Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lor Mee (Braised Noodles)

I cooked "Lor Mee" (Singapore-style) this weekend and updated my earlier post with new photos.

Lor mee simply refers to braised noodles, which typically uses thick yellow noodles served in a bowl with a thick flavoursome gravy (thickened with starch solution and/or egg). They are usually topped with sliced pork, deep-fried yam or other fritters, hard-boiled egg, fish cake or fresh seafood, and then served with a generous drizzle of black vinegar, chilli and minced garlic.

I still have not had Lor Mee in Sydney, though I'm sure it would be available in one of the many Malaysian/Singaporean eateries that have been popping up in many places recently. I remember many years ago, there were only a couple of such eateries in the city, but now, there are just too many to keep track of. Of course, everyone claims to serve Malaysian/Singaporean cuisine, but whether they are authentic or not is something else.


I happened to find  a packet of noodles in my fridge that was screaming out to be used before it's due date. Fortunately, I had some pork belly and prawn shells in the freezer, which meant that it was the perfect opportunity to make Lor Mee. I didn't have any beansprouts, but they are entirely optional.

This is a simple and tasty version of Lor Mee that is pretty easy to cook. Basically, you just need to prepare the stock (which I made from the pork and prawn shells, and chicken stock), then add in the noodles, thicken up the gravy with starch and egg, and it's ready to serve up! Don't forget to add the minced garlic and black vinegar before serving. It just isn't Lor Mee without them!

Lor Mee Recipe


500g thick yellow/hokkien noodles
2 cups bean sprouts

2 cups prawn shells/heads
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
400g pork belly
1/2 tbsp Cheong Chan thick caramel
1 tbsp sugar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
7 cups water or pork/chicken stock
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
3-4 tbsp Cheong Chan thick caramel (depending on how dark you like the gravy to be)
3-4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
4 hard-boiled eggs

5-6 tbsp tapioca starch + 1/2 cup water (use more starch if you like it thicker)
1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tbsp water

Garnish and condiments:
1 cup sliced fish cakes
Chinkiang Black Vinegar
White pepper
Chopped coriander leaves
Sliced red chillies
Sambal (garlic chilli paste) - you can try Glory Nyonya Sambal Chilli
Minced garlic (6-8 cloves, finely chopped in a blender with a little salt, sugar, hot water and white vinegar)


Prepare the pork belly by boiling it in salted water for 5 minutes to remove impurities which will surface as scum. Discard the water and rinse the pork, then dry with a paper towel. Rub 1/2 tbsp Cheong Chan thick caramel over the meat. Heat up 1 tbsp oil with 1 tbsp sugar in a medium-large pot. When the sugar caramelizes to a brown colour, remove the pot from the heat. Carefully place the pork belly into the pot and quickly cover with the lid to prevent the oil from splattering. Then place it back on the heat and add the garlic cloves. Sear the meat on all sides until browned. Add 4 cups water, five-spice, thick caramel and light soy sauce and simmer for 1-2 hours until tender. Add hard-boiled eggs during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

While the pork is simmering, heat up 1 tbsp oil in a wok and fry the prawn shells until they turn red. Add the onion and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain the stock.

Once the pork is tender, remove the pork and cut into thin slices, and put aside. Remove the hard-boiled eggs and cut in half. Then, add the prawn stock to the pork stock, together with the chicken stock powder, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then gradually stir in the tapioca starch solution and mix well until it comes to a simmer. Stir in the beaten egg mixture and mix through quickly. Turn off the heat.

When ready to serve, cook the noodles and bean sprouts (separately) in boiling water until cooked to your liking. Drain and divide into 4 serving bowls. Ladle the gravy over the noodles. Top with sliced pork, fish cake, hard-boiled egg and some minced garlic. Don't forget to add a splash of black vinegar and some white pepper, and garnish with sliced red chillies and coriander leaves. Serve hot with sambal chilli!

Note: For something a little extra, serve it with battered fish cocktails. I got them from the local fish & chip shop, and they went together perfectly!

Noodles in thickened gravy, topped with sliced fish cake, pork belly, hard-boiled egg,
sliced red chillies and minced garlic, drizzled with black vinegar