Eating “Rat’s Shit”? You AreTotally Gross! –Vegetarian Fried “Beethyemak” Rice Noodles

IMG_6026

INTRODUCTION

Beethyemak (“米大目”) is the name stated in the package of rice noodles that I bought from the supermarket. It is also called “Loh Su Fun” (“老鼠粉”) in Cantonese literally translated as  “Rats flour” …In my Chawan dialects group, it was called “ngiao chu sia” (”老鼠屎“) literally translated as “Rat’s shit”. My mother in law who is a Teochew, called it “ngiao chi ni” (“老鼠奶“) literally translated as “Rat’s milk”..

IMG_6041

If you ask me what is the English translation? I will just translated it into a type of rice noodles taken in different form of the shape of disgusting “worms”. Apparently, it was shaped liked a “rat” .. Does it? I don’t know! I looked for some write up for this noodle dish and I managed to get a Chinese description in http://www.baike.com , the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia. What is written is:

“米苔目是闽南语,又叫米筛目,漳州龙海特色小吃,是用米和番薯粉做成的。制作米苔目的工序颇为复杂:先要将米浸泡磨成米浆,然后放进布袋加压脱水成“饭脆”,将“饭脆”加入番薯粉,揉搓成饭团,再把饭团做成细条状,放到锅里煮熟捞起后用冷水冲洗,使之滑嫩。米苔目加入糖水、刨冰,可以做成冰凉可口的甜品,咸吃则可以用乌醋拌食或放入柴鱼熬煮成汤,再加入爆香的作料;像河粉一般热炒的米苔目很有嚼劲。 米苔目现在是闽南地区以及台湾著名的美食。” (Source: http://baike.baidu.com/view/68002.htm)

IMG_6050

I have used Google Translation to translate and this is what I got:

“Mitai Mu is the Taiwanese language, called m mesh , Zhangzhou Longhai snacks, with rice and sweet potato flour made. Making process is quite complex Mitai Mu: Soak the rice milled rice milk first and then put into a pressure dewatering bag “rice crispy”, the “rice crispy” adding sweet potato powder , rub into balls , then made ​​into balls thin strips, into the pot boiled picked up after the rinse with cold water to make it smooth and delicate. Mi Taimu added sugar , ice, can be made ​​into delicious cold desserts , salty food, you can use the black vinegar mixed with food or put dried fish boiled into soup, then add the spices until fragrant; like rice noodles stir-fried rice general moss mesh very chewy. Mitai Mu is now southern region as well as Taiwan ‘s famous cuisine.”

IMG_6051

Well, if readers can understand, it is best. However, if you can’t, I think that is unfair to you and I will try my best to translate for you.

“ Beethyemak is the name in Mingnan (Fujian or Hokkien) and the “thye” can also be translated or treated as “sift” in Hokkien. It is a famous snack in Longhai County, Zhangzhou (People’s Republic of China) and it is made of rice and sweet potatoes flour. The manufacturing process is rather complicated. Firstly, the rice grain have to be soaked and ground into rice batter, These are then put in a bag made from cloth. A heavy object is then placed on top of the rice batter to exert pressure and squeeze out the water making it to become a drier batter. Sweet potatoes flour are then added and mixed well. It is then made into long stripes by pouring the batter into the hot water. When cooked , the noodles are immediately dip in cold water such that the texture will be smooth and springy. To serve as a dessert, syrups and crushed ices were added to beethyemak . For savoury dishes, beethyemak can be stir mixed with black vinegar。 It can also be cooked with Bonito broth, and garnished with aromatic deep fried garlics or shallots. It can also be stir fried like Horfun (Kway Tiao) and both noodles have almost similar textures. Beethyemak is now a famous cuisine in the Mingnan (Fujian) area and Taiwan.”

IMG_6023

I have been eating this noodle dish since I was young. Because of the name “Rat’s shit”, psychologically, I do not really like it. In addition, when I was young in Kuching, Sarawak, the Beethyemak is mostly made from pure rice flour. The texture is rather coarse and tasteless. It is not until when I came to Singapore that I started to like Beethyemak. The Beethyemak in Singapore is more springy and if properly cooked, it taste better than rice vermicelli or Kway Tiao (another flat type of rice noodles). 

This noodle is not easy to prepare as compare to rice vermicelli or Kway Tiao. You can either cook it in soupy version or stir fry it.

For stir frying, if you want to maintain the shape, the oil for frying will have to be quite a lot. Otherwise it will stick to your frying pan making it hard to fry. The purpose of this post is to illustrate how to stir fry this noodle dish, the ingredients can be anything from prawns to meat to the vegetables of your choice.

Again, as I am still on my vegetarian diet, this dish will be a vegetarian version. But remember, you can always add meats, prawns, fish cakes etc. of your choice. In addition, you can always used the same method to fry rice vermicelli and Kway Tiao or Horfun.

IMG_6046


WHAT IS REQUIRED

There will be no quantity stated here and you have full flexibility to change the ingredients. This illustration is the vegetarian version and please add in any other ingredients that you like.

IMG_6039

  • Some cabbage cut in slices

  • Some black fungus – soaked and cut into small slices

  • Some tofu puff – cut into small square cubes

  • 1 package of Beethyemak rice noodles (about 500 grams – servings of 4-5 adults)

IMG_6040

  • Some eggs, lightly beaten

  • Some celery – cut into small cubes

  • Some mock meat – cut into strips

  • Some dried mushrooms – soaked and cut into strips

  • Some shredded gingers and/or shallots and/or garlics

  • Condiments of your choices – light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, flavour enhancer like mushroom concentrate, white pepper, salt)


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_6042

  • Put one to two tablespoons of cooking oil in the frying pan. Add in shredded gingers and mushrooms (non vegetarian version can put in shredded shallots and garlics) and stir fried under high heat until the fragrance starts to spread.

  • Add in cabbage, stir fry for one minute and follow by celery, mock meat, tofu puffs, black fungus, stir fry until well mixed. Add in half a cup of water (estimate) and let it cooked for one – two minutes.

IMG_6045

The above garnishes of spring onion for picture taking purposes, Religion vegetarian cannot have spring onion in the dish.

Note

  • The purpose of adding the water is to soften and cook the vegetables. Remember, unlike stir frying rice vermicelli, the water has to be minimal as the noodles are rather wet and will not be able to absorb any more water.

  • If your are frying with meat, meat will be the first item to be stir fried followed by hard vegetables (carrots, cabbage, celery etc.), leafy vegetables and tomatoes in this order.

IMG_6043

  • Add in the noodles and stir fry until well mixed. Add in dark soya sauce, light soya sauce, pepper, salt and flavour enhancer. Stir fry until well mixed. Add in beaten eggs and fry until all the noodles were coated with the eggs.

Note:

  • In this illustration, I have purposely used this method of adding the eggs to the noodles. The purpose is to let the eggs coating the noodles. If you do not like the moist soft egg coated noodles, you can prepare the omelette and cut it into strips. You can refer to Vegetarian Tom Yam Bee Hoon for making of omelette strips. The difference is this way of frying noodles will result in moister noodles.

IMG_6044

  • Add in tomatoes and and stir fry for another minutes before scoop out to the plate for serving. Best serve hot with your preferences of garnishes such as coriander leaves, freshly cut chilli or Chinese celery leaves.


CONCLUSION

This noodle dish looks easy to prepare but in fact, it need some practise. The challenges is to ensure the noodles are well coated with eggs and not stick to each other or soggy. To get this texture, the following points have to be taken into considerations:

  • The heat has to be high heat throughout the stir frying. Therefore action have to be fast. If you can’t handle, this, you have to use at least medium heat. High heat is required to ensure that all the fragrances of gingers/shallots/garlics mix well with the noodles and any moisture or water contents dries up quickly. With this, there is less chance for the noodles to get soggy.

IMG_6027

  • There is always a trade off between the look of your final cooked noodles and the amount of cooking oil used. You have to chose whether you want to have a healthier dish (using less oil) but an uglier dish (may be a bit out of shape as some of the noodles may stick to your frying pan). If you want to have an impressive non stick noodles, you will have to use quite a lot of oil to achieve that effect.

  • Unlike fried rice vermicelli and Kway Tiao, the water used for simmering the vegetables or side ingredients cannot be too much, otherwise, your noodles will be soggy and stick to the frying pan. If you have accidentally added too much water, you would rather let the water dry up first (meaning cook a bit longer) rather than having some soggy noodles.

IMG_6047

  • If you do not like moist egg coated noodles, you can use egg omelette strips.

  • All side ingredients in this illustrations are optional and substitutable. Please use what you like to fry the noodles. I have raid my fridge to come out with this and is a vegetarian version. Otherwise, I would have added pork belly meat, prawns and even some dry shrimps. So, use whatever that your family likes to cook the noodle dish.

  • Though all ingredients appeared to be optional, however, the selections will usually based on the colour of the side ingredients and a good combination of colour will make the dish looks appetizing. I usually used tomatoes or carrots for orange, chillies for red colour, choy shym or leafy vegetable for green, dried mushrooms or black fungus for black,  and corns or eggs for yellow colour. This minute detail of colour combination will make this simple dish becoming a presentable dish.

  • Remember that this method of cooking is equally applicable to fried yellow noodles, rice vermicelli, Kway Tiao, Pad Thai and etc..

Hope you like the post today and have a nice day ahead. Cheers.

IMG_6024

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 24-7-2013

IMG_1210 

On 24-July 2013, white rice served with:

“Three cup” chicken  三杯鸡
Bok Choi chicken soup

贸白菜鸡汤

Hokkien Style Fried Prawn Mee 福建炒虾面

For tonight’s dinner, there is nothing to shout about. When I am preparing dinner, my nice neighbour gave me a big bowl of Hokkien Style Fried Prawn Mee. As this can be a dish by itself, I have decided to stop preparing any more dish since both adults will be eating the prawn mee and the children had their favourite Bok Choi soup and some sweet chicken called “three cup” chicken.

Three Cup Chicken (三杯鸡)

The main ingredients of three cup chicken is Thai basil (九层塔)。Most people misunderstood that “3 cup” chicken is cooked with 1 cup of wine, 1 cup of soya sauce and I cup of  sesame oil. However, if we follow that assumptions strictly, it will be extremely oily with very high salt content. Therefore, to master the making of 3 cups chicken, the measurement of oil and soya sauce should be reduced accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, soya sauce volume should be half the volume of wine but twice the sugar volume. In another words, assuming that the sugar unit is 1cup, then soya sauce volume with be 2 cups and wine will be 4 cups. Note that no water is used in the cooking and medium heat is used to braise the chicken until the liquids dries up. Thai basil is added 2 minutes before you off the heat.

IMG_1213

Wild Hibiscus Tea (洛神花茶)

Besides the above dishes, I have boiled some Roselle/Rosella/Wild Hibiscus Tea (洛神花茶)。I usually boiled a very big pot which is very concentrated and dilute it when I want to drink. I like the drink as it is extremely thirst quenching and inhibit carbohydrates intake.

If you are interested to know how to make the drinks, its benefits and etc., you can refer to the post –

“Game To Try Some “Wild Hibiscus” Tea………….?(洛神花茶)

IMG_1194

I have also used some to make into some ice sticks which I usually have one after my dinner.

IMG_1217 

When you boiled the drinks, don’t throw away the rosella flowers. The boiled flowers can be eaten as snacks but for me, I have used it to make “banana rosella” smoothies. (you can refer to the above link and see how the boiled flowers look like)

IMG_1209            

Lastly, for lunch , I have cooked roast duck Bee Hoon from the duck bones of the roast duck that we had yesterday. I used the duck bones to make the broth, add some Bee Hoon, mushrooms, shredded duck meat, some dry bean curd sheets and egg omelettes stripes. The good thing about this dish is that there is not need to add seasoning and the broth is very sweet already. That used up all my duck bones and now left  2 drumsticks. Is it not funny that we have eaten all “bones” without eating the meat? I told readers before, both my wife and my kids do not like meat and yesterday is one of the blue moon days that I bought the whole duck. Therefore, I have to think of a way to “dispose off” the entire duck.. Haha..

IMG_1176

Hope you like the post today. Good night.

Burnt, Hot, Spicy– I am running away!!!– Understanding Chilli Pepper and Making Of Chilli Sauce

IMG_5863

I am not running away, in fact, I like chilli peppers. The spicier the merrier.

I like to make my own chilli sauce, I will find the spiciest chilli I can for the making of my chilli sauce. I have to make my chilli sauce at least 3-4 times a year making and average out using about 1 kg of chilli each time. I usually prepare my chilli sauce in its base form. Thereafter, I used it for a dip or for cooking. When I do not have appetite to take my meals or when the meals is not tastier, yucky, one scope of my chilli sauce will help me to finish the entire meals.

IMG_2634

This post will have 3 sections.

  • Section 1 – types of chilli that you can get in Singapore and Malaysia, and its spiciness.
  • Section 2 – my simple way of making the chilli sauce 
  • Section 3 – what will happen if you have a chilli burn!

IMG_2635
 


SECTION 1 – CHOOSING THE CHILLI

It is rather common to hear that people (particularly man)  comparing how well they can take the spiciness of a food. They will use the ability to take spiciness of a food as a measurement of “manliness”. However, pardon me, with no adequate knowledge on the objective measurement of the spiciness of chilli that they are eating, such argument usually ended up with boosting oneself without letting go individual own stands.

Chilli’s or pepper’s spiciness, in fact can be measured by  Scoville Heat Unit (“SHU”) that in turn measured by the capsaicin in a given species of the chilli. Lets learn some fundamentals of chillies as extracted from www.artofmanliness.com.

“Peppers, often known for their heat, or spiciness, are ranked according to the Scoville Scale. The Scoville Scale, created by Wilbur Scoville in the early 20th century, measures the amount of capsaicin in a given species of pepper. Capsaicin is the chemical within peppers that makes them spicy. The Scoville Heat Units (or SHU) of a pepper represent the number of times the capsaicin within the pepper would have to be diluted before it would be undetectable. For example, you would have to dilute the capsaicin found in your average jalapeno 2500 times before it would seemingly have no spiciness at all, giving it a SHU rating of 2500”  Http://www.artofmanliness.com/

The picture below will show you various types of chilli and its spiciness.

 

Source : http://chilibloggen.se/category/chili.html

 

So, from the above picture, the common chilli that was commonly consumed in Malaysia and Singapore were summarized below:

Bell Pepper/Capsicum/Red Pepper SHU = 0
Cayenne Pepper/Red Chilli SHU = 60,000
Thai Chilli/Bird Eye Chilli /Chilli Padi SHU = 150,000
Habanero/Red Savina SHU = 350,000

The spiciest chilli is called the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend,  endemic to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago, is currently the world’s hottest chilli pepper cultivated. According to the New Mexico State University, the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend ranks as high as 2,009,231 SHU on the Scoville scale, making it the hottest chilli pepper in the world to date. Paul Bosland, a chilli pepper expert and director of the Institute, said that, “You take a bite. It doesn’t seem so bad, and then it builds and it builds and it builds. So it is quite nasty.

 

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinidad_Moruga_Scorpion 


 

SECTION 2 – MAKING THE CHILLI SAUCE

I usually prepare this chilli sauce in its base forms with minimal condiments or seasonings. Vinegar and some salt is used to preserve the chilli and prevent it from turning bad.

I have added different condiments with the base chilli sauce so that it can be used for dips for different dishes or for frying dishes. For example:

Chicken Rice Chilli Base chilli sauce + ginger + calamansi skin + garlic + seasonings
Popiah Chilli Nothing added
Sambal Belachan for frying Chinese water cress etc. Shrimp Paste (Belachan) or small prawns or anchovies + lemon grass + shallots
Dips for fish Kalamansi + sliced garlic + dark/light soya sauce
Fried rice Nothing added
Roast pork Base chilli sauce + sugar + garlic, ginger + fermented bean curd
Braised duck (Teochew) Chopped garlic + white vinegar


WHAT IS REQUIRED

IMG_5815

  •  Some chilli of your liking and tolerance : I have brought these 3 types of chilli from Kuching, Sarawak when I walked by the wet market in Kuching. I was extremely happy to find some Habanero chilli (SHU: 350,000 units) and I have bought all the stock that the stall owner had. These Habanero chilli are rather difficult to buy and it is more costly than the other types of chilli.  The other two types of chilli are Thai Chilli or Bird Eye Chilli (Chilli Padi in Malay Language) (SHU:150,000 units) and some rather common Cayenne pepper (SHU:60,000 units).
  • White Vinegar – adequate to cover the volume of blended chilli. White vinegar serves as a preservative in this recipe. As the blended chilli is not cooked, in order to avoid the chilli paste from turning bad, white vinegar is used.
  • Salt – to taste and its role is also act as a preservative agent.

 IMG_8366


PREPARATION STEPS

The steps are rather simple and basic. But one important point to note is that ALL INGREDIENTS, PREPARATION EQUIPMENT AND CONTAINERS MUST BE CLEAN. If possible, sterile your container with hot water but make sure that it is dry before you place the chilli sauce in it. This is to prevent the growing of bacteria in your uncooked chilli sauce.

IMG_5833

  • Wash all chilli and if possible, dry it under the sun. Otherwise, pat dry using a dry cloth. 
  • Place all dry chilli into a food processor and processed it until the smallest chunks possible.
  • Note: If your blender is able to cut the chilli until the size that you want, you can by pass the use of food processor. Food processor is used here because Habanero chilli is quite big and it take quite it a while to cut it small, therefore, I opt to use a food processor and transfer into the cut chilli into the blender.

IMG_5835

  • Transfer the chilli chunks into a clean blender. Add some salt and white vinegar. The amount of white vinegar shall be at least adequate to cover the chilli chunks.
  • Blend at high speed until fine.
  • Carefully scope out the chilli sauce and place in a clean sterilized container . Add more vinegar if desired. Wait for the chilli to cool until room temperature, close the lid and keep in the fridge. (Note: when you grind the chilli, the temperature will increase, therefore, in order to avoid any unwanted water vapour in your chilli sauce, it is best that you let them cool until room temperature before you store them.)

IMG_2665

If you do not want the chilli to be that spicy, you can tone down the spiciness by de-seeding the chilli. You will need to cut open the chilli and take away all the seeds before you proceed to the grinding. However, do be careful not to touch the chilli seeds as it can be rather difficult to get rid of the chilli heat. So, it is advisable to use a glove before you proceed with the cutting.

This chilli sauce can be stored for at least half a year. But you have to make sure that every time you scoop out the chilli sauce, a clean dry spoon is used. Otherwise, the dirty spoon will introduce bacteria to the container and it will spoilt the chilli sauce.

IMG_2657


Preparing Base chilli from dry chillies

IMG_8348

At times, you may not be able to get hold of lots of fresh chillies or when chillies are not in the season and become costly, I have used the dried chillies to prepare the sauce. The preparation is slightly different but the taste is not the same as fresh chilli sauce. But the colour of the chilli sauce will be more attractive. For this version, I usually cooked with the chilli sauce so that it can be kept longer.

PicMonkey Collage1

  • Soak the chilli until soft (about 30 minutes). Use a food processor to blend the chilli until as fine as you can. For food processor, it is impossible to blend the chilli seeds, therefore, you will need to transfer the blended chilli to a blender. Add water just adequate to cover the chilli.

IMG_8326

  • Blend the chilli until the seeds are well blended. In a pot with a few tablespoon of cooking oil, stir fry the chilli sauce under medium heat.

IMG_8332

  • Stir fry until oil starts to sip out of the chilli paste, it become dry and aroma of cooked chilli starts to permeates the house. Add sugar and salt to taste. Off heat, transfer to sterilized container for cooling. Cool completely at room temperature before store in fridge.

IMG_8352

Notes:

  • Variations of this chilli sauce are many. However, I like my chilli sauce to be as basic as possible. In the process of stir frying, you can add in the following ingredients to make it become chilli sauce for nasi lemak or etc. : shallots, garlics, lemon grass, shrimp paste (belachan), buah keras. All this should be blend well and stir fry together with the base chilli sauce. If you want it to be even spicier, you can add some chilli padi .

IMG_2637

  • Uses of this chilli sauce: Can be used for stir frying kangkong or even petai as follow, cooking curry, as a dip (put belachan and calamansi), diluted with vinegar to go with Kuih Chap or oyster omelette etc.. Curry cooked with this chilli sauce will be beautifully coloured.

IMG_2667

  •  For dipping purposes: Just have a tablespoon of vinegar or lime juice, add additional salt or light soya sauce, shallot oil and it will be good as a dip for fried fish and etc.

IMG_8362

I have used the base chilli to stir fry with some petai. Put some cooking oil, sauté onions, belachan and baby shrimps until fragrance, add petai and followed by 2-3 tablespoons of this homemade chilli sauce, add additional seasonings and the sambal petai is ready.

IMG_8364


SECTION 3 – TAKING CARE OF YOUR HANDS   

It may be unfair for me to share with you how to make chilli sauce without sharing with you how to take care of you hand.

In my previous attempt to make chilli sauce,  I have a very bad experience whereby my hand was “burn” for one whole night by the chilli residue while I was washing the blender and food processor. That day, as I was out of time, I have forgot to wear a glove or “plastic bag” when I washed the food processor. To make the matter worse, I use the same sponge to clean the other dishes for dinner. Almost immediately, my whole palm was feeling extremely hot and when I accidentally scratched my face, my face got the hot feeling too. I have used many methods but none was able to stop the heat immediately. It really make me panic as I never have such an encounter before. As I am extremely tired that night, I just cut a stem of aloe vera and applied to the “injured part”, and that make my hand felt slightly better. I fell asleep when I was waiting for the heat to subside and when I woke up, the hand is getting normal again.

So, be careful with your hands. In the internet, there are many ways of reducing the heat arising from touching the chilli (or more specifically, capsaicin) and I have selected 5 ways for your consideration. Some methods can be applied if you accidentally ate some extremely hot chilli and the heat remained in your mouth:

  • Wash your hand using cold milk  – Milk have a protein called casein which is a natural “enemy” to capsaicin. The colder the milk, the better it is. This however, can be a wastage as you will constantly need to wash with new milks when the effect is less. Therefore, quite a lot of milks will be required. However, if you accidentally eat something spicy, this is a good way to reduce the chilli burn in your mouth. My kids can testify this, haha!!
  • Wash your hand with hard liquor or any other types of alcohol. Capsaicin do not dissolve in water but dissolve in alcohol. Drink some alcohol may help with the burning sensation in your mouth.
  • Rub your hand with salt and slightly some water. The salt will scrap away the capsaicin that is in your hand. Alternatively, sugar can also be used. Finish off with a rinse of milk and soap.
  • Wash your hand with oil. Capsaicin also dissolve in vegetable oil beside alcohol and casein.
  • Wash your hand with vinegar (or some form of acidic solutions) and soaps.

IMG_8350


CONCLUSIONS

  • Bird eye chilli is not the spiciest chilli as what most Malaysian and Singaporean thought. The spiciest chilli now on Guinness World of Records is in Trinidad called Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend. It is about 13 times spicier than the Chilli padi and 33 times spicier than the normal cayenne chilli that we used for our normal cooking.
  • Making chilli sauce is not difficult. It is advisable to make chilli sauce in its very basic form. Add relevant seasonings and condiments for different type of dishes. This will save your time in preparing different chilli for different dish.
  • There is no one fixed way of getting rids of chilli burn in your skin or your mouth. The above 5 methods are common solvents (milk, vinegar, alcohol, sugar, oil)  for the active ingredients in chilli, capsaicin. Dealing with chilli have to be careful, wear gloves if possible. Washing of utensils used in the preparation of chilli sauce have to be extra careful. Capsaicin vapour will rush out when water was flush to the equipment. You may start to cough or your tears may flow when capsaicin reach your eyes and throats. Therefore, washing have be careful using slow water avoid touching the capsaicin.
  • To reduce the spiciness of the chilli, de-seeding will help.

Lastly, thanks for reading this interesting cooking ingredient commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore.

IMG_8360

Hope you LIKE the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

IMG_8354

 

 


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

IMG_8358