Thursday, 25 July 2013

Wonton Mee Redemption

Near where I lived as a little boy in Chinatown was a famous mini noodle factory. On its shop front was displayed all manner of fresh and dehydrated noodles, wonton skins, and other flour-based products. I was fascinated.

And I enjoyed watching the whole process of noodle making too. It looked so well organized and mechanical; everyone had his or her precise role and activity. And they looked comical, with white flour on their faces and bodies, just like in the movies when the actors threw powder at each other.

I remember well my first attempt at making noodles – because I nearly died doing it. Kneading the dough was so tedious that I almost gave up halfway; and I swore I actually had biceps and triceps for the first time in my life after I finished. But that was the easy part. Because then came the rolling. Have you ever tried getting an even thickness on a piece of dough the size of a seat cushion? I finally ended up with a pile of stuff that looked like anything but noodles.

I still see this whole episode in my nightmares.

Now, life is kinder to me. I can borrow a mixer and a pasta machine from a friend and suddenly I feel like Superman. Nothing can defeat me again. With some leftover duck eggs in hand, I was ready to face my demons and conquer my phobia…

Wonton Noodle
Flour                           900 g      
Duck egg                    90 g                         
Chicken egg               270 g       
Potato flour                45 g          
Alkaline water            35 g                          

1.        On a flat surface, gently form a volcano with ¾ of the flour, with a hole in the center.
2.        Sprinkle salt evenly.
3.        Drop ¾ of egg in the middle of the flour.
4.        Start gently mixing and kneading.
5.        Add the remaining flour and egg bit by bit during kneading.
6.        The dough should be firm and not stick to the fingers.
7.        Once done, wrap dough in a cling wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
8.        Roll it out by hand or use a pasta machine.
9.        Dust with flour and let it dry.

Note: Duck egg gives a certain degree of elasticity to the noodle texture. If duck eggs are unavailable, just substitute it with the same amount of chicken eggs.

Method of Cooking:

1.        Boil sufficient water for 5 minutes.
2.        Lower water to around 95°C.
3.        Blanch noodle until cooked, for about 3 minutes, in a kitchen sieve.
4.        Remove noodle from the hot water and dip it into a pot of room temperature water and rinse thoroughly. Meanwhile bring the hot water to boil again.
5.        Blanch noodle in boiling water for 15 seconds.
6.        Noodle is ready to be served in soup or tossed dry.

Method of Tossed Dried Noodle:

Wonton noodle       35 g
Lard/oil                      1 tbsp
Sesame oil                 ¼ tsp
Oyster sauce             ½ tbsp
Light soy sauce         ½ tsp
Chilli sauce                1 tbsp

1.        Cook 30 g noodle (follow above instructions).
2.        Meanwhile, mix the rest of ingredients thoroughly in a serving bowl.
3.        Toss noodle well with the sauce.
4.        Serve with meats of your choice.