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Saturday’s here. My parents decided to have an open house today and invited a whole lot of guests to come over for lunch and as I had mentioned before, mom attempted to cook dad’s traditional Hing Hwa family specialty noodles – fondly known to us as Soo Meen (pronounced something like Sue Mean). Well, mom wasn’t alone today. She had a lot of helpers – me, my siblings, my cousin and my wonderful aunts who really helped her out in making the dish just right. I didn’t manage to learn to cook it this year. Guess what my job was this morning? Fry eggs. Great. I did it the best I could and I must say, I believe I did a very good job frying one and half big trays of eggs. The consistency, the thickness, the amount of seasonings and burnt areas all needed to be done to its perfection, and not to forget having to flip the egg over without breaking it. I was pretty proud of myself.
Take a look at the photo I managed to take with my oily hands. See the perfectly rounded flipped egg with its yummy yellow texture, ensuring the thinnest thickness on the pan with its beautifully cooked ends and centre areas? They were delicious eggs.
By about noon, the table was laid with all the ingredients and everything was ready to be served. Preparation began 2 days before, it’s not as easy as setting it all in one morning.
Here were the ingredients for our soo meen. Yup. That’s a LOT of things to put in a bowl of noodles.
Previously, I had plans of writing up the recipe for it…but had second thoughts. It’s our Hing Hwa little secret! I can’t expose this little goody recipe just like that. You’ll have to visit a Hing Hwa family (like mine) for Chinese New Year to have a taste of the noodle yourself… maybe marry into the Hing Hwa family (like my aunts), or be born in it in order to be considered eligible to share the recipe with! lol. Anyway, but I felt that there’s absolutely no harm for me to share photos of the ingredients you’ll need to have a complete old-fashion dish of soo meen.
Allow me walk you through it….
First, you’ll need a bowl (of course!) deep enough to store up a big load of good stuff.
Now, scoop a really hefty amount of our special not-easily-available Hing Hwa noodles. A good hefty amount. It’s so tasty, hefty is usually even not enough. Trust me.
Then dish out some shredded chicken breast meat – depending how much you love chicken meat. They were cooked just enough so that the meat maintains its softness and still succulent.
Next, mushrooms, specifically, Chinese black mushrooms…sliced into thin pieces, which have been soaked and cooked to its softest. This gives the dish its sweet flavour.
I’m not exactly sure what this ingredient this, but I believe this is a type of oyster. Don’t be frightened by how they look. They ARE oysters – adding the seafood element to the taste and its chewy consistency makes each bite of a different ingredient very special.
Here comes the healthier part of the dish, I suppose.. the vegetable portion. Two kinds are needed. The crunchy Chinese peas…
…and the leafy Choi Sum vegetables. Both not only add the nutritious fibre content, but it brings on colour too, as the other ingredients are within the brown/orange-y hue.
Now, my wonderfully done eggs, sliced into proportionately symmetrical little pieces (by my aunt and cousin), giving the beautiful yellow colour to the big picture. Nobody says no to eggs (except, of course, those who are allergic to them!).
Thereafter…. nuts, fried to a point which emits the most fragrant smell and they most definitely add a lot of crunch to each bite. A very recommended addition to the chunk of ingredients you would have placed into your bowl by now.
This next ingredient really brings forth dimension and it stretches the spectrum of tastes you would have gotten from the various ingredients mentioned above. Apparently, this seaweed can only be bought from China (I didn’t know that!) and really, Soo Meen will not be the same without the seaweed element. Extremely flavourful even though they’re only in really tiny pieces. Its absence will most definitely be felt. A must to top it all up. Just a scoopful is enough to trigger your tastebuds.
I would consider these more for decorative purposes rather than for flavour, that’s because they’re almost tasteless to me….but not for some others, I know. Some people just can’t take spring onions at all. Just sprinkle bits of cut up spring onions and coriander on top of your already mountainous bowl of goodies.
Here’s how your product should look like. Yup, it’s pretty similar to the picture I’ve post up before, but here’s my sister’s version of how she’d arrange her ingredients in the bowl. The thingys are placed and stacked to give a neat and appetizing presentation for the receiver- my sister’s friend.
(I got my sister to set up a bowl and take a picture of it while I was occupied being the temporary maid-who-does-the-dishes-so-that-new-guests-will-have-clean-bowls-to-eat-with. Btw, it was a great job. I felt important…seriously)
As you can see, the yummy noodles are really, literally buried within treasures. Everything loaded together gives an extremely scrumptious summed up taste in every nibble and chew, made out of the best of every single ingredient – so precious that the incredible experience may only be savoured once every year.
And there you have it… our very own soo mean from the Hing Hwa family.