My favourite Ipoh hor fun stall is Ah Liang Hor Fun within Amoy Food Centre. It was a minute’s walk from my old office and when my ex-colleagues and I felt foolhardy enough to brave the lunch crowd/were early enough to be spared the crowd, I usually ended up with a plate of hor fun from the stall. Now I work freelance from home and my crayfish Ipoh hor fun is an 45-min bus ride away. Le sigh.
Last week, I attempted the dish and it was (I thought) good! Just to be sure that it wasn’t beginners’ luck, I cooked it again over the weekend and it was still yummy!
(I really need to wipe the sides of my plate properly before taking a photo and be better at arranging food.)
Ipoh Hor Fun
There are different (and more complicated) ways of cooking this, but this one works for me. I would like to, at least once, try making the broth from scratch though. Most of the ingredients can be prepped beforehand, but you should only cook the gravy when you’re ready to serve right after.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
– 1/2 packet of Ipoh hor fun (I found the chilled version at NTUC; some wet markets sell fresh hor fun)
– fresh prawns (or crayfish)
– chye sim
– chicken breast fillets, or whole
– dried Chinese mushrooms
For the gravy
– chicken broth (I used a 250ml packet of Swanson’s Clear Chicken Broth)
– light soy sauce
– oyster sauce
– dark soy sauce
– fish sauce
– corn flour
Braising the mushrooms
1. Soak the dried mushrooms for about an hour. When ready, slice them.
2. In a saucepan, add a cup of water and a tablespoon each of light soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar. Add mushrooms.
3. Leave to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Then, strain and set mushrooms aside for later. Keep the braising liquid for cooking the gravy.
Prepping other ingredients
– Boil the chicken breast fillets. Set them aside to cool once when they are cooked. When they are cool enough to handle, shred the fillets by hand.
– Blanch the vegetables for about 30 seconds or so. Run them under cold water and set aside.
– Cook the prawns. A few minutes in boiling water should do nicely. I de-shelled them before cooking, but you can cook them with the shells on. If you’re preparing your own chicken broth, you can toss in the prawn shells for an added flavour!
– Ipoh hor fun takes next to no time to cook (once you get the water boiling, that is). So you can cook them beforehand, but strain them well and add a drop of oil so the noodle strands won’t get too chummy with one another. Or you can choose to cook them as you’re cooking the gravy, though that would require a little multitasking.
Cooking the gravy
1. Add the remaining of the mushroom braising liquid into a saucepan (I erm, used my frying pan because I only had one saucepan.) together with your chicken broth.
2. Add a little fish sauce and mirin. Adjust gravy to taste. If it’s too bland, add some oyster sauce.
3. Prepare your slurry by mixing cornflour in cold water (1 tablespoon for 1 cup of gravy). Slowly pour in your slurry into the gravy, stirring as you go. Your gravy should start to thicken. Continue stirring to prevent starch clumps. Once your gravy comes to a boil, remove from heat.
4. Pour gravy over cooked hor fun. If there are starch clumps, simply strain the gravy before pouring over your noodles. Add the rest of the ingredients and you’re set!
As you’ve probably realised, I’m not great with measuring out things (and as a result, am crap at making things that require precision i.e. baking). With the sauces, I essentially just squirted a visually-appropriate amount and then adjust after tasting. But starting with a tablespoon of each usually works.