is better to use the dried one as it will soak up the stock and will taste more flavourful.
Use tap water, not hot water when soaking the vermicelli. Otherwise it will break during frying.
Do not overcook the bean sprout otherwise it will become limp. Likewise don’t overcook the prawns and squid or they will be rubbery.
The egg must be a bit burnt to give the "Wok Hei" aroma.
Add the noodle first then the vermicelli as the noodle is oily and will not absorb much oil.
Mix the noodle and vermicelli when frying Hokkien Mee so that it won't be so starchy after frying. It also won't dry up easily.
Add more water if the noodles turn out too dry.
Fry the noodles gently - use a 'scoop and flip' action to stir the noodles.
Split the frying into batches to avoid overcrowding. Otherwise the noodles will steam, not fry.
10.Pork oil can be replaced with cooking oil, if you are health conscious.
Store up prawn heads and shells in the freezer for an extra flavourful stock