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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ketchup Fried Vermicelli 番茄酱炒米粉

A lot of times it really takes not much to satisfy a stomach. Glad to be home right before the storm hit, we decided to called our weekend dine-out plan off. Looking through what we had in the kitchen obviously limited with the weekend coming to an end, this was what we had for dinner last Sunday night. Simple it sure is needing not much preparation time prior to cooking. And soon enough, we were both enjoying a plate of this fried vermicelli each topped with a sunny side-up egg, watching our favorite drama, quickly turning oblivious to the deteriorating weather outside.

A favorite local dish in Malaysia, fried vermicelli is something that can be served anytime at all throughout the day - main meals, tea time or supper, it fits well just so naturally. Relatively easier to prepare, it involves a short moment getting the dried vermicelli reconstituted in water, preparing the preferred ingredients meanwhile, and then get it whipped up! The convenience in that probably explains why the pack of vermicelli in the pantry always seems inexhaustible, its space refilled as soon as it was gone the previous night.

Fried vermicelli comes in plenty of variations, each using a different selection of ingredients with difference composition of seasoning sauces in the making. This version of ketchup fried vermicelli is one that I first when I was in a kid. Naturally attracted to ketchup as a kid, anything with ketchup always wins hands down. While the name may have suggested a ketchup overdose, you may want to try it for yourself before you will come into an agreement with me - the ketchup did nothing more than just adding the right extra zing to the plate of goodness.

Ketchup Fried Vermicelli 番茄酱炒米粉
Serves 4
1½ pcs dried vermicelli (about 6.5oz)
1/2lb ground turkey breast (or any other preferred meat)
8 shrimps (weighing about 1/3lb) shelled and deveined, diced
3 stalks Chinese mustard green (choy sum), washed and trimmed then cut into 1" sections, stems and leaves separated
0.4lb bean sprouts, rinsed and ends trimmed
1/2 medium-sized red onion, cut into thin wedges
*4-5 eggs, beaten with a few dashes of white pepper powder and 1 tsp light soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
a sprinkle of salt and 1 to 2 dashes white pepper powder
2½ tbsp cooking oil 

Meat marinade
few dashes of white pepper powder
2 tsps light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsps corn starch

Shrimp marinade
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar     

Seasoning sauce
1½ tsp light soy sauce
1½ tsp dark sweet soy sauce (I used ABC kecap manis)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsps ketchup
1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce

*Egg yolks to be adjusted according to personal health preference. I will usually retain just one or two egg yolks, others of which will be discarded. I had this vermicelli served topped with a sunny side-up egg, so I had kept only a single egg yolk for the scrambled eggs.

1. Begin with marinating the meat and diced shrimps.
2. Soak the dried vermicelli in a pot of warm water for about 15 minutes to soften. Drain well after that.
3. Prepare the seasoning sauce in a small bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.
4. Heat up a non-stick frying pan with 1/2 tbsp cooking oil. Once heated, add in the beaten egg and let set for a few seconds. Stir and continue folding and breaking regularly after that until they are all set. Set the scrambled egg aside. 

5. Heat up the wok with the remaining cooking oil. Once well heated, add in the minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
6. Bring in the marinated meat next. Stir-fry until the color changes, breaking into smaller pieces in the process. 
7. Toss is in diced shrimps together with the stems of choy sum and the onions next. Mix well and again stir fry until the shrimp changes color and the stems soften.
8. Add in the leaves part next. Stir-fry until they appear wilted. 
9. Pushing everything to one side, add in the bean sprouts and slightly adjust the wok so that the heat concentrates on the bean sprouts side. Sprinkle in some salt and a dash or two of white pepper powder and stir fry until they are at least half cooked. Mix well with the rest.
10. Again pushing everything to one side and adjusting the heat position, bring in the soaked vermicelli and add in the seasoning sauce. Using a pair of chopsticks, mix them up thoroughly, making sure that the vermicelli is well and evenly coated with the seasoning. At the end of it, the vermicelli should have softened enough.
11. Mix the vermicelli with the rest of the ingredients in the wok well. You may add in any additional sauces to taste preference.
12. Finish by adding in the scrambled eggs, tossing them together to mix well.
13. Serve hot, topped with a sunny side-up egg optionally.    

A point worth noting here will be to not over-soak the vermicelli in the first place. The time spent cooking and tossing in the work later will naturally render it soft enough as it goes. Also I learned with time not to be tempted with adding in even a sprinkle of water although things may look too dry in the wok. A sprinkle water will create the steaming effect within the wok, almost certainly guaranteeing an over-soften vermicelli in the end.

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