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Friday, November 2, 2012

Economy Fried Vermicelli 经济炒米粉

Fried vermicelli served on plastic plates or wrapped in brown greaseproof wax papers if carried out, the economy fried noodle has been a hit among the locals of all strata for as long as I can remember. Come in a few choices of noodles to choose from - the vermicelli (beehoon) 米粉 , noodles , flat rice noodle (kuey teow) 粿条 or dried noodle 面干, they probably make the simplest known stir fried noodle with minimal ingredients. Cooked using the two most common sauces seen in any Chinese kitchen - the light soy sauce and the dark soy sauce, some are further enhanced with a touch of flavoring additive like the oyster sauce, fish sauce or a dash MSG simply. As simple as it sounds, it does require a little work of imagination to understand how a stall specializing in a simple dish as such often can be the best seller of all times.

the few basic ingredients to a plate of economy fried vermicelli

Usually fried in a large batch at a time and therefore needing less time and energy on the whole, the name does define the dish really well. But instead of having the noodles plainly sold as it is, a stall selling the economy fried noodles these days is often seen serving plenty other dishes that are meant to be paired and served alongside these plates of fried noodle. I grew up having plenty of this, especially liking a particular stall in a marketplace back in my hometown. A fussy eater, this surprisingly had been one my dad's all-time favorite too. Among the popular items on the sideline include the sambal, fried eggs, vegetable curry, chicken or wild boar curry, spicy cockles, slices of fried luncheon meat, fried chicken or any combinations of these. 

a plate of economy fried vermicelli served with an egg over easy

Edited March 21st 2013 with more photos on serving suggestions:

a plate of economy fried vermicelli served with fried chicken

a plate of economy fried vermicelli served with sambal eggs

Economy Fried Vermicelli 经济炒米粉
Serves 4
pcs dried vermicelli (about 6.5oz)
~1/2lb bean sprouts, rinsed and ends trimmed
6 stalks spring onion, rinsed and cut into sections about the lengths of bean sprouts (certain thick white parts may have to further divided into thinner shreds)
5 cloves garlic, minced
a sprinkle of salt and 1 to 2 dashes of white pepper powder
2 tbsps cooking oil

Seasoning (mix together in a small bowl)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
3/4 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tbsp dark sweet soy sauce (I used ABC kecap manis)

1. Soak the dried vermicelli in a pot of warm water for about 15 minutes to soften. Drain well after that.
2. Heat up the wok with cooking oil on high heat. Once well heated, add in the minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
3. Bring in the drained vermicelli and add in the seasoning sauce. Using a pair of chopsticks, mix them up thoroughly coating possibly every strand of noodles with the seasoning evenly. Continue stirring for about a minute. The vermicelli should have slightly softened by now.
4. Pushing the vermicelli to one side, add in the bean sprouts and slightly adjust the position of the wok to have the heat concentrated on the bean sprouts side. Sprinkle in some salt and a dash or two of white pepper powder and stir fry until the bean sprouts are at least 80% cooked. Add in the green onions and mix well. 
5. Once look wilted, stir to blend the bean sprouts and spring onions well with the vermicelli. Have a quick taste at the noodle and add in any additional sauce to personal taste preference. Stir for another minute or two before removing from heat.
6. Divide into individual portions and serve as it is or topped with any additional add-on. 

We had ours served with an egg over easy each, along with some chicken rendang. Simple, economical and sumptuous!

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