Ban Mian

“Premium Mee Hoon Kueh (面粉馃), made from scratch at home!”

Handmade noodle, a popular noodle dish in Singapore and Malaysia. Many types of handmade noodles, for instances, Ban Mian (板面), Mee Kia (面仔), and Mee Hoon Kueh (面粉馃), easily available at most food court, hawker centre and even stores at coffee shops. I like Mee Hoon Kueh (to pronounce in Hokkien dialect), because it is made from hand-peeled method, but due to commercial purposes, most of the noodle sellers choose to use noodles cutting machine to cut these handmade noodles. Ban Mian to be cut into long & flat noodles about 0.5-cm wide, Mee Gia will be rolled into long, thin & round type just like ramen or spaghetti, while Mee Hoon Kueh to be shaped into small flat squares.

So, it’s time to make your own handmade noodles with bare hands! With a lot of “liao (料)” (ingredients) put in, your handmade noodle dish will be the best and premium one, trust me!

This noodle soup recipe was adopted from my grandma’s original version from her hometown, Fu Zhou (福州), one of the province in China. I used clam as soup base. Clam makes the soup tastier and sweeter with pleasant seafood flavour. I have also added wolfberries as I love its taste, and beneficial health values. Adding wolfberries not just enhances the look of your food presentation with it redish colour on these whitish noodles, it also creates additional sweetness and fragrance to the soup.

Another important ingredient to my handmade noodles soup will be the Chinese Spinach (苋菜). Traditionally, vegetable to be used in this handmade noodle is sweet potato leaves. For commercial purpose, they use the more common vegetable which is Chye Sim which I personally think the taste is not pleasant for handmade noodle dish. I prefer Chinese Spinach which has even more nutrition values. Soft, and tasty enough to go with handmade noodles (smiling).

My girl helped me with this handmade noodles soup dish. She kneaded the dough a little, and made into noodle piece, the Mee Hoon Kueh. We did it together happily till we completed the whole dough. My girl made some funny shapes like triangle and heart shapes. I guess she was as if playing her “Play Dough” (laughing). Some pieces she made were too thick though, maybe she has limited strength to really press it thinly. We had fun!

Ingredients
For noodle dough:
500 g plain flour
2 tablespoon of corn starch
1 egg
175 ml water (about 1 – 1.5 small cup of water)
Pinch of salt

Side Ingredients and Soup Base:
200 gram of pork meat (lean shoulder butt part)
500 gram of clam (with shell intact)
1 handful of Chinese Spinach (苋菜 xiàn cài)
1 tablespoon of wolfberries aka Lycium barbarum (枸杞)
1 large pot of water, 50% filled (about 2000 – 2500ml)

1 tablespoon of corn flour (to coat pork meat for smooth texture)
2 slices of ginger
Pinch of salt and pepper

Optional:
1 handful of fried ikan Bilis

Method
1) Mix flour and corn starch with salt in large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in water. Add in egg, mix it with flour and water, and knead it into smooth dough.

2) Cover dough with clean damp cloth, let set for 1 hour until dough expanded. Reserve for later.

3) Place water in large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add clams and ginger slices. Cover pot with lid. Reduce heat to medium fire. Bring it to a boil again for 10 minutes, or until clams open. Remove from pot with tongs or strainer, and remain clam stock as soup.

4) Remove clams out of shells with utility knife. Discard any clam that remain unopened.

5) Coat pork meat with corn starch. Mix well. Then, place pork meat, wolfberries and cooked clam meat into clam stock (soup). Reduce heat to low fire, simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6) Remove the cloth and slightly flatten the dough with a rolling pin or using your palms, and then fold it over for a few times.

7) Tear a small piece from the dough, and knead & press into thin piece, and expand it with finger tips till about half the palm size or sized to your preference.

8) Place thin piece noodle into the pot. Repeat step 7, until whole dough is complete, or amount of noodles required. Add vegetables 1 minute before heat off. Serve hot.

Do it at home with your kids tomorrow! It will be fun for you and your kids!

Tips: Garnish with fried ikan Bilis, if preferred.
* No standard shape of noodles is required here, let your fingers do the “shaping” freely!
* Purpose to add corn starch into the dough is to create extra smoothness to the texture of the noodles.