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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tom Yam Fried Beehoon

Tom Yam Fried Beehoon

Elizabeth and I have been friends since high school. Our friendship was not the most immediate—she is naturally more suspicious and takes a long time to warm up to people. I, on the other hand, will talk to just about anyone who is near me. So the first time we met, I had come up to her to say hello and ask her name only to be met with a suspicious, “why do you want to know?” At least, this is what Elizabeth tells me. I don’t remember that at all. I only know that we’ve been good friends for a long time. We’ve been through years of sitting next to each other through high school, work (graduate school for me), and of course, FOOD.

Sharing Our Passion

For as long as I could remember, many afternoons after school, she would come back to my house and we would hang out for many hours (many times under the pretext of doing homework or studying for exams when in fact we would be watching videos, chit chatting or sneaking out of the house to go to the shops in the back to get snacks and drinks—we were teenagers and we were always hungry!).

These days, we both hardly meet because we live in different continents. But we are so thankful for the Internet for it has allowed us to continue our friendship through chats online. Every so often when we actually have free time that coincides, we will give each other a call. Many times, these calls will be filled with talk of foods and recipes that we’ve tried.

It’s really funny actually because growing up, we talked about food too BUT we never talked about cooking food, we only talked about EATING food—where to eat, what to eat, when to eat (often and sometimes immediately after we’ve eaten!). But we were no cooks—our cooking experience probably boiled down to cooking rice and instant noodles. We laugh now when we talk because we never imagined that the both of us would become so passionate about cooking.

So even though we haven’t physically met in many long years, we’ve stayed very much connected. She still is one of my closest friends. We’ve shared our lives—our struggles, our disappointments, our hopes, and our recipes. Whenever I tried a recipe that I really liked, I would always share it with her and she would do the same. You have all benefitted from this friendship as I’ve now shared several recipes that I got from her – Easy Green Tea Tiramisu, Hong Siew Braised Tofu, Khau Yoke - (with many more to come!).

Fit for a Family, Perfect for a Party

And this is how I got to know about this tom yam fried beehoon. Eliz was the one who first clued me in to it and told me I had to try it (it’s an Amy Beh recipe). And I have done so many times for many different occasions. This dish is really great for a weeknight meal. It’s also really great for a weekend party. It will serve a family or a whole group with equal ease and deliciousness. There is a slight amount of heat to this dish though, so the only ones I don’t recommend this to are younger children (my kids are starting to be able to handle the heat).

Beehoon (or rice vermicelli, maifan, mifun) is one of those noodles that I always keep handy in my pantry. They are an easy fix on days when you don’t know what to cook or when you have unexpected guests. With a few extra ingredients in your fridge, you could easily fry up some beehoon. As a matter of fact, here in Malaysia, they are used very frequently for breakfast. You will find them simply fried with some beansprouts and soy sauce and served with fried egg in many hawker stalls during breakfast time or if you’re in Kuching, you’ll find them in Sarawak Laksa (also a breakfast meal).

Bee Hoon – Rice Vermicelli

bee hoon, mi hoon, maifun, mifun

For me, I sometimes use beehoon when I’m cooking up my KL Hokkien Mee substituting the thick noodles for beehoon. They are really good that way. But this tom yam noodle dish is also really wonderful with beehoon. See, beehoon on its own is not very tasty. It’s really just a vehicle for the sauce that it soaks up. And this particular recipe has an especially flavorful sauce because of the addition of brown bean sauce and tom yam paste. The addition of the tom yam paste gives this noodles a discernible spicy tangy flavor (almost like Mee Siam, but not quite). The brown bean sauce counters these flavors with its salty sweetness. Add to that the other fillings and it’s a colorful, flavorful palate for your eyes and mouth.

Tom Yam Paste

tom yam paste

When we had our first official party at our house, I made this dish. I wanted to cook some things that were easy to do ahead of time. This tom yam beehoon is one of those. You just need to prep a few ingredients and the actual frying of it is very quick. A hot wok and some arm muscle and you’re good to go! Of course, if you’re cooking just for your family, the recipe as is will do (for the party I doubled the recipe).

Like many noodle dishes, the one tip I would give you is to make sure you prep all your ingredients and have them ready to go. Once you start frying the noodles, it is fast work and you won’t have time to chop something else up if you work while you cook.

Do give this noodles a try and let me know if you like it as much as Elizabeth and I!

Tom Yam Fried Beehoon Recipe

adapted from “At Home with Amy Beh” by Amy Beh

200g beehoon (rice vermicelli), soaked in warm water for at least 15 minutes or longer, drained before cooking)
2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp brown bean sauce (tau cheong), if it’s whole beans, chopped or if using the ground one, fine as is
2 Tbsp tom yam paste (any brand is fine—available at most Asian grocery stores)
125g medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
100g chicken meat (1 chicken breast), sliced thin (or you could use a cooked chicken breast, shredded)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 block of firm tofu (taukwa), deep fried and sliced (I normally buy mine already fried but if you want, I’m sure it’ll taste just as good without frying)
100g garlic chives
100g beansprouts

1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp thick soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
dash of pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock

Garnishing (any or all of the below):
Fried egg omelette, thinly sliced
chopped cilantro
chopped green onions (about 2-3 stalks)
1 red pepper or jalapeno, sliced thin
fried shallots

*feel free to change about your fillings. No chives, throw in some green onions, no beansprouts, do without, no garnishes, no worries. It’s really not too fussy.

1. Season shrimp and chicken with salt, sugar, pepper and sesame oil for 10-15 minutes.
2. Heat oil on medium heat in a wok and fry garlic till fragrant but not burnt.

frying tom yam paste and garlic

3. Add chicken and shrimp and toss well till just opaque. Dish out and set aside.
4. Reheat wok on medium heat with more oil, put in brown bean sauce and tom yam paste. Stir it around for just half a minute being careful not to let the sauce burn. If there isn’t enough oil, add more. Add beehoon and stir in combined seasoning and mix well.
5. Add bean curd slices and return the fried shrimp and chicken to the pan. Add beansprouts and chives and toss to mix well.

tom yam fried bee hoon in wok

6. Taste and adjust seasonings.
7. Plate up and garnish.

tom yam fried bee hoon


Cheers, Annie

What’s your favorite way to eat beehoon? Leave a comment and tell us!

This post was entered into Presto Pasta Nights roundup #146, hosted by Cupcake Muffin.

Hungry for more Malaysian noodle dishes? Click below:

Grace Place Sarawak Laksa

KL-Style Hokkien Mee Recipe

Pumpkin Mee with Prawns Recipe

7 Tips for Making Mouth-Watering Char Koay Teow


Sara said...

Mmmm, these noodles look absolutely delicious! :) Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

FabFrugalFood said...

I LOVE your NY resolution to try unfamiliar ingredients. You have inspired me to do Tom Yam!

Karine said...

This looks indeed delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

Unknown said...

What a rich, savory dish -- so much flavor! I like seeing the preparation behind dishes like these.

small home said...

This is Asian food , right? I can still remember my grandma cooking beehon for my birthday!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@Sara - you're welcome. I love to participate in roundups :-)

@FabFrugalFood - all right! Do let us know how you like it.

@Karine - you're welcome!

@denise - thanks!

@small home - How did your grandma prepare it?

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This Tom Yam beehoon look so yummy!

Kurdistan said...

Looks good wanna try this recipe

Anonymous said...

Hi Annie,

I sure remember our good ol days esp the sneaking out part :)) Yr delicious looking pic just gave me an idea what to serve for Ju´s coming bday party :) I haven´t make this dish in quite a while.


Sharon said...

Dear Annie,

I just started reading your culinary journal when I was googling for the infamous lemon chicken recipe (I get the part about frying because I hate an oily kitchen as well, even though I put aluminum foil all over my stove top haha).

Your recipes remind me of my childhood when fried bee hoon and nasi lemak used to be breakfast staples. It's hard to find authentic Asian recipes using local ingredients these days (@_@)

Your cooking has also inspired me to create in my own kitchen, especially since I live in Australia now and don't have the privilege of having my mum's home cooked delicacies on a regular basis.

I must say your relationship with Elizabeth reminds me of my own best friends. Food is the glue that keeps us together and our activities always center around the next best place to eat. All of us carry our own versions of the Makansutra (a famous good food guide in Singapore). Many a nights were also spent around the dinner table recapping the day's gastronomic feasts and comparing snapshots of food (^0^)

Am glad to know that we're not the only ones passionate about food! Keep up the great work (^__^) and looking forward to learning from you!


p.s. sorry for the lengthy comments!

Little Inbox said...

Simple, but it is a perfect meal.

Joanne said...

This sounds like a winning recipe. I love your photos!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Eliz - thanks for being such a good friend!

@Sharon - not at all! We love comments like yours, especially when we strike a chord with readers. Welcome to our blog.

@Joanne - thanks!

Dorach said...

So delicious! I tried this tonight with fried rice as I had overnight rice. Love it :) Glad you shared this recipe.

Ruth Daniels said...

Great post. I do love it when connections are so long-lasting. In my world too, food is a great "binder". Thanks for sharing the dish (which looks awesome) with Presto Pasta Nights.

I'm hosting this week and would love to see another at the roundup.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Dorach - made it with fried rice? That's a neat take on the recipe! Thanks for sharing.

@Ruth - thanks for all you do as coordinator of PPN. I'll see about getting a post up for you. :-)