Making braised yee mee always makes me feel sentimental because it was the first dish my mum ever taught me to make.
It’s her go-to solution for days when she can’t decide what to cook. Why? Because it’s easy, tasty, and a Malaysian kitchen always has the basic ingredients for a yummy yee mee.
Time and again, I’ve found myself reverting to this dish when I’m stumped for cooking ideas, or when I want something comforting and saucy.
Along the way, I’ve given it my personal healthy touch. In the original recipe, Mum uses fresh wantan noodles and deep-fries them in a wok of oil. Sure that’s super delicious, but it’s also not very healthy.
Where I live in Kuala Lumpur, I have easy access to lots of organic and health foods. So on a whim, I tried replacing it with baked organic, vegetable-based yee mee and found that I love it! Pumpkin yee mee works the best. The pumpkin adds a nice sweetness to the dish and I love the healthier benefits.
I’ve tried a number of organic pumpkin yee mee, but so far my favourite is this product from Cottage Farm. The noodles are thinner than the other versions in the market plus it’s made from real pumpkin flesh, not pumpkin juice, so more bulk, yay!
Braised yee mee is the perfect one-pot dish for the post-COVID age of frugality. You can use up vegetable scraps. Think wilting cabbage, your last bits of carrot, bean sprouts, any kind of mild-tasting vegetables are fine. For protein, I usually use chicken and/or prawns, but you can also add fishballs and other kinds of meat. To bump up the umami factor, I often add mushrooms and make my own prawn or chicken stock where possible.
Here’s the basic recipe for braised yee mee.
Watch how to make braised yee mee
Braised Yee Mee
- 1 1/2 noodle cakes (see notes)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 50g boneless chicken meat, cubed and seasoned with salt
- 80g prawns, seasoned with salt
- 3 dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated - keep water.
- 1/2 cup cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1/4 carrot, julienned
- 1 1/2-2 cups water or stock, including water from soaking mushrooms
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce
- pinch of white pepper
- Heat up oil in wok. Add in chicken and spread out on the wok. Chicken takes longer to cook, so best to add it in first.
- Put in chopped garlic, julienned carrots and cabbage. Adding the carrots in early, at this stage, helps flavour the oil. Add shrimps.
- Add dark soya sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper and stir to mix evenly. Now add water to form gravy. Start with 1 cup first.
- Add noodles. Press the noodle cakes gently and break them up with your spatula (wok chan).
- Once noodles are soft enough, serve up!
- This recipe can be easily vegan-ized. Replace prawn/chicken stock with vegetable stock, and add more mushrooms, carrots and cabbage in place of the meat. You can also use vegetarian oyster sauce.
- For the sauce, I use prawn stock since I make large batches of this ahead of time. However, if you don't have the time, you can use stock cubes or even just water- the vegetables, meat and sauces will contribute enough flavour to the dish.
- If you wish, you can break in an egg at the end of the cooking process to get a more "wat tan hor" kind of sauce. Turn off the fire - the heat is enough to cook the egg. Thanks for the tip, Choen!