Monday, September 23, 2013

Bishan White Bee Hoon - A Touch of Finesse

Since posting my own home version of the original Sembawang white bee hoon recipe, I thought it might be interesting if I could refine it and elevate to something that would not look and taste out of place in a fine dining establishment.

In doing so, my recipe has been modified and I have since named this version my definitive Bishan white bee hoon. It adds a couple of extra ingredients and coupled with a more elegant plating, it is now a favorite of Pauline's.

The key to making this dish has always been the stock and since making it a few times, I have also refined the way it is to be cooked. It is quite a simple dish, but the key is the stock and the cooking of the bee hoon itself.

To begin, make the stock by peeling about a dozen prawns and put the shells and the heads into a saucepan. Add in at least a quarter of a cake of butter into the pan and melt the butter with the shells.

Once the butter has melted down to a sauce like texture, add in about a litre of chicken stock and 2 fresh scallops and let the stock simmer for about an hour under a low heat. Typically, you should have about half a pot of stock or at the minimum, a third of a pot.

In the meantime, soak the bee hoon in water for about 20 minutes or so and drain the water and set the bee hoon aside. The key difference here is the addition of the scallops into the broth which gives it an added sweetness of the ocean.

In a wok, heat up with oil and get ready 2 beaten eggs. Add in the eggs when the wok is just about hot, but not too hot as it will cook the eggs too fast. As the eggs begin to set, throw in the bee hoon and stir vigorously.

Make sure the bee hoon and the egg mixture are well mixed and stir until you can hear the bee hoon sizzle in the wok. Make sure also the heat is at its maximum when you add in the bee hoon.

Now add in 2 ladles worth of the stock and let the bee hoon absorb the mixture well. Cover with a lid to aid in the cooking process and preserve the heat within.

After a minute or so, remove the lid and the noodles should have fully absorbed the liquid by now. Add in another 2 ladles worth and stir. Now, add some finely chopped garlic and mix well.

Now comes the more European portion. In a flat pan, heat it up with oil for a few minutes until the pan is piping hot. Take about 6 scallops and season it well with pepper.

Place the scallops into the hot pan and let it caramelize for about a minute or so. Once it is nicely caramelized, flip it over and just cook it for another half minute and then remove from the pan. If your pan is not hot, you will take longer to caramelize so make sure the pan is really hot.

In the wok, add in some chinese greens of your choice, I prefer to use bak choy or xiao bai chai and toss it until the vegetables wilt and are properly cooked. Add in fresh prawns and let it cook for a minute inside the mixture.

Finish the noodles with some more stock and you can then serve the dish. Plate the noodles first and then just place the scallops on top.

At any juncture, you can always add more stock if the noodles get too dry, but it really depends on your kitchen and your wok so you may have to adjust this on your own. Personally, I prefer to have more stock used but make sure it is properly absorbed and not too watery.

There is always a misconception that dishes like noodles need to see a lot of watery sauce  which is the wrong way to eat noodles. The best noodle dishes are those that the noodles have absorbed the stock thoroughly into the noodles themselves, and leave little watery reminiscence on the plate itself.

There you have it. My Bishan white bee hoon. 

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