I have been religiously saving prawn heads for the last couple months so that I could make Har Mee. Har Mee is a spicy prawn noodle soup served with a mix of hokkien and vermicelli noodles, whole prawns, boiled egg, water spinach and garnished with fried shallot. This is one of my favourite dish to order at a popular Malaysian eatery where I used to work. I always look forward to having this dish when it was available on the specials menu twice a week at this particular eatery, and would usually ask for Har Mee with just the hokkien noodles only .
The key to this dish is the flavoursome prawn broth, and the more prawn heads the better. I have accumulated 2 kilos of prawn heads just so I can make this dish. I just love the aroma of the garlic and prawns fried together. In addition to this dish is the homemade chilli paste which really enhances the dish. I have not added the chilli paste into the broth since my kids does not like spicy food, and this has given it a lighter and clearer broth.
Har Mee -Prawn Noodle Soup
2 kg of prawn heads (the more the better)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 kg of pork bones*
6 litres of water
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
25 dried chillies (de-seed and soak in water)
5 fresh chillies (de-seed)
5 gloves garlic
5 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons water
1kg hokkien noodles
1 kg prawns, peeled and deveined
250g of lean pork meat, cooked and thinly sliced
1 bunch of water spinach, washed and cut stem into sections
3 boiled eggs, shell removed and halved
Making the broth:
In a large stockpot, add oil and 3 minced garlic and fried until fragrant. Add the prawn heads and fried until aromatic and cooked.
Add the pork bones to the prawn heads and about 6 litres of water ensuring the water cover the bones. Bring to boil and let it simmer for 2 hours. Scoop out the orange foam.
After 2 hours, strain the broth through a sieve over another pot. Discard the bones and shells. Put broth on a low simmer. Add half the chilli paste (you can omit this if you don’t spicy broth). Season with salt and sugar. Simmer for another 20 minutes and do a final taste test before turning off heat.
Make the chilli paste:
Combine the chillies, garlic, shallot, oil and water into a small food processor until it becomes a fine paste.
Heat up the wok and add oil. Stir fry the chilli paste on a low heat for about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste.
In a frypan, fry the prawns in some oil and garlic until just cooked.
Prepare the pork meat by boiling in a pot. Once cooled, cut the meat into thin slices.
Prepare the noodles as per packet instructions.
Prepare the boiling egg and cut into halves.
Blanch the water spinach in boiling water and remove from water immediately.
When you are ready to serve, bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat while you are assembling the bowls with noodles. In each noodle bowls, place a couple pieces of pork meat on top and ladle the broth over the noodles. Add boiled egg, water spinach and top with some fried shallot.
* You can substitute the pork bones with pork ribs. To get a clear stock I first parboil the pork bones first before adding to the prawn stock. To do this cover the bones with water in a stockpot and bring to a high boil for 5 minutes. Rinse the bones under cold water before adding to the prawn heads.
* If you’re not a big fan of lean pork meat like us then you can substitute for shredded chicken drumsticks.
* Fried shallot is bought from Asian grocery.