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Making mee siam can be tedious, but the effort put in will definitely be worth it when you see the whole family enjoy the meal together. This recipe utilises a flavourful gravy that your family will enjoy. Serves eight.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 litres water
  • 500 g large sea prawns, unshelled
  • 80 g tamarind pulp & 150 ml water
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 2 flat tsps of salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 300 g beehoon, soaked to soften
  • 1 piece (200 g) tau kwa (firm beancurd), cut into 1.5 cm cubes
  • 150 ml oil for deep-frying tau kwa
  • 15 g koo chye (garlic chives), cut to 1 cm lengths
  • 80 g beansprouts, blanched
  • 4 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 limes, halved

For Sambal Tumis (fried chilli paste)

  • 80 g dried prawns, soaked to soften
  • 3 candlenuts
  • 100 g dried chilli, boiled to soften
  • 100 g shallots
  • 1 tbsp belacan powder
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil or water
  • 100 g tamarind pulp & 150 ml water
  • 100 ml coconut oil
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 flat tbsp salt
  • 2 flat tbsps brown sugar
  • 2 flat tbsps white sugar

For Spice Paste

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, 5 cm of white root part
  • 20 g dried shrimps, soaked to soften
  • 30 g galangal
  • 30 g ginger
  • 15 g turmeric root
  • 50 g dried chilli, boiled to soften
  • 100 g shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp belacan powder
  • 50 ml coconut oil
  • 3 tbsps tau cheo (fermented bean paste)

Preparing prawn stock

01.

In a large pot, bring the 2.5 litres of water to a boil.

02.

Cook sea prawns for 2 to 3 mins until they turn orange.

03.

Shell the prawns, leaving the tails intact. Devein and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

04.

Reserve prawn heads and shells. Place these back into the same pot of water and boil for 30 minutes on medium heat. Cover pot and leave shells to steep.

Preparing sambal tumis

01.

Grind dried prawns, candlenuts, dried chilli and shallots. Add belacan powder.

02.

Add 2 tbsps of coconut oil or water to help grinder blades rotate.

03.

Soak 100 g tamarind pulp in 150 ml of water for 2 mins. Strain and reserve juice.

04.

Heat 100 ml of coconut oil in wok or frying pan.

05.

Once tiny bubbles are visible, turn off heat and add ground chilli paste.

06.

Stir and turn on heat. Over low heat, fry chilli paste for 10 mins, stirring constantly.

07.

Add cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise. Stir-fry for another 5 mins.

08.

Add tamarind juice. Stir, then add salt and sugar.

09.

Stir-fry mixture for another 5 mins. Transfer chilli paste to a bowl or deep dish and allow to cool.

Preparing spice paste

01.

Grind lemongrass, dried shrimps, galangal, ginger, turmeric root, dried chilli, shallots and garlic. Add belacan powder.

02.

Heat 50 ml of coconut oil until there are tiny bubbles. Turn off heat and add spice paste.

03.

Stir through and turn on heat.

04.

On low heat, fry mixture for 5 mins then add fermented bean paste. Fry for another 10 to 15 mins until fragrant and the oil rises to the surface.

05.

Turn off heat and transfer paste into a bowl. Set aside.

Preparing gravy

01.

Soak 80 g tamarind pulp in 150 ml of water. Strain and reserve juice.

02.

Strain prawn stock and bring to a boil.

03.

Stir in ¾ of the spice paste, then add 2 to 3 tbsps of chilli paste.

04.

Bring to a boil and add tamarind juice. Simmer for 5 mins.

05.

Add sugar and salt for taste. Turn off heat and leave it covered.

Preparing beehoon and toppings

01.

In a clean wok, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil.

02.

Add the rest of the spice paste and 3 tbsps of chilli paste.

03.

Mix well and add beehoon.

04.

Fry until beehoon is evenly coated with the spice mixture, then remove from heat.

05.

Deep-fry tau kwa cubes in 150 ml of oil until golden, then drain.

06.

When ready to serve, bring gravy to a simmering boil.

07.

Take a portion of the beehoon and place in a soup plate. Add a portion of the sliced garlic chives, beansprouts and two prawns.

08.

Ladle on enough gravy to cover the beehoon and prawns.

09.

Arrange two or three slices of hardboiled eggs, some of the fried tau kwa cubes and half a lime on top. Serve immediately.

ABOUT THE CHEF: Hedy Khoo is the columnist for The New Paper’s HED CHEF which features Asian cuisine and recipes. You can follow Hedy on her Instagram account @hedchefhedykhoo for more of her culinary adventures.

Recipe: Hedy Khoo / Photo: The New Paper

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