Thursday, May 23, 2013

bee tai mak: a tale of some mice tails 老鼠粉

At least once a week, I cook a one-pot meal. In our home, the LAM calls such dinners "shovel food" because all you need is a spoon and you can shovel the food into your mouth! Being a very laid-back Aussie, this is the LAM's idea of the best type of home dinners.

What I made today was a simple stir-fried Short Rice Noodle - "老鼠粉". You can use any noodle you wish, but this is kind of like a short pasta - easy to stir around in a wok!

I was 11 when I learnt to make this dish. Using the microwave to cook was the rage at that time, and I remember my mom telling me to put an ingredient into the pot, stir, then microwave for 5 minutes on HIGH, take it out, add something else, stir, and put it back into the microwave on HIGH for another 5 minutes... it went on and on, and I remember thinking, this is madness - why would anyone want to cook like that when it can be done in the wok in 5 minutes??!?!!

I guess because there is history behind this dish for me - the shared memory of my mom and I cooking together - I have not changed a thing about the way I have cooked this dish for the last *AHEM* almost 30 years. I use the same ingredients every time. The single item I hate to eat MOST in the world is bean sprouts. I LOATHE them. But I cannot cook this without bean sprouts, and I happily eat them every time. Go figure.

As with most Chinese dishes, all the ingredients that would be used need to be prepped ahead. 

Char Siu - I got my char siu lady to chop them for me.

Fish Cake - diced.

Peas - boiled for 5 minutes to soften.

Shrimps - defrosted, since I bought them with shells already removed.

And the *VERY* hated bean sprouts - I took off the heads and roots. Somehow they looked a little less frightening this way.

That was it. Since everything I used was already cooked, dinner could be serve in 5 minutes!

In a heated wok, I quickly fried the garlic and added the prawns, fish cake and bean sprouts.

I gave that a quick stir, and added char siu and peas.

Then I added the noodles, the oyster sauce, the light and dark soy sauces, as well as the white pepper.

And stirred some more to mix.

And that was it!

I garnished my noodles with cut chilli and fried shallots.

It was time to shovel. :)

STIR-FRIED Short Rice Noodle (Serves 4)

1 kg short rice noodles
500g char siu, chopped
500g bean sprouts, head and roots removed
300g fish cake, diced
300g shrimps, defrosted
250g peas, boiled for 5 minutes to soften
2 tbs garlic, minced
1 tbs light soy sauce, more if needed
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp grounded white pepper
1 chilli, sliced (optional)
Fried shallots (optional)

1. Fry garlic for a minute in a hot wok.
2. Add shrimps, fish cake and bean sprouts. Stir for a minute.
3. Add char siu, peas and noodles. 
4. Pour in light and dark soy sauces, oyster sauce and pepper.
5. Stir to combine.
6. Serve, garnished with chilli and shallots.

*Noodles can be kept frozen in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.



  1. Yummy!!!! I am inspired to prepare this for my family. Off to the Asian Supermarket!

    1. Hi Magdalene hope you tried making this (and liked it) :)