I can do better…

Most people would know that the kolo mee and the Sarawak laksa are Kuching originals and so are their crispy fried noodles…

Kuching crispy fried noodles
*Archive photo*

…and their tomato kway teow.

If you may recall, I have often lamented that the so-called kolo mee that we can get here, there and everywhere in town…

Sibu kolo mee
*Archive photo*

…are pale imitations and many aren’t really worth eating at all, especially considering that they cost a lot more than our own Sibu kampua noodles though they may look nice with all the extras added to make it look very presentable and attractive. The bottom line is they come nowhere near the nice kolo mee that one would be able to get in Kuching.

I would also say that most of the Sarawak laksa available here aren’t great either, many of which are quite different from the best ones in Kuching but I do like a sprinkling of those that we can find at places around town…

Sibu Sarawak laksa
*Archive photo*

…even though the true blue laksa connoisseurs from Kuching would surely come and slam them left, right and centre and declare that theirs are the best, nothing anywhere else can ever come near.

As for the Kuching-style crispy fried noodles, we cannot get that anywhere here or not that I know of but we can order a plate of tomato kway teow at quite a number of places for instance here, here or here and elsewhere in town but if you click the links to hop over and have a look, they did not even look as nice much less taste as great as any that I would be able to find in Kuching like the one that I had recently, for one…

Kuching tomato kway teow
*Archive photo*

In view of the above, I guess if one wants to eat reasonably good tomato kway teow that is more to the standard of the good ones found in Kuching, one would have to cook one’s own and that was exactly what I did, knowing that for sure, I would be able to do heaps better than those half-baked individuals selling it here.

Let us see where they have gone wrong so that I would not make those same mistakes as well. Firstly, they do not add sufficient ingredients – most of the time, all that one would get would be those few bits of meat and green vegetables, hardly visible to the naked eye, no seafood, nothing. Secondly, they add too much tomato sauce so the gravy is so concentrated and more often than not, too sour…and of course, like most other things that they cook and sell around here, they add too much msg. Some of them will add egg to the gravy but that’s their prerogative – personally, I feel that it would turn it into it something like wat tan hor with tomato sauce added.

When I cooked mine the other morning, these were the ingredients that I had at hand…

TKT1

- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped, a few prawns, some fish balls cut into halves and some green vegetables. Normally, sawi or chai hua (mustard green) is used but there wasn’t any in the fridge so I just used the khiew chai (curly vegetables) instead.

I soaked half a packet of the made-in-Thailand dried kway teow till soft and then added a bit of soy sauce and tossed…

TKT2

…to give it some colour and taste.

Then I heated a bit of oil in the wok and fried half the chopped garlic till golden brown before adding the stalks of the vegetables, cut and after frying for a while, I added the kway teow, making sure that I did not stir it too much so that it would not break up into bits and pieces – this would not be a problem if I had used fresh kway teow, I’m sure. I sprinkled half a cube of chicken stock, crushed, over it and mixed thoroughly and then, I scooped everything out and placed it on a plate…

TKT3

Having done that, I got down to cooking the gravy. I had peeled the prawns and I boiled the shell and heads for the stock and I had enough to fill one big soup bowl. I added some tomato sauce to it and alas! There was only a little bit left in the bottle – around 1 spoonful or a little bit more, I think. In desperation, I poured a bit of the stock into the bottle and shook vigorously to rinse the inside and get all the sauce sticking to the side out. In the end, I think I had enough for my use.

I fried the remaining half of the chopped garlic in a little bit of cooking oil that I had added into the wok – there is no need to clean it and never mind that there may be traces of kway teow stuck to it as all that will come off eventually while you are cooking the gravy. Once, the garlic had turned brown, I added the prawns and the fish balls and stirred for a while before pouring in the tomato sauce-flavoured prawn stock and bringing it to boil. Then I added half a spoonful of sugar to counter the sour taste of the tomato sauce before I threw in the leaves of the green vegetables, cut…

TKT4

…and lastly, I poured in a bit of cornflour, diluted, and let the gravy boil till it had reached a nice consistency and thickness. Do not add too much or the gravy will be too thick and gooey and will not be nice.

Finally, I poured the gravy over the plate of kway teow

TKT5

…and sprinkled a bit of chopped spring onion on top and served.

Oops!!! I had forgotten to add any meat but it did not matter as it tasted great – good enough for me. You may want to add bits of chicken or pork, a bit of sotong (squid), if you have those and maybe a bit of pepper even but of course, that is all up to you. Once it is done, all you have to do would be to mix the gravy with the kway teow and everything else…

TKT 6

…and enjoy it to the max.

Come, do give it a try and see how well yours turns out. Mine was pretty good, I would say… Wink! Wink!

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28 thoughts on “I can do better…

  1. I always get hungry when I leave comments at midnight! You are cruel to post at midnight. All the food looks yummy to appease me.
    I was told that the best Sarawak Laksa are found in Kuching and Kuala Lumpur!

    KL? Never had good kolo mee and never had laksa there…but Auntie Irene’s the favourite of many, at Bangsar. Not too sure about 7th Mile’s (Kelana Jaya) – conflicting reviews, some say good…

    • I think is Aunty Christina at Bangsar or maybe I am wrong.

      Oops!!! Yes, it’s Christina. Now how did I get the name Irene – don’t tell me I had you on my mind? ;) Hehehehehehehe!!!!!

      • Shhhhhhh!!!!!…don’t say so loud. Thinking of me. Later your wife will turn your ears clockwise, hahaha!!!!!

        Not anti-clockwise kah? Kekekekeke!!!!!

  2. Everything looks great. The consistency of the fish ball is very interesting. I will definitely have to make my own and see how my daughter likes them. She does love noodles, so perhaps I’ll add them to the dish. We’ll see…

    They’re factory made, right here in Sibu…and they’re very well done. Just the right consistency and no fish smell plus they do not expand till the size of tennis balls when boiled – those, you can tell right away, would be mostly flour and artificial seasonings and hardly any fish. Great to add to instant noodles – will surely make it taste nicer.

  3. ahhh…. i like the generous amount of fish balls, quite an interesting dish that i would love to replicate, thanks for sharing.

    They came in a packet…and I did not want to keep, so I just threw all in. Not many, 10 only…and I cut into halves…so 20. Looks like a lot eh?

  4. no thank you.. i somehow find that the one you just fried but before the gravy was a lot nicer, haha!! maybe i do not fancy this type of starchy gravy style, either give me dry ones or soup ones and i would be happy.. :)

    Oh? So you’re the Penang char kway teow or mee mamak kind of guy then? I don’t mind noodles with thick gravy like wat tan hor or those Cantonese fried noodles – used to tapao at a place in PJ old town in the mid-80’s. Crispy but by the time I got back to college, the noodles would be soft and the gravy would have gone into them – very nice. Minus the egg and add tomato ketchup, you’ll get something like the Kuching version. Variety is the spice of life, otherwise it can get very boring, don’t you think?

  5. Tomato kway teow looks delicious. I used to buy the ready fried crispy mee and just cook the gravy. The gravy so red, looks sourish to me, prefer it a bit lighter though. At first glance, I thought it was mee pok you cook.

    Red? The Kuching ones are red, not mine. I only had a little bit left in the bottle, just a spoonful or more, and I was worried that I did not have enough – turned out very nice so it looked like that was the amount needed, not too much. If not nice, I would not have shared – would try and try again till I get it right and then blog about it. Things that I’ve cooked not very successfully, I just would keep quiet about it… Hehehehehehe!!!!

  6. Your version looks good, but I would like mine to be without tomato sauce.. I don’t really like tomato sauce, but normal “wat tan hor” gravy is ok to me.. In fact I like “wat tan hor” very much.. But I would love to have a try though, coz I always feel whatever you cook is always nice, keke..

    You’d love the Cantonese fried noodles in KL/Pj then. Used to buy at a shop in PJ old town in the mid-80’s. Dunno still there or not. I like!!! They fried the noodles til crispy and then they cooked the gravy and poured over the noodles – something like Kuching style minus the tomato sauce.

    Trouble with KL and the surrounding areas these days – chances are there would be a Bangla or an Indon or a Myanmarese cooking and more often than not, it is not nice at all. Have had lots of disappointments eating over at your side – no longer as nice as it used to be.

  7. Tomato kuay teow, first time heard about this, looks nice!

    They have it in Kuching and they do it very well too – of course, one must know the best places to go to. Very nice!

    P.S. Something wrong with your link? Should it be blogspot?

  8. Very nicely presented… can see but too bad cannot taste.. Ok, OK… must fly to SIBU, you will surely say…. if wanna go, I will have to reduce some kgs… no joke about that! :)

    Come, come. I’ll surely cook up a storm for you…like the last time you came…and we’ll go here, there and everywhere to eat…eat…and eat! You will not regret coming, that’s for sure!

  9. wow….you cooked your own version ! The kuey teow looks more like mee poh to me.

    It’s white though, flat rice noodles – mee pok would be yellowish, egg noodles…they’re worlds apart, definitely not the same. It’s not as nice as fresh kway teow, unfortunately, a bit like bihun actually but not exactly. Hard to describe…but I don’t think I would want to buy it again since it comes nowhere near the real thing.

  10. Wow, thanks for the step-by-step! Your home cooked version certainly looks more delicious and fish balls in abundance, hahaha! Ok will give it a try some time :)

    Go ahead. It’s nice…and I’m sure it would be a delightful change from the usual.

  11. Bravo! Bravo! Your tomato kway teow looks very, very, good indeed! So I guess if anyone visits you in Sibu there is no need to bother going out for the kway teow. You can just cook for them :)

    Actually, people coming to Sibu will hardly bother to eat our kway teow – nothing to shout about. This would be something a lot more worth worth the calories. ;)

  12. You are so good you can make dirt taste good !! I swear. LOL

    K, when you come back, I’ll cook some for you to enjoy. Muahahahahaha!!!!!

  13. Whoa! You’re the man. :-)

    Better to cook your own dish than eating ungood ones.

    That’s right. Actually I’ve a post on that coming up in a couple of days. Gee! Can you read my mind? ;)

  14. HI again suituapui! just passing by, nearing dinner time d, hungryyy

    Hi, Ivan. Nice to see you around, do drop by more often. So what’s for dinner? Your mum cooking? Or you’re in KL atm, not in Penang?

    • Yeahhh, currently staying with brother in kl! new semester starting soon. Mum’s here as well taking care of the grandson. Dinner’s on instagram! aha. Yes of course i will drop by as much as possible, started blogging again, hope i wont quit this time! haha

      Ah!!! I see. Good, good. Can bully the little kid, lots of fun. Muahahahahahaha!!! All the best to you in the new semester. Cheers!

  15. Wow…your tomato kway teow looks very good, don’t said want to cook for me again. hahahhahah

    I wonder if you can fried the kway teow first then pour the sauce over, it will taste good also?

    They do that in the shops – even the ordinary fried kway teow, wet. Fry first, then cook gravy and pour…just that the gravy is different from this tomato one. No problem, can cook anytime – very easy! :D

  16. Looks like too many fish balls…I usually like the “main” kway teow more not the side dish…but anyway it still looks very tasty to me!!! =]

    I took out one packet, not that many actually – just 10 and cut into two, 20…and used all. You know how I hate stuffing things in the fridge and keeping them – just use all and be done with it. I bought those for Chap Goh Meh – so long already, better use quickly. Otherwise, why on earth would I want to add so many fish balls? If fresh prawns, I wouldn’t mind one bit…not at all! The more the merrier! (…and those were the prawns I had left from Chap Goh Meh, only a few left)

    • Oic…..since Chap Goh Meh…then is quite awhile already…now can see why you want to finish them fast!!! =]

      Yes, and I simply cannot stand seeing things sitting the fridge for too long. Sometimes, I would just throw away. :(

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