Stir-fried rice vermicelli noodles are smothered with spicy, salty, and sour gravy and topped with slices of eggs, shrimps, and fried bean curd.
I learned about mee siam when I lived in Singapore for a short 3 years. My sister and I would walk to a market on the weekends to do some grocery and then we would stop by the hawker center to have breakfast. Bak chor mee was one of my favorites. Mee siam was my frequent too. These memories really make me miss Singapore 🙂
WHAT IS MEE SIAM?
Mee siam is said to be originated from the Malay and Peranakan cultures with some Thai (Siamese) twist in the flavor profile. Mee siam is popular noodle dish in Malaysia and Singapore. We have stir-fried rice vermicelli noodles in Indonesia too, but it’s different with mee siam. It’s more of a Chinese style. From what I learned when I was in Singapore, there are dry mee siam and wet mee siam (mee siam kuah, which is this recipe I’m sharing). The dry version is basically a stir-fried rice vermicelli (bee hoon) with umami-loaded chili paste topped with shredded omelette, fried bean curd, sometimes seafood like shrimp, and chives. The wet version, as its name implies “wet”, has gravy added and topped with pretty much the same thing, but usually topped with hard-boiled egg slices instead of omelette.
SPECIAL INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE THIS MEE SIAM KUAH
Dry Rice Vermicelli Noodles (Bee Hoon)
Ground Bean Sauce (Tau Cheo)
HOW TO PREPARE THE SHRIMP SO IT DOESN’T CURL WHEN COOKED
This mee siam kuah recipe calls for large fresh/frozen shrimp in the recipe. The tips I’m going to share below is more for presentation for this recipe. It’s an important step if you are going to make Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls because it’s hard to wrap over curled up shrimp.
1. GET FRESH/FROZEN LARGE UNPEELED DEVEINED SHRIMP
It’s readily available this way here in the U.S. So, really, it saves lots of work and you don’t have to deveined the shrimp and trying to keep the shells intact at the same time. If you can’t find ones that are already deveined but unpeeled, you can do this: Use the knife to run through the back of the shrimp to remove the dark lines along the back. Keep the shells in tact, though (this is to prevent the shrimp from curling while being cooked)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the shrimp (unpeeled), bring back to a boil, and cook just until pink and firm to the touch, 1 to 3 minutes. Lift out immediately with tongs or chopsticks and transfer to a plate to cool. Remove the shells when they are cool to touch. Set aside
3. SPLIT IN HALF
HOW TO MAKE MEE SIAM KUAH WITHOUT GETTING OVERWHELMED
The list of ingredients is not short that’s for sure. They aren’t super complicated either I can tell you. Here are a few tips to get you organized so that you don’t feel like you are slaving in the kitchen. When you have these few things done, the actual cooking is really not difficult.
1. THE DAY BEFORE
Here are the things you can do the day before:
– Make the chili paste
– Cook the hard-boiled eggs
– Cut the chives
2. ON THE DAY OF SERVING
– Soak the noodles
– Soak the dried shrimp and dried chili
– Soak the tamarind in warm water
THE CHILI PASTE CAN BE USED TO MAKE BOTH DRY MEE SIAM AND MEE SIAM KUAH
Like I’ve mentioned before, the dry mee siam is basically without the gravy. My recipe uses both the same base of chili paste to stir fry the noodles and to make the gravy.
YOU CAN PREPARE THE CHILI PASTE IN BIGGER VOLUME AND FREEZE FOR FUTURE USE
You can double or triple the chili paste ingredients and then freeze them into recipe portion. They can be kept for 3 months in the refrigerator. Just thaw in the refrigerator the night before and you are ready to cook mee siam the next day.
Mee Siam Kuah (Rice Vermicelli Noodles in Gravy)
- 300 gr rice vermicelli (dry version) or use 500 gr fresh rice noodles
- 150 gr fried bean curd (tau pok)
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 80 gr Chinese chives cut into 1-inch piece
- 250 gr bean sprouts
Spice paste for the noodles:
- 30 dried chili
- 80 gr dried shrimp soak in warm water until soft
- 1 large onion
- 8 cloves garlic peeled
- 4 Tbsp tau cheo (ground bean paste)
- 4 Tbsp sugar or more to taste
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste not tomato sauce
- 60 gr tamarind paste
- Salt to taste
- 300 gr large shrimp unpeeled, deveined
- 4 hard-boiled eggs sliced
- Limes halved/quartered
Things you can prepare the day before:
- Make the hard-boiled eggs
- Make the chili paste: Soak the dried chili and dried shrimp in warm water for 20 minutes. Discard water. Place all the ingredients for spice paste in a blender and process into a smooth paste. Add a bit of water to help it goes if necessary. Set aside and store in the refrigerator until ready to be used
- Prepare the shrimp: Use the knife to run through the back of the shrimp to remove the dark lines along the back. Keep the shells intact, though (this is to prevent the shrimp from curling while being cooked). Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Drop in the shrimp (unpeeled), bring back to a boil, and cook just until pink and firm to the touch, 1 to 3 minutes. Lift out immediately with tongs or chopsticks and transfer to a plate to cool. Remove the shells when they are cool to touch. Set aside
On the day of cooking:
- Soak the bee hoon in water for 1 hour or until soft. Discard water
- Cut the fried bean curd into small cubes. Set aside
- Mix the ingredients for the gravy and set aside
Making the gravy and stir-fry the bee hoon:
- Bring 6 cups of chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the gravy mixture and stir to mix and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Have a taste and adjust to your taste. It should be savory, sour, and sweet
- Meanwhile, preheat a large wok or skillet to high heat. Add cooking oil. Add the spice paste and stir fry until fragrant, about 5 minutes
- Add pre-soaked rice vermicelli noodles to the wok. Stir fry to mix everything. Stir fry until the bee hoon is soft. Add garlic chives, tau pok, and bean sprouts and stir fry briefly until the sprouts are just soft but still crunchy
- Portion the stir-fried bee hoon to individual serving plate/bowl. Generously ladle the gravy over the noodles. Topped with 2-3 slices of eggs, shrimp, chives, and lime pieces. Serve immediately
You may want to check out the DRY FRIED MEE SIAM too.
Hi Marv, I made this today and it was so good! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I tried a few of your other recipes and they were all amazing.
Hi Jan, yay!! I’m happy to know that 🙂 Thank you for your feedbacks 🙂
Hi Marv, I have a Malaysian Belacan block. Is that similar? How do I adapt it here?
Hi Jan, you can roast the belacan block on a dry pan until it’s fragrant and then break it up into smaller pieces before adding to the recipe. I hope this helps:)
Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m going to try it this weekend! I was just wondering if instead of the chicken broth, can I instead use the water that is used to boil the prawns?
Hi Hana, you certainly can. I hope you like it 🙂
Hi Marvellina, what is the dried shrimp that is used to make the mee siam kuah – is it hae bi or 虾米皮? Thanks
Hi Gwen, the dried shrimp I used is hae bi. Hope it helps!
I’m drooling. I LOOOOOOOVE mee siam but haven’t had it in years. I’m so excited I ran across this recipe. I can’t wait to try it out!