Stick together…

This award-winning café has called it a day but no, it wasn’t because of COVID-19. It was before the pandemic outbreak when the owner decided that she had had enough. I do not know what they have there now – I did drive past a couple of times and it looked something like a coffee shop with food stalls and what not.

In the meantime, some of the employees are jobless or maybe they are working elsewhere but at such trying times, it is good that there are people finding ways and means to make ends meet. I’ve seen a lot who have set up makeshift stalls at their gates but I’ve yet to stop by any to see what they are selling. One of the former employees is selling shallot oil…

Shallot oil

– I think a bottle like this is RM7.00 or maybe, RM8.00. My sister bought that for me so I do not really know the price.

That is definitely very convenient when one wants to cook one’s own noodles. There is no need to peel and slice shallots to fry for the fragrant oil to use to toss the noodles. Of course, one will not have the nice fried shallots to garnish one’s noodles but I hear the enterprising lady is selling those as well.

And talking about noodles, I came across this Youtube video clip on cooking Foochow red wine mee sua and I was aghast at the sight of how they cooked the mee sua in the chicken soup (1:20). We do not do that here – instead, we cook the noodles, drain well and place it in a bowl and then, we pour the soup over the noodles and serve with a piece of chicken or two. I decided to watch a few more video clips and I saw that most, if not all, of them cooked it that way, in the soup! No wonder the soup of the celebrated mee sua I had at Jalan Alor in KL

Jalan Alor, KL mee sua

…was murky and starchy, not palatable at all, plus the wine was sweet, definitely not something to my liking and no, I did not finish it!

It so happened that I had a packet of mee sua due to expire at the end of the month…

Mee sua expires 31.8.2020

…so I decided to cook it the other morning. I think I bought that during my panic buying when the COVID-19 MCO partial lockdown started in March. It certainly would be a good idea to look through the things you bought then and have not eaten – who knows, some may be due for expiry and should be consumed quickly.

When you boil mee sua, you will need a lot of water so it will not be so salty when served. When my mum cooked it in my younger days, she did it very quickly so that the noodles would not be too soft and because of this, she never added salt to the chicken soup she cooked. She said the salt in the mee sua would make it salty. I like my noodles soft so I would cook it a little bit longer and you can see how the water turns murky and starchy…

Cooking mee sua

…in the process. That will remove the starch in the noodles and the salt as well so you can imagine cooking it in the soup and serving it like that. If you are eating it right away, you can just drain the noodles well and place it in a bowl. Then, you put the soup into the bowl and mix with the noodles thoroughly, loosening the strands so they will not stick together.

If you are not eating it right away, you will find that the noodles will all stick together in a clump and adding the soup to it does not really help. I would drain the noodles and rinse it well and then I would put it in water to get the strands loose and separate them…

Rinse well

Repeat till the water is clear and once I am happy enough, I would drain the noodles well and move on to the next step.

If I am serving the mee sua dry, I would put the noodles back into some hot/boiling water to heat it up – I am sure nobody enjoys cold noodles (though there are those served with ice in some cuisines). After that, I would toss the mee sua after draining it really well with all the ingredients like what I had that day when I cooked the aforementioned pack with Bovril garnished with thinly sliced omelette, chili and spring onion. See how the strands stand out singly, not sticky and all stuck together…

Strands of mee sua

Of course you would not need to “reheat” the noodles if you are having it with piping hot traditional Foochow red wine chicken soup. It will do the job for you.

I sure enjoyed my Bovril mee sua

My Bovril mee sua

…that morning – come to think of it, I have not had it for sometime and that bottle of shallot oil sure came in handy.