It was Ching Ming yesterday.
We went back to our home town in Puchong to visit Mama’s grave. As we are Christians, we do not burn joss sticks, but armed with a handful of colourful flowers, we paid our respects under the cruel afternoon sun.
It has been more than a year now since she’s gone.
And usually when I miss her, I always make Mee Hoon Kueh.
The process isn’t difficult but it does take time and some elbow grease. To save time, you can knead the dough the day before and keep it in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.
It can take up to 30 minutes to knead 1kg of dough. Once I did 2kg worth and called it my year’s worth of biceps workout.
I will always remember her small frame bent over the counter top kneading the dough. As I grew older, she would let me do it and laugh as I sweat and struggle to knead it until it was nice and smooth.
The dough should be smooth to the touch and spring back when you poke it.
My brother and I would toss it back and forth to Mama’s horror that we would drop it.
It is dinner, after all.
The soup base is made with five simple ingredients: Pork, anchovies (ikan bilis), ginger, white peppercorns and patience.
Throw everything into a huge pot and allow your kitchen to be perfumed.
As Mama always said, “The longer it simmers, the better it is”
Mama and I would each have a big ball of dough in our hands; kneading and pinching off thick pieces of dough to be plunged into boiling water.
Thicker versions of these makes for better mouth feel.
Mama always made extra. Not too much – just enough for one.
She always made extra for me.
Ingredients and Step by Step Process
Serves 4 very generously, with a little extra for tomorrow.
1kg Cap Sauh Flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1. Combine flour, salt, eggs and oil.
2. Gradually add water until mixture comes together.
3. Add more flour if mixture is too wet, more water if it is too dry.
4. When mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, put onto counter top and knead.
5. Knead until the mixture is smooth and springs back to the touch.
6. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
The Soup Base
500g anchovies, washed and peeled
1/2 piece of preserved vegetable or hamchoy
10 white peppercorns, crushed
A few slices of ginger
2L of water
1. Add all the ingredients into a soup pot.
2. Fill it with water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 2 hours or more.
3. Strain soup base and reserve.
1. Heat up a separate pot of water, bring to a boil. This is to cook the kueh beforehand to avoid clouding your soup.
2. Knead and pinch off pieces of dough. Once pieces float up, transfer into soup base.
3. Before serving, add sweet leaves or shue chai choy and deep fried anchovies for garnish.
4. Serve with bird’s eye chilli and soy sauce.