Hokkien mee is one of Singapore’s favourite hawker dishes – it’s a fried noodle dish braised in sweet prawn stock and garnished with ingredients like prawns, pork belly and squid. A rich, flavourful stock is the key ingredient for a plate of good hokkien mee, as the broth imparts the most flavour to the noodles and the overall dish. Additionally, in my opinion, pork lard is vital in hokkien mee as it adds an unbeatable aroma to the dish. Substitute pork lard with normal cooking oil and you’ll probably be left sorely disappointed. Some like their hokkien mee wet, while some may like theirs dry. I personally like mine wet, or at the very least, moist. You can add more or less stock depending on how you prefer your hokkien mee to be.
For a rich, intense prawn stock, you’ll need the following key ingredients: prawn heads & shells, pork bones, garlic, white peppercorns and rock sugar. For an even better stock, add shallots, dried shrimps and anchovies. I wanted to keep my recipe simple because seeing a long list of ingredients sometimes deters me from attempting the dish.
Add as many prawn heads & shells as you can for best flavour. Whenever I make prawn dishes, I keep the prawn heads & shells stashed away in my freezer after shelling the prawns. These prawn heads & shells will prove useful in making prawn stock for dishes like tom yum goong and prawn noodles (hae mee).
Pork bones will add better flavour, but you can also use chicken bones if you prefer.
Fry the garlic and prawn heads & shells in a pot. Use the back of a spoon and crush the prawn heads to release its juices and enhance the flavour of the stock.
Add water, pork bones (blanched in boiling water to remove impurities), white peppercorns and rock sugar, and bring to a boil. Thereafter, cover the pot and simmer over medium heat for at least 30 minutes. If you have time to spare, you can simmer the stock for 1-2 hours to intensify its flavour.
Strain the stock and discard the prawn heads & shells, pork bones, and white peppercorns.
These are the ingredients required for your hokkien mee:
I like a 50:50 ratio of yellow noodles to white beehoon, but you can use any ratio you prefer. One important thing is not to wash your noodles or keep them in the chiller. Washing the noodles will remove the oil that helps to separate the noodles, and will make it harder to fry the noodles. Chilled noodles will break into pieces easily even before frying.
Soak your prawns in ice water to keep them juicy even after cooking.
If you have chives, use chives. If you don’t have chives, you can make do with spring onions.
As I mentioned above, pork lard is an indispensable ingredient in hokkien mee. It will impart unrivalled flavour and fragrance to your noodles!
Boil the pork belly.
Cut into thin slices and set aside.
Poach the prawns in the prawn stock, then remove and set aside.
Poach the squid in the prawn stock, then cut into thin rings and set aside.
In a hot wok, add pork lard & eggs and scramble. Add yellow noodles & white beehoon and fry for a few minutes, pressing the noodles against the wok regularly. This will impart more ‘wok hei’ as well as get rid of the ‘kee’ (alkaline) smell of the yellow noodles. Add a few spoonfuls of stock to help soften the noodles.
Push the noodles aside and add more pork lard. Then add garlic and fry till fragrant.
Add bean sprouts and a generous amount of stock, then cover and simmer over lower heat until noodles are relatively soft. You can add more or less stock depending on how wet or dry you like your hokkien mee to be.
Add cooked prawns, pork belly & squid to the wok and stir fry.
Finally, add chives & soy sauce and mix evenly.
Serve with lime and sambal chilli.
DIY: $4.85 (per serving, with a lot of ingredients)
Dine Out: $3-6 (per serving, with less ingredients)
You don’t actually save a lot by making your own hokkien mee as compared to dining out, especially if you include a generous amount of prawns, pork belly and squid. I definitely wouldn’t recommend making hokkien mee at home if you’re cooking for only 1-2 persons, but if you’re making for a group of 4 or more, then it’s worth the effort. You can also greatly reduce cooking time by using chicken broth or pork broth instead, but the flavour may not be the same.
Hokkien Mee (Fried Prawn Noodles)
- prawn heads and shells as many as possible
- 500 g pork bones $6
- 3 cloves garlic sliced ($0.084)
- 2 tsp white peppercorns $0.182
- 20 g rock sugar $0.05
- 1 l water
- 250 g yellow noodles $0.375
- 250 g white beehoon $0.375
- 400 g prawns shelled & deveined ($4.15)
- 150 g pork belly $2.45
- 1 squid $4.00
- 4 large eggs $0.80
- 2 tbsp garlic minced ($0.168)
- 80 g beansprouts $0.12
- 30 g chives $0.20
- 3 tbsp soy sauce $0.252
- pork lard
- 2 limes $0.08
- 2 tbsp sambal chilli $0.10
- Blanch pork bones in boiling water to remove impurities.
- In a separate pot, add oil and fry garlic till fragrant. Add prawn heads & shells and fry for 2-3 minutes. You can also crush the prawn heads with a spoon to release the juices and enhance the flavour of the stock.
- Add water, pork bones, white peppercorns and rock sugar and bring to a boil. Thereafter, cover the pot and simmer over medium heat for at least 30 minutes. If you want more concentrated flavour, simmer for 1-2 hours. Strain stock to remove prawn heads, prawn shells & pork bones.
- Note: You can also add shallots, dried shrimp & anchovies for more flavour.
- Boil pork belly in the same pot used for blanching pork bones. Once cooked, cut pork belly into thin slices and set aside.
- Poach prawns in pot with prawn stock. Remove and set aside.
- Poach squid in pot with prawn stock. Once cooked, cut squid into thin rings and set aside.
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add some pork lard. Add eggs and scramble. Push eggs aside.
- Add yellow noodles and white beehoon to wok. Fry noodles, pressing noodles against wok with back of spatula, to remove 'kee' (alkaline) smell. Add a few spoonfuls of stock to soften noodles.
- Note: Don't wash the noodles or put them in the chiller.
- Push noodles aside, then add more pork lard and some garlic. Fry garlic till fragrant. Add beansprouts and a generous amount of stock, and mix evenly. Cover the wok and simmer over lower heat to cook the noodles.
- Remove cover, then add cooked prawns, pork belly & squid and stir fry. Finally, add chives & soy sauce and mix evenly. Serve with lime and sambal chilli.