Hokkien har mee soup is my favourite noodle soup. Had not had it for ages. It’s very popular in Penang, Malaysia. Har is prawns in Hakka, a Chinese dialect. To make the soup I need to use lots of prawn heads and pork bone or ribs. I love sucking prawn heads and slurping noodles and drinking the soup from the bowl.
I dare say that this noodle made by my grandma is exceptionally delicious with robust flavours of prawn heads and pork bone or ribs and many ingredients for the stock and garnish. Each one of us who cook this has their own ways of stock cooking and the garnish. We love it with prawn heads intact served, spicier with sambal and lots of kang kung.
Mostly hawkers and street vendors garnish ingredients are yellow egg noodles, hard boiled eggs, kang kung (water spinach), bean sprouts, pork meat, prawns, sambal (sambal chili with prawns), and fried shallots. Some had fish cakes, and their stock are not red like mine. I didn’t have pork bones or ribs like my grandma would have in hers as well as my mom.
Today, I am making a cheat way using bought packet of Hokkien har mee soup brand is Prima Taste. Being adventurous, I have added prawns heads that I have collected from previously bought and bought more prawns, dried chilies, shallots, garlic and my readymade drumsticks stock for extra robust flavouring my soup.
My garnish are hardboiled egg, prawns whole with head, kang kung, bean sprouts, sambal, fish and pork balls, tofu pok (hard firm tofu) and fried shallots. I am glad that I have added more stock ingredients to go with the packet. My dinner is scrumptious, robust flavoured, spicy enough for me, my stomach could sing me a love song. Let’s cook!!!
2 packets Hokkien har mee soup, 225 g each
4 packets tofu pok
3 packets fish balls
3 packets pork balls
3 packets yellow noodles
2 kg whole prawns, wash, trim a bit of the shells and hairs
12 hard-boiled eggs, cut using egg cutter
4 bunches kang kung
350 g beans sprouts, trimmed
Extra flavour for stock
400 g prawn heads, collected previously
2 dried chilies, soak in hot water about 30 minutes until softened, drained (OPT) See Notes
3 whole shallots, remove the skins (OPT) See Notes
2 cloves garlic, remove the skins (OPT) See Notes
1 piece rock sugar
2 L water
1 L drumstick stock, readymade or bought chicken stock
2-4 Tbs sambal chili with prawns, bought
2 Tsp salt
Put soaked, softened and drained dried chilies, about 1 Tbs water, shallots and garlic in food processor, blend till smooth paste and set aside. Clean prawn heads and drain well. Heat 2 Tbs oil in saucepan on medium heat. Add prawn heads crush with potato masher, cook, stirring, for 7 minutes or until shells turn pink. Add chilli paste and stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
In a big pot, stir Hokkien har mee premix into 2 L of water. Add Hokkien har mee paste and mix well. Do not cover pot, bring to the boil on high heat. Add prawn heads and paste from saucepan and rock sugar into pot and simmer on low heat and cook for 2 1/2 hours, skimming surface (impurities) occasionally until stock becomes cloudy and tastes really prawny. Spoon up and remove orange “foam” floating at the top of the stock.
Add 2 Tbs sambal chili with prawns, I like it spicier, I have added 4 Tbs sambal chili with prawns. Add in drumstick stock and continue to boil on low heat for another 1-1/2 hours, and season with salt to taste. Now add in fish and pork balls, tofu pok until they puff up in size for about 30 minutes. In the last 8-10 minutes of cook the fish and pork balls and tofu pok, add in whole prawns, and a little oil to cook prawns until orangy colour.
Meantime put kettle on, once boiled, add kang kung and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted. Remove with tong and drain, reserving cooking water, add yellow egg noodles, using chopsticks to separate, and blanch for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Strain noodles and divide among 12 bowls. Top with kangkong, bean sprouts, 1 cut up egg each, 3 whole prawns each and ladle 1-2 ladles of soup. For my bowls I have added 4 prawn heads. Spoon some dried shallots in the middle. The picture above has no prawn heads. Enjoy with a glass of white wine.
Notes: My grandma and all the hawkers in Penang also blended the prawn heads and shells after they are briefly boiled to extract all the flavours from the shells. I didn’t do it for I have enough prawn heads to boost the soup flavour. For the paste you can use bought paste: sambal chili with prawns. Save you time.
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