When my siblings and I were little, my Mom loves cooking fried bihun for us for lunch. Now I know why – it’s an easy way to feed four children in under half an hour. Nowadays, when I’m commissioned to bring something heavy (carbs) for a potluck party, this is the first thing that comes to mind.
But this particular bihun recipe is not my mother’s. It’s from Mrs.Tan who hails from Penang (an island in Malaysia famed for its delicious food and UNESCO heritage sites). She makes the yummiest yam cake (Wu Tao Gou/ 芋頭糕) and bihun my family ever tasted. On occasions, she would cook them and send it to my family. Recently we asked for the recipes and she gladly obliged (Thank you Mrs. Tan!).
The secret to her tom yum fried noodles is a mix of spices like bunga kantan and kaffir lime leaves; it gives a burst of flavour to an otherwise ordinary fried noodles. Another secret is adding finely chopped vegetables at the end of the cooking which lends a crunchy texture. Oh so delicious!
- Wok + spatula
- Manual chopper (optional) – to chop shallots
- Knife + chopping board
- Scissors (to cut bihun)
- Bowl (for sauce)
- Large mixing bowl (to soak bihun)
Tomyum Fried Bihun With Spices
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 4 tbsp Dried shrimps (udang kering)
- 4 tbsp Sugar
- 4 tbsp Tomyum paste
- 2 tbsp Chili paste (cili boh)
- 4 tbsp Light soy sauce
- BIHUN & VEGETABLES:
- 400 g Bihun, soak, drain & cut into shorter strands
- 1/2 Cabbage, slice finely
- 1 Carrot, slice finely
- 200 g Shallots (bawang kecil), sliced
- 4 pcs Bird's eye chilli (cili padi), deseeded and sliced
- 10 pcs kaffir lime leaves (daun purut), julienned
- 1 stalk Torch Ginger Flower (bunga kantan), julienned
- Step 1 PREP: Soak and drain bihun (15 min). With a pair of scissors, cut bihun into shorter strands. Mix sauce in a bowl. Chop carrots and cabbage finely. Slice shallots and cili padi, or blend them in a chopper. Julienne (finely slice) kaffir lime leaves and bunga kantan.
- Step 2 COOK: Fry dried shrimps in 2 tbsp of oil until fragrant (3 min). Add in sauce and stir to mix well. Add noodles. Mix well. Then toss in carrots and cabbage. Mix well. Then add spices and fry for a while.
- Step 3 SERVE: Dish out into a large plate. Garnish with ginger flower and kaffir lime leaves.
Fry 4 tbsp dried shrimps in 2 tbsp oil. Add mixed sauce (4 tbsp sugar, + 4 tbsp tomyum paste, + 2 tbsp chili paste + 4 tbsp light soy sauce). Fry 400g bihun + 1 sliced carrot + 1/2 sliced cabbage + chopped spices (100 g shallots + 4 cili padi + 10 kaffir leaves + 1 bunga kantan).
- Chop shallots with a manual chopper/blender If presentation is not that important, chop shallots with a manual chopper instead of slicing it with a knife. This is way faster and, if you’re tear easily when exposed to shallots, save you a lot of pain. However, if you’re making it for a party, it’s a lot prettier to slice shallots finely.
- Add prawns and sotong (cuttlefish) If you want to make it a complete meal with protein, add prawns and sotong to fry along with the dried shrimps
- Increase spiciness with more cili padi If you like your noodles spicer, add more cili padi. But I normally like to make my food a little less spicy. That is especially if I bring it to parties when I’m not sure other people tolerance to heat.
- Reduce sauce The sodium content comes from tomyum paste, and each brand level of sodium is different. It’s best to not pour all the sauce right away especially if you do not like your food to be salty.