"Loh shi fun literally means rat noodles. The noodle got its name from the way it looks as its shape resembles that of a rat’s tail. Loh shi fun is white and semi-transparent, and is made mainly from rice flour and corn flour. It is also smooth in texture. The noodle may be stir fried or served in soup, but the most common method is to serve it in a claypot."
Ahhh ... Loh Shi Fun (老鼠粉)! I grew up referring to it as Bee Tai Mak/Mee Tai Mak, and as a child, I wasn't too fond of it, to be honest. I associated it with "sick food" because it would only make its appearance whenever I was unwell. My grandmother would prepare a clear broth, boil the noodles along with some minced pork, drizzle a little soy sauce, and I would subsist on the same dish for the next few days.
Yes, it is perfect food when you're feeling poorly - but I'd have to look on painfully at my cousins chomping their fried chicken wings with grubby, oily fingers.
If I recall correctly, I never touched Loh Shi Fun again once I started school. By that time, I had moved back with my parents, and my mother - who can live on bread alone - changed my de facto "sick food" to ... surprise surprise ... sandwiches. Hur hur. And that was that. No more Loh Shi Fun for the next 3 decades or so. Not that it mattered!
Then recently, I spotted this Claypot Loh Shi Fun recipe, and decided to give it a shot. It looked and sounded so appetising, and very different from the version I used to eat. The recipe calls for prawns and pork. I used prawns, but substituted the pork with leftover fried fish from dinner the night before. They were batang fish steaks - very firm and which hold their shape even after I broke them into chunks with my fingers.
Actually, you can pretty much use any ingredient(s) you like - mushrooms, fish slices/chunks, squids, whatever floats your boat. It certainly makes for a simple and savoury one-dish meal. Definitely not "sick food" by any standard!
There are chunks of fish buried in there, somewhere!
(from Debbie Teoh at inSing)
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 small cloves garlic, chopped
- 80g minced prawns (I used whole prawns instead)
- 80g minced pork (I used overnight fried fish steaks, and broke them into large chunks)
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 300g Loh Shi Fun, rinsed in hot water and drained
- 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce (I changed this to almost 2 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp light soya sauce (I reduced this to just a dash, and used fish sauce instead)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp Chinese wine (I found this too overwhelming and would suggest cutting it down by half, or just a dash)
- Salt to taste (I didn't need this)
- 1 egg
- Spring onions
- Shallot crisps
- Sliced red chillies with soya sauce (optional)
1. Marinate minced prawns and pork with salt and pepper, set aside. If you are using whole prawns or other types of seafood, marinate them for about 10 mins in a little bit of light soya sauce, and a dash of Chinese wine.
2. In a bowl, combine seasoning ingredients and set aside.
3. Heat claypot with oil and sauté garlic until light browned. Then add in marinated meat/minced prawns/squids/fish chunks etc and give it a stir. Now, add Loh Shi Fun and seasoning ingredients.
* If using whole prawns, cook them first, remove and set aside. Then cook the rest of the meat/seafood.
4. Bring to a boil. Once the raw ingredients are cooked and the noodles are soft, adjust seasonings to taste.
5. Turn off heat, crack an egg and cover pot with its lid.
6. Stir the half cooked egg around just before serving. Top the dish with whole prawns (if using) and garnish with spring onions and shallot crisps.