You might be wondering how it came to be that I made Asian style noodles at home, when within 5 minutes of our apartment there are 50 stalls all selling noodles.  Well, I don’t have a good answer for you, but I can pass on a recipe that rivals any street hawker’s fare in taste, is guaranteed to not give you Delhi belly, and, if you are not in the Pearl of the Orient, will give you a taste of what goes on around here.  The hawker stall noodles here come under all different names: Prawn Mee, Curry Mee, Hokkien Mee, Wan Tan Mee… (can you guess what word means “noodle”) but all share a common theme: seemingly dozens of ingredients and a depth of flavor you wouldn’t expect from noodle soup.

This recipe achieves that depth through layering: noodles, beansprouts, soup, meat, herbs, sauce, and finally lime.  And a lot of ingredients.  Use it as a jumping off point – it can be infinitely modified to your taste.  Change the type of noodles, up the spice, omit coconut milk, use different veg, and on.  This makes a lot of soup, so freeze some in individual portions to thaw and serve later when its cold out (or 90 with 100% humidity as it were).   Made as below, I achieved a level of spice (3/10) that even Miles could handle (he LOVED this), but feel free to add some birds-eye chili to your soy floater to really kick it up.




Penang Hawker Mee

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlilc, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced thickly into coins
  • 3/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, kept whole but scored 3/4 the way through in 1/2″ intervals
  • 4 cups corn, fresh off 2 cobs or frozen
  • 6 cups stock, chicken or veg
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • zest from 2 limes
  • one package rice noodles
  • bean sprouts
  • poached chicken pieces, cooked shrimp and/or fried tofu cubes
  • fresh Thai basil, cilantro and/or mint
  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • lime wedges
  1. In a big soup pot, saute onion, celery, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, salt, and red pepper flakes for 5-8 minutes, until onions are softened.
  2. Add lemongrass, corn, stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Use tongs to remove lemongrass and ginger and discard them.  Puree three quarters of the soup in a blender and return it to the pot over medium heat.
  4. Add red bell pepper and lime zest and cook 5 more minutes, until pepper has softened, but is still a bit crunchy.
  5. Boil a kettle of water.  Place rice noodles and beansprouts in a big bowl, cover with boiling water and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Drain.
  6. Build your soup in a big bowl: top your noodles and bean sprouts with soup, chicken/shrimp/tofu, a pile of fresh herbs, a few drops of soy and fish sauce, and a squeeze of lime.  Enjoy.