This modified Singaporean recipe offers a new twist to an age-old tradition.
One of the signature dishes that Singapore has to offer and is rarely known to outsiders is the prawn noodles soup. It is a typical Min-Nan tradition to use the prawn shell as stock for noodles dishes. The Min-Nan cultural area covers the southern Fujian province, the pocket of Chaozhou (Teochew) community in the neighbouring Guangdong (Canton) province, as well as the island of Taiwan.
Through the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, this non-descript prawn noodles recipe received two enhancements in Singapore: the use of the tropical vegetables of water spinach, and chili powder. The best Singaporean prawn noodles soup is the Beach Road Prawn Noodles Soup founded by an old family acquaintance called Ah Hoon. Unfortunately Ah Hoon’s descendants fought and split into 3 different branches offering three different variations of the original prawn noodles soup. None of them comparable to the original.
The further moderation I have done to the typical Singaporean prawn noodles soup, was to grill the prawns to give it a nice burnt flavour.
Here are the ingredients you need:
- 10-15 large-size tiger prawns or langoustines
- 400g, Fujian “oil noodles” (油面)
- Pork ribs (5-8 individual ribs)
- 5-8 stocks of water spinach (kangkong)
- 5 cloves, garlic, chopped
- Handful of soya bean sprouts
- Chilli powder
- Dark soy sauce
- 5 tablespoonful, Oil
- Fried shallot
- De-shell your prawns and set the shells and heads aside. De-vein and clean the prawns and marinate it in a bowl with salt, pepper, chilli powder, oyster sauce. Set it aside.
- Cut your pork ribs into individual sections. Marinate with salt, pepper and dark soy sauce. Set aside.
- Heat your wok with some oil. When the oil is hot, add in your prawn shell and heads. Stir-fry until you can smell the smell of the prawns being fried. Now throw in your chopped garlic and stir-fry until the smell is emitted. Add in your pork ribs and keep on stirring. When the outside of the pork rib has turned colour, meaning that it is cooked, add in your water, cover and bring to boil. Simmer on medium for 30 minutes or until the meat of the pork ribs is very soft. When that happens, sieve your soup through a drainer into a pot to get rid of the prawn shell and heads. Pick out your pork ribs and add them to the soup. Add some drops of dark soy sauce for colour and keep the pot of soup simmering on low heat. Add salt deemed necessary.
- Boil some water in a pot, put in your noodles and water spinach. Cook for 1 minute at most. Noodles should be al-dente. Take your noodles and vegetables out, drain and place them in a bowl.
- Put your prawns under a grill or on a grill pan, drizzle some oil over and grill them for 5 minutes or until they are slightly charred. When that happens, sprinkle some chilli powder over them.
- Take your pork ribs out of the soup pot and place them in the bowl of noodles. Pour the boiling soup over the noodles mixture. Add your soya beansprouts in the mixture. Place your grilled prawns over the noodles. Garnish with coriander and fried shallots. Serve piping hot.