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Mee Siarn – Rice Noodles in Spicy Tamarind Gravy Recipe

Mee Siarn - Rice Noodles in Spicy Tamarind Gravy Recipe

Mee Siarn – Rice Noodles in Spicy Tamarind Gravy Recipe

This Nonya specialty—noodles in a spicy sweet and sour broth—is a popular snack at food stalls throughout Singapore.

Ingredients :

  • 30 dried chillies (about 100 g), cut into lengths, deseeded and soaked in water to soften
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 250 g (8 oz) dried rice vermicelli (beehoon), soaked in hot water to soften
  • 2 cups (150 g) bean sprouts, rinsed, seed coats and tails removed, or cabbage
  • 4 cakes deep-fried tofu or aburage (about 200 g/ 7 oz total), diced, or 2 cakes pressed tofu (300 g/ 10 oz), diced and pan-fried until golden brown
  • 250 g (8 oz) medium fresh prawns, boiled for 1 to 2 minutes in 3 cups (750 ml) water, drained, shelled and deveined, prawn stock reserved
  • 8 quail eggs, halved, or 2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and cut into wedges
  • 2 spring onions or garlic chives (koo chye), cut into lengths, to garnish Sambal Belachan, to serve
  • 4 small limes (limau kasturi), halved, or regular limes to serve


  • 5 tablespoons dried prawns, soaked in water to soften
  • 10 candlenuts, roughly chopped
  • 8-10 shallots, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon belachan (dried prawn paste)
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) unsalted peanuts, roasted and coarsely crushed
  • 3 tablespoons black bean paste (tau cheo), mashed
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons tamarind pulp mashed with 1 cup (250 ml) warm water, squeezed and strained for juice
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, thick bottom third only, outer layers removed, inner part bruised
  • 1/2 tablespoon black soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Method :

  1. Prepare the Sambal Belachan by following the instructions on page 30. Grind the dried chillies to a paste in a blender, transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Sauce by grinding the dried prawns, candlenuts, shallots, garlic and belachan in a blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the blades turning. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and and gently stir-fry the ground paste for 5 minutes. Add the peanuts, black bean paste and sugar, and stir-fry for another minute. Add the reserved prawn stock, tamarind juice, lemongrass and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry 3 tablespoons of the reserved chilli paste for 1 minute. Then add the noodles and continue to stir-fry just long enough to coat with the paste so they take on a red colour, about 1 minute.
  4. To serve, divide the noodles into 4 serving bowls. Top the noodles with bean sprouts, fried tofu, prawns and eggs. Ladle the hot Sauce over and garnish with spring onions or chives. Serve with a small bowl of Sambal Belachan and lime halves on the side.

Serves 4
Preparation time : 25 mins
Cooking time : 15 mins


Source :
the food of Singapore
Simple Street Food Recipes from the Lion City
by David Wong & Djoko Wibisono
photos by Luca Invernizzi Tettoni
introduction by Lee Geok Boi


See also Singapore Cooking “Classic Hokkien Mee – Braised Noodles with Seafood Hokkien Style Recipe”