My mum makes the most delicious mee rebus and my sister managed to get hold of the recipe. So I decided to try making this on Z's birthday as we invited the relatives over for lunch. I don't think I've ever cooked so much before in my life! It was enough for at least 20 servings, and by the time I finished the food preparations the day before (chopping, peeling, mashing, frying the paste), I could feel a dull ache creeping up my back. I could really do with a good long back massage.
On the morning of the lunch party, I just had to boil the beef and combine the ingredients to make the gravy. Sounded easy. However, as it was my first time making it, plus I haven't had mee rebus in a long long time, I couldn't quite remember how it should taste exactly, and when I tasted the gravy, it was rather insipid and had a strange aftertaste. That was when I started panicking and wondered if I should order pizza instead and ditch the mee rebus.
Thank goodness my sister came to the rescue (although she was an hour later than expected)! She had made this dish not too long ago, so she would be able to tell me (objectively) what was wrong with it. Basically I think I needed to add more spice, chillies and shallots, which I quickly fried up and added to the massive pot of gravy. After letting it boil down for another half hour or so, it all started to come together with the right taste and consistency. Phew! After I sat down to have a bowl of it (with all the garnishings, condiments etc), I was happy that it turned out even better than I expected (okay, I didn't want to have high hopes for a first attempt).
My sister gasped when I told her that it was also my first time trying out the cucur udang recipe. I know, I shouldn't be trying out new stuff when cooking for guests, but I find that first attempts usually work out for me (or perhaps it's because I don't have a benchmark). It's when I try to replicate a previous successful attempt that it sometimes doesn't turn out as well as I hoped. Anyway, the fritters turned out fantastic, and I think it must have been pretty popular with everyone as there weren't many left when it was my turn to eat. Click here for the recipe. It goes really well when soaked in the mee rebus gravy.
After everyone had finished eating, there was still a tonne of gravy left in the pot, and so I packed some in takeaway boxes for the guests to bring home. It will be a while before I make this dish again as we've been eating it three times in a row, and I still have a container of it in the freezer. But now that I've attempted making it, mee rebus is no longer a mystery to me!
Alright now, let's see.....where did I put that recipe..... scroll down and have a look!
Prepare beef stock:
500-600g beef (kept whole)
6-7 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
Boil the beef for 2 hours until tender. Remove beef from stock and slice thinly into bite-size pieces.
Prepare mashed potatoes:
1/2 kg sweet potatoes, steamed/boiled and mashed.
1 cup shallots, ground
4-5 tbsp chilli paste (dried chillies soaked and finely blended)
2-3 tbsp ground coriander
2 inches galangal, finely chopped
6 candlenuts, finely ground
1 1/2 tbsp salted soy bean paste (Yeo's brand)
1 tbsp corn flour + 1 tbsp rice flour mixed with 1/4 cup water
1.5 kg yellow hokkien noodles, blanched
200g bean sprouts, blanched
Deep fried tofu, cut into cubes
Boiled potatoes, sliced
Hard boiled eggs, sliced
Crispy fried shallots
Coriander and scallions, chopped
1. Fry the blended ingredients in vegetable oil until fragrant. Add beef stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Add mashed sweet potato gradually until it's thickened into a gravy. Do this by mixing a little mashed sweet potato with some stock in a ladle to loosen up the potato before stirring it into the rest of the stock in the pot. Make sure it's fine and smooth. You don't want chunks of sweet potato in the gravy. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in the thickening solution and bring to a boil again.
3. Add the sliced beef.
4. In individual serving bowls, assemble noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, potatoes and boiled egg. Ladle some of the gravy and beef into each bowl. Garnish with fried shallots, coriander and scallions. Squeeze some lime/lemon juice over before serving. Serve with cucur udang if desired (highly recommended).