This is a fuss-free, simple and healthy (uses no MSG!) dish that I loved to cook for a quick lunch fix or during a cold day when some soupy food is desired. The original recipe comes from my mom – she loves to use all kinds of leftover vegetables in this dish and it’s an incredibly homey and comfort food for us all. The soup base is cooked using onions and dried anchovies (popularly known as ikan bilis in Asia) but chicken stock can be substituted for the soup. All kinds of vegetables can be used – cabbage, sugar snap peas, carrot, mushrooms, corn etc, just use whatever is leftover in the fridge!
For my version, I rummaged the fridge and found some leftover carrot and chicken fillet. So, I grabbed some shiitake mushrooms and an egg to complete this meal. Wish I had more varieties of vegetables to add into this bowl of nutritious soup! On to the step-by-step photos!
List of ingredients (clockwise from left): chopped onion, carrot, ikan bilis, egg, shiitake mushrooms
Middle: Ee Mein (伊面)
Ee Mein is a type of Asian noodle made with eggs and wheat flour. It is golden in colour (due to the eggs) and has a chewy texture (due to soda water being used in making the noodles). The noodles are bundled into a patty-like shape then deep-fried till crispy and dried. It can be cooked in various ways – soup, stir-fried and braised.
Ikan bilis are actually dried anchovies in Malay. It is widely used in many Asian dishes. My mom will often pan-fry the larger ikan bilis till crispy and serve it as garnish on top of vegetables (imagine eating vegetables with an extra crunch!).
The smaller ones are often used in soups to develop a deep and rich flavour.It is a great source of protein, though it’s pretty salty.
Let’s marinade the meat first!
Add some light soy sauce…
Some sesame oil.
Dash of white pepper.
And some corn flour to make the meat tender.
Mix the meat and set aside for 15 minutes.
Heat some oil in a pot and sear the meat till golden.
Remove the meat and add in the ikan bilis.
Next, in goes the chopped onion.
Fry until translucent then add in water.
If you want to skip cooking the soup base, chicken or vegetable stock can be used.
Bring to a boil and add in chicken, shiitake mushrooms and carrot. (Or any other vegetables you want to use.)
Simmer for a while and then add in the noodles and the egg.
Cook till the noodles have softened. Season and serve immediately!
I’m going to link this dish to Recipe Box #13 hosted by Chaya!
- ~80 to 100 grams chicken fillet, diced
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- A little white pepper
- 1 heaping teaspoon corn flour
- ¼ red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoons dried anchovies (ikan bilis) or icefish (Neosalanx tangkahkeii taihuensis), rinsed once (to get rid of some salt) then drained
- 3 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water till soft, stem removed and sliced (reserve the mushroom water)
- ⅓ small carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 bundle of ee mein
- 1 egg
- Salt to taste
- Combine the chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and corn flour and leave aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
- In a small pot, heat a little oil till hot and sear the chicken until browned all over. The chicken doesn't have to be cooked thoroughly. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the same pot, add in a little more oil and stir fry the ikan bilis / ice fish and the onion until the ikan bilis is slightly golden and the onion is translucent. Use the mushroom water and fill up to half a bowl of water, add it in with the ikan bilis and onion and bring to boil.
- Once the water has boiled, add in the chicken, shiitake mushrooms and carrot. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the soup is flavourful.
- Add in the noodles and egg and cook until the noodles have softened. If you like your egg to have oozy yolk, add in the egg slightly later. Season with salt to taste.
- Transfer into a bowl and serve immediately.
- For instant soup base, use a good quality vegetable or chicken stock (stock cubes can be used too).
- Use all kinds of vegetables!
- If ee mein can’t be found, substitute with your favourite noodles – vermicelli, egg noodles etc.
- I realized I made a mistake in the explanation of ikan bilis. Ikan bilis are indeed dried anchovies. In Chinese, it’s called jiang yu zai (江魚仔). Anchovies are salt-water fish and are often processed and preserved by gut and salt them in brine, then packed in oil or salt. In Asia, they are often salt then dried. It can be used to make soup base, pan-fried / deep-fried to serve as side dish. The small fishes that I used in this recipe are called
silver fishicefish – if you google them you’ll just end up on a Wiki page on this bug also known as silverfish... The scientific name for this is Neosalanx tangkahkeii taihuensis. In Chinese, it’s called yin yu (银鱼), which directly translates to silver fish. It is a freshwater fish that is more commonly used in Asian dishes. In Asian markets, we are able to get fresh ones and dried ones. The fresh ones are translucent (a little milky in colour) and are used mainly in stir-fry dishes. The dried ones are white in colour and are used mainly in soups for flavour. Our family prefer to use silver fishicefish to make soup base as it’s lighter in taste – dried anchovies’ has a stronger “fishy” taste. Both types of fish are suitable to be used to make this dish, so I guess it is up to each and everyone’s taste!
- ~80克 鸡柳肉,切丁
- 1 茶匙 酱青
- ½茶匙 麻油
- 少许 白胡椒
- 1大匙 蜀粉
- ¼ 红洋葱，切小丁
- 1 大匙 银鱼仔，冲洗几次去除盐分
- 3朵 香菇，泡软，根去除，切小片 （留住泡香菇的香菇水）
- 1小段 胡萝卜，去皮切片
- 1片 伊面
- 1 鸡蛋
- 少许 盐
- 在小锅热油,加入鸡肉抄一下 。鸡肉不必全熟，待金黄色捞起放一边。