Ban mee

Ban mee

Hand-pulled flat noodles

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From
Have You Eaten
Serves
4
Photographer
Billy Law

My ancestors are from Fujian province in China, and this humble hokkien noodle dish is very close to my heart. I call it the ‘pasta of the East’ as the ingredients to make the egg noodles are similar to those of pasta. You can definitely use a pasta machine to cut the noodles evenly, but I prefer to use my fingers and pull the noodle into bite-sized pieces, in keeping with its rustic origins.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g pork loin medallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornflour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
30g ikan bilis
1 bunch sweet potato leaves, washed, (see note)
handful garlic chives, cut into 5 cm lengths
4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 1 hour, stalks discarded, thinly sliced
3 bird’s eye chillies, fi‚nely chopped

Noodles

Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Anchovy soup base

Quantity Ingredient
2 litres water
30g ikan bilis
185g dried soya beans
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

Method

  1. To make the noodles, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, then make a well in the centre. Crack the egg into the well, then add the water and sesame oil. Using a fork, slowly stir the mixture until everything comes together to form a dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the anchovy soup base, pour the water into a large pot, then add the dried anchovies and soya beans and bring to the boil over medium–high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Season with sesame oil and soy sauce to taste, and strain the stock into another clean pot, discarding the solids. Keep the soup warm over very low heat while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Combine the pork, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 20 minutes.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium–high heat and fry the dried anchovies until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside to cool.
  5. Bring the soup base back to a rolling boil over high heat. Divide the dough into 4 portions, then lightly dust each with flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands. Using your fingers, slowly pinch one end of the dough until it is about 2 mm thick, then pull off a bite-sized piece and drop it into the soup. Repeat the process until all the dough is used, pinching off one dough piece at a time and dropping it into the soup. Cook the noodles for about 1 minute, or until they float to the surface. Ladle them out with a small wire sieve and transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough.
  6. Place a few pork strips in a small wire sieve and drop them into the hot soup. Cook for 1 minute, then add a small handful each of sweet potato leaves and garlic chives and scald them for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer the cooked ingredients to the bowl. Repeat with the remaining pork, sweet potato leaves and garlic chives to make another 3 portions. Ladle some hot soup over the noodles, then garnish with some mushrooms and the fried anchovies.
  7. Combine the chopped chillies and extra soy sauce in a small dipping bowl and serve on the side with the noodles.

Note

  • Traditionally ban mee is served with sweet potato leaves, which are available from Asian grocers. They can be substituted with any leafy green, such as choy sum, water spinach, English spinach or en choy.
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