Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cleaver Cut Flat Noodles Soup - dao ma chet 刀嬷切

Savouring this Hakka dish is a nostalgic trip down memory lane. You can literally taste and smell the aroma from food stalls in the markets of the far east.

I used ready made northern Chinese noodles "dao xiao mian"刀削麵 bought from the chilled section of Asian supermarket. It may be slightly thinner than Hakka "dao ma chet" 刀嬷切 but a good substitute that is easy to boil. Smooth and chewy.

If you are adventurous, try making the noodles from scratch with flour, water and alkaline water. Knead till pliable and round the dough. Let it rest (covered) for 1 hour. Knead, flatten, fold into waves, cut thinly with large sharp knife. As self explanatory from the name, the Hakka noodles are sliced thinly with a cleaver while the latter is shaved.

Recipe :

Prepare the soup using 2 bowls of chicken stock and 2 bowls of anchovy stock. (Tip : Korean made pure ground anchovy powder in muslin bag tastes natural and better than granules.) Add a little salt, brown sugar, pepper and light soy sauce according to taste.

Vegetables : carrots, mushrooms, small block of soy bean curd (firm) and baby bok choy (preferably the type with white and succulent stems that won't become soft easily when cooked).

Meat ingredients : thinly sliced chicken fillet, pork or beef, deveined prawns, fish fillet, fish ball, hard boiled egg.
(Optional : stir fry pork or chicken mince in a little oil and and oyster sauce and set aside as a topping.)

When soup is almost boiling, blanch the vegetable ingredients and set aside. Season with dark soy sauce and sesame oil.

While the soup is simmering, boil another pot of water for blanching the noodles. Separate the noodles before putting into the boiling water. When noodles turn a little translucent, it is cooked. Drain well and dish up into a bowl with a little oil.
Garnish and Condiments : fried crispy anchovy, fried garlic, fried shallot, spring onion, toasted seaweed, fried chilli paste in oil, dark vinegar with ginger slices. (Optional but highly recommended as all these would enhance the taste of a simple noodle soup).

To serve :
Put desired portion of cooked noodles in a bowl.

Pour hot soup over the noodles and let it steep for 5 seconds.

Then top with condiments and sauces as you wish.


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