Singapore Prawn and Pork Ribs Noodle (Hae Mee) – Noodles are served with umami-rich broth made of prawn shells and pork ribs. Recipes for both Instant Pot and cooking on stove-top are included.
Every once a week or sometimes every two weeks I would “pamper” myself by having a bowl of prawn and pork ribs noodle soup for lunch near this place I used to work at in Singapore. I said pampered because I normally spend about $2.50 to $3.00 for lunch. This was back in 2008. A bowl of prawn noodles is $4.00 and if you add ribs it’s $5.00. So, to me $5.00 is a little bit of a splurge for lunch if you know what I mean.
What I like about prawn noodle soup is the soup itself. It’s kind of “briney” with a little hint of sweetness. It’s hard for me to describe, but I like it. As with many other noodle soup recipe, the work is mainly in the soup itself.
If you are making this on stove-top, you need to have some time to prepare the soup and to make sure the ribs are cooked through and really tender. The soup is mainly made from the shells, heads, and tails of the very prawns you are going to eat. Sound gross you may say, but I encourage you to give this a try. The spices like star anise and peppercorns also give a very nice kick to the soup.
I made the soup and cooked the ribs in instant pot, which was really convenient.
I then strained the soup and discard all the solids (except for the ribs) and then served it with noodles and blanched water spinach (kangkung)
I was craving for it so badly and decided to make this again. No one ever seems to complain if I make this. It’s our favorite! The rich reddish color of the soup comes from the juice inside the head of the prawns!
A pure comfort in this cold weather. Well, I always have room for this even in the hottest of Summer 😉 Back at home, we don’t really eat based on the season because it’s either rain or shine. Noodle soup is comfort food for many despite the weather!
Now…allow me to indulge for a moment
Singapore Prawn and Pork Ribs Noodle (Hae Mee)
- 1 lb Chinese yellow noodles or rice noodles/vermicelli or flat rice noodles/kwe tiau or Spaghetti if you want
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- 8 cups water
- 2 lbs prawn heads and shells combined from large prawns
- 3 lbs pork ribs cut into 2-inch pieces or leave them in big pieces
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp white peppercorns
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 1 small bunch of water spinach/kangkung pick the leaves and tender stems
- 1 large piece fried fish cake sliced (optional)
- 4-5 red chili (chopped)
- Soy sauce for the chili
- If using water spinach/kangkung and bean sprouts, bring a medium pan of water to a boil, cook the bean sprouts briefly about 30 seconds in boiling water. Then blanch water spinach briefly for about 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, drain and run them under cold water. Set aside
- Prepare the noodles by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, depending on which type of noodles you use, follow the instruction on cooking the noodles. Set aside
Blanch the prawns:
- Clean and devein all the prawns you have. Save about 2 lbs of the shells and heads for making stocks and about 18-20 piece of the large prawns to serve with noodles
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and then blanch the prawns you will be serving with the noodles briefly until they turn pink and cooked through. Remove and set aside
Blanch the pork ribs:
- Bring a large pot of water (enough to cover the pork ribs) to boil. Put in the pork ribs and blanch it until the pork started to turn color, about 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Drain the water and set aside. Clean the pot up of any scums. This step is to get rid of the "meaty" smell from the ribs
Prepare the prawn stock:
- Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp of oil and saute the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add prawn heads, shell, and tails and saute until they are fragrant and the color changes to orange. Add the water and bring to a boil and then let it gently simmer for 10 minutes
- Strain the stock and discard the shells
Making the soup base with Instant Pot:
- Pour the prawn stock into the inner pot of instant pot. Add pork ribs, star anise, white peppercorns, and seasonings. Close the lid. Press Pressure Cook, High Pressure and set the timer for 15 minutes. If you leave the ribs whole, pressure cook for 30 minutes. When the timer is done, wait 10 minutes and then turn steam release handle to venting. Wait until the pressure valve goes all the way down and then open the lid
- Proceed to adjust the taste to your liking step below
Making the soup base on stove-top:
- Pour the prawn stock into another clean pot. Add pork ribs, star anise, white peppercorns, and seasonings. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hour or longer until the ribs are tender but not falling apart
Adjust taste to your liking:
- Once the soup base is done cooking, have a taste of the soup and add more salt and/or sugar if needed. The soup base should be savory but with just a hint of sweetness
- Portion individual cooked noodles, water spinach, prawns, ribs, and fish cake slices (if using) into serving bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and everything else
- Serve with chopped red chili doused in soy sauce if you prefer