Pan Mee: Simple Hakka fare that still packs a punch

Pan Mee is a non-halal dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner or in between meals when the craving hits.

NON-HALAL: Pan Mee is a popular Hakka noodle dish in Malaysia, especially in the central and southern parts of the country where most Hakka people reside.

Also known as flat noodle soup, Hakka Pan Mee is made with a simple flour-based dough, dunked into a tasty anchovy broth, and topped with crispy fried anchovies, ground pork, shiitake mushrooms, and some vegetables.

Pan Mee is also known as Mee Hoon Kuih, which is commonly prepared at home.

There is nothing flashy or fancy about this dish, though it is very tasty, and a hawker centre without a Pan Mee stall seems somehow incomplete.

But at a time when people are eating out less because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is nice to have a recipe so you can prepare this bowl of comfort at home.

Ingredients

Garnish

  • 1 cup dried anchovies, heads removed
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 bunch sayur manis

Soup

  • 1 cup dried anchovies, heads removed
  • 450 g pork bones
  • 2.3 litres water
  • 3 stalks spring onions, white part only
  • Salt to taste

Dough for noodles

  • 130 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons water + 2 tablespoons water
  • Extra flour for dusting

Minced pork and mushroom topping

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 120 g minced pork
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water and stems removed, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon black soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 dashes white pepper
  • 120 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon water

Method

  • Wash the two cups of anchovies thoroughly with water. Rinse about five times or until the water turns clear. Drain and set aside.
  • Wash the pork bones thoroughly and scald them with hot boiling water. Leave the bones in the water for a few minutes and then discard the cloudy water.
  • Rinse again with cold running water to remove all impurities from the bones. This step ensures that the soup will be clear once it is cooked.
  • Bring the 2.3 litres of water to a boil and add one cup anchovies, pork bones and spring onions, turn the heat to medium low and simmer the soup for over one hour, or until it is flavourful. Add more water if it evaporates. Season with salt to taste.
  • Prepare the dough by combining all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl, stirring and mixing with a spoon first.
  • Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. Add a little water or flour to get to the desired consistency.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for one hour.
  • Prepare the ground pork and mushroom topping by firing up a wok.
  • Heat the oil and stir-fry the garlic until it is aromatic. Add the ground pork and continue to stir-fry, using a spatula to break up any lumps.
  • Add the mushrooms and stir to combine well.
  • Season with all the seasonings and add the water.
  • Turn the heat to low and braise for about five minutes or so.
  • Add the cornstarch and water mixture to thicken the sauce. Dish out and set aside.
  • Prepare the remaining anchovies by frying until they are golden brown and crisp. Set aside.
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil while preparing the dough. Use a pasta machine to create fettuccine shapes.
  • Or divide the dough into a few portions and flatten it with a rolling pin on a flat surface dusted with some flour.
Hand rolled dough can be torn into irregular shapes.
  • At this point, the dough can be cut into thicker noodles with a knife or just tear the dough into pieces. The shapes will be irregular but this is perfectly fine. (If the dough is hand torn, this dish is called mee hoon kuih (torn noodles).)
  • Cook the noodles in the boiling water until they float to the surface. Dish out into a colander.
  • To assemble a bowl of Pan Mee, bring some soup to boil in another saucepan and add some sayur manis. Add a dash or two of white pepper.
  • Place a portion of noodles into a bowl, then pour in the soup with the vegetable.
  • Garnish with the minced pork topping and fried ikan bilis. Serve immediately with cut red chillies and soy sauce.

Tips

  • Sayur manis can be substituted with spinach, choy sum, or sweet potato leaves.
  • Many Pan Mee hawkers sell a combination of torn noodles, thick noodles, thin noodles and some even with three-colour noodles made with vegetable juices.

The original recipe appeared here.

This recipe first appeared in Rasa Malaysia Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.