It has been scorching and then raining sheets successively throughout the day almost everyday and we are all feeling sticky, sticky and sticky. Humidity's high, motivation's low and my kitchen is feeling pretty lonely all by itself in its sticky little corner. That's because I haven't been so friendly. In fact I've been quite brusque, I've flapped my hands, thrown my head back and short of laughing hysterically, I've cried 'be done with you!' and I would leave as soon as it's Cherryonacakely possible. These days I cook for survival.
Oh give us spring. Would I be cooking all day long if we had spring?
I don't think so. I would be out there singing with the birds and playing with the flowers. And probably rhyming silly words.
Would I be cooking all day if we had winter? Uh Uh I don't think so. I'd be in bed, drowned in quilts, cuddling up and with the hair dryer blasting me to a roast.
Would I be cooking if we had Autumn? Nope. 'Cause I'd be sitting by the window, all day long, sighing and swooning at my favourite colours.
So, then you ask me, what would get me cooking?
The answer my friend is not blowin' in the wind, soakin' in the rain or in the colour of the fallin' leaves. It's inside of me right now. It's in my helly belly. It is Hunger. A ravenous, howlin' Hunger. For mee goreng mamak.
How many pans must a woman dent before you call her a woman
How many times must a kettle blow before it's turned off for good
Yes, 'n how many times must a kitchen tap drip before the plumber comes along
The answer my friend is not blowin' in the wind
The answer is not blowin' in the wind
It's in my helly belly.
And mee goreng mamak is my one and only.
Mee goreng mamak has been living inside of my head for as long as I have known it. It got married when I got married , it screamed when I birthed, it shattered into a million pieces when I heaved-hoed my head in times of vain, it shriveled and stayed subdued to a point when I pondered on more 'important' things, in short, it's me in mee form. Earthy/down to earth, complicated/confused and hot/hot.
Nothing could beat the earthiness of a mamak mee goreng. It was conceived out of whatever was around, at hand and within reach. At the mamak (Indian Muslim)shop. So practically anything and everything went in. No planning, no strategising, no theorize-ing, no speculating, no cudgeling of their brains, Just plain 'if I can reach it it goes in', 'if I can see it it goes in', if it's there it goes in'.
That, it seems, would be the only reason why curry sauce (any curry sauce) went in, why potatoes went in, why it is a complex and confusing mix of a million ingredients for what was supposed to be a simple dish of fried noodles.
Naturally one wouldn't have curry sauce lying around or ready boiled potatoes, or fried soy bean curd cake or shredded cooked chicken. So to make a mamak mee goreng, contrary to the way it was conceived, some amount of planning and organization would come in handy........ Bleh.
But it is sooooo good.
Fresh yellow noodles (or dried egg noodles, scalded n drained), enough for one person ( Iused pasta vermicelli)
2 shallots, sliced finely
2 garlic, sliced finely
2 tsp of curry powder, any
1-2 or 3 tbsp curry sauce,any (buy some curry from your nearest Indian restaurant/mamak shop)
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp of tomato sauce
2 tsp of fish sauce
1-2 tsp chillie paste (made from ground dried chillies)
some shredded cooked (fried or roasted) chicken
a couple of large prawns (halved sideways or anyway you like)
a handful of bean sprouts
a handful of sliced cabbage
a handful of greens (any greens)
1 tomato, halved
a few slices of fried firm bean curd cake
slices of 1 small boiled potato
slices of prawn fritters (optional)
3 or 4 slices of fresh red chillies
1 small stalk of spring onions, chopped
2 kalamansi limes (limau nipis), halved
about 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil
Before starting to cook, mix all the sauces, curry powder and chillie paste together.
Heat pan, heat oil and throw in the sliced shallots, garlic and stir till softened. Add the prawns, chicken meat and stir over very high heat. Add the mixed sauces.Stir over very high heat all the time. Add the cabbage, greens, bean sprouts, sliced potates, tomato, bean curd, sliced prawn fritter if using and stir, stir and stir. High high heat. Add salt. Add about 2 tablespoons of water if too dry. (it should be a little saucy). Add noodles, stir and push aside. Break an egg into the cleared portion of the pan, let it cook half way and scramble the noodle mixture over and into it; over high heat all the time. Mix well, the mixture should be wet (moist-moist wet) but no sauce. The noodles should be coated with all the sauce.
Dish into a plate or bowl, squeeze the juices of 2 limes over it, sprinkle with a few slices of fresh chillies. extra quarters of a tomato and the chopped spring onions. Serve. Enjoy. Yum!
This dish ends up being enough for 2 persons after everything has come together.
PS: My mamak mee goreng may not be the best but it comes close enough to stop me howling.