We are halfway into the festive season and what most home chefs want is less cooking with more feasting – unless you are a culinary masochist who prefers to cook rather than eat.
Out of all types of noodles, bean vermicelli, more commonly known as tang hoon, remains my favourite.
Now, if you are one of those who find the idea of cooking tang hoon intimidating, try this recipe. If you do it correctly, you have a good chance of cooking up a decent meal of tiger prawn tang hoon even if you are a novice cook.
Do not over-soak the noodles. It should not take more than 10 minutes to get to the point when they are softened but without losing elasticity.
Avoid using excessive water unless you like mushy noodles. I like to eat tang hoon that has bite and a springy texture.
The shortcut is to fry the prawns first. By right, you should clean the wok after frying the prawns and before frying the tang hoon, but I choose not to because it saves me time and energy.
And really, why waste all that prawn juice and flavour when you can capture more of it in the tang hoon?
300g dried bean vermicelli (tang hoon)
8 tiger prawns
100g wood ear mushroom, thinly sliced
1 can of straw mushroom
1 carrot, shredded
3 napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 red onions, sliced
2 red finger chillies, sliced
3 stalks of spring onion, cut into 5cm lengths
3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp dark soya sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
Generous pinches of salt
Dash of black pepper
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
20g unsalted butter
5 tbsp cooking oil
1. Soak the dried tang hoon in water until softened. Drain water, rinse and set aside.
2. Quarter each straw mushroom.
3. Use scissors to trim down the back of the prawn. This leaves the rest of the prawn whole but allows you to devein the prawn. Trim away the antennae and legs. Rinse and set aside.
4. In a hot pan, heat the cooking oil and fry the prawns. After a minute, add in one-third of the chopped garlic and the butter. Add a dash of black pepper and season with salt. Once the prawns turn red, remove from the heat and set aside.
5. Add in the remaining garlic and onion. Fry until fragrant.
6. Add the shredded carrot. Fry for a minute, add the napa cabbage and woodear mushroom.
7. Add the tang hoon. Add the straw mushrooms.
8. In a bowl, add the water, oyster sauce, fish sauce and dark soya sauce. Add this to the tang hoon. Toss well.
9. Once there is no visible cooking liquid, add the sesame oil and Chinese rice wine. Add the red chillies and spring onion. Toss well.
10. Serve hot.