Monday, 2 February 2015

Penang Sar Hor Fun

Isn't it interesting as to how food can evolve and there can be many name variations for what is essentially the same thing? It's also interesting how different cultures can adapt dishes to suit their needs or ingredients and still be as delicious as the original.  With this particular dish, there are so many name variations, but ultimately refer to this very delicious saucy rice noodle dish. 

In Penang, this is called Sar Hor Fun, while in NZ it's called Wat Tan Hor, because they crack an egg to the gravy. Wat Tan Hor literally translates to "smooth egg rice noodles". Here in Brisbane, they call it combination Stir Fried Hor Fun. 

The key difference is......(drum roll please) the Penang one is a combination of flat rice noodles and rice vermicelli (bee hoon) fried together in a hot wok till slightly charred then pour gravy over the top, which is the authentic way of cooking this particular dish. Last but not least, the noodles are served with the special preserved green chilli.  Spicy with a touch of acidity. Now, that's what you call a Sar Hor Fun! 

Sar Hor Fun usually include a few slices of pig liver, however I don't really like it so I haven't included it in my recipe. If you fancy liver though, by all means throw in a few slices.

Ingredients :

Serves 6 adults (my kids eat adult portions)

500g flat rice noodles (if you do not have fresh ones you can get the dried ones and soaked in cold water until soft, then drain well) 
250g rice vermicelli (soak in cold water until soft, then drain well)
150g pork fillet (thinly sliced)
18 whole prawns (shell off, 3 each) 
Fish cakes, thinly sliced 
1 bunch of choy sum, cut into 3cm pieces
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
300ml water
2 teaspoon corn starch mix with a bit of water to make a cornstarch slurry
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce mix with 1/4 cup hot water to make a soy mixture
1 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoons of fish sauce
a few dash of white pepper
6 tablespoons of oil for cooking

Steps :

If you are using fresh flat rice noodles, then you'll need to break them apart by gently peeling it off each other.

In a wok, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil and add in 1/3 of the chopped garlic. Fry until fragrant and then add in the rice noodles. Give it a good toss. Sprinkle the dark soy mixture over it to ensure it is well coated. I like mine to be a bit charred so I fry it a little longer. Dish up and set aside.

Repeat the above process for rice vermicelli.

Heat the remaining oil and garlic till fragrant. Add in pork, prawn and fish cakes, give it a good toss, then add water.

Next, add in all the sauces and bring to boil. When it's boiling, add in the choy sum and the corn starch mixture to thicken the gravy. Give it a good stir and turn the heat off.

On a plate that can hold some sauce, dish up a portion of the vermicelli and rice noodles. Pour over the gravy and the toppings. Serve immediately with preserved green chillies.

I must admit, it's not one that I would eat when I go out or back to Penang but ever since my kids came along, this has been their usual orders at the restaurants.  It's such a versatile dish that will appeal to everyone's tastebuds. Happy cooking everyone!

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