Malaysian Fried Rice Vermicelli Noodles (Bihun Goreng)
Bihun Goreng Is Popular Throughout Southeast Asia
Rice vermicelli, or bihun, is a type of thin rice noodle. It tends to get sticky and clump together when it is cooked; however, you can easily prevent the stickiness by soaking the noodles in warm water for 60 seconds or less and then draining. (Soaking for more than 60 seconds can cause the noodles to become soggy.)
The dish is widely known in many Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei. For example, in Indonesia, there are several variations, including bihun rebus, bihun goreng (same name as in Malaysia), bihun soto, and many more. In Singapore, the most common rice vermicelli dish is called hokkien mee.
In Malaysia, bihun goreng is one of the most famous rice vermicelli dishes. It is sold by street vendors and in the mamak stalls (open-air food establishments). Flavourful and often spicy, this dish is fried in oil with dried red chilies, garlic, shallots, bean sprouts, chives, mustard greens, and shrimp, prawns, or chicken. The combination makes for a very delicious meal.
My Simple and Delicious Bihun Goreng
Growing up, I usually ate this dish with my family for breakfast. The noodles had the perfect balance of taste: spicy, sweet, and salty. My mother usually cooked this breakfast whenever we met together for a weekend gathering in our hometown.
This dish is simple to make. For this recipe, I used the simplest of ingredients: chicken, shrimp, mustard greens, and bean sprouts (which brings a crunchy texture and a refreshing taste). Most of these ingredients will be easy to find at any Asian market near you.
This dish is also very easy to adapt for vegetarians. All you have to do is leave out the meat during the preparation.
Let's take a look at the ingredients.
- 2 layers (200 grams) rice vermicelli noodles
- 6-8 shrimps or prawns, deveined
- 1 boneless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
- 7-8 dried red chilies, seeded, soaked in hot water, and drained
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 shallots
- 4 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
- Water for blending
- 1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed
- 2 cups mustard greens, rinsed and chopped
- Cooking oil
- 2 Asian red and green peppers or Serrano peppers, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
- Fried shallots for garnishing
- In a large bowl of warm water, soak the noodles for 60 seconds, drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Prepare the paste: In a blender, combine dried red chilies, garlic, shallots, and add some water. Blend until it makes a paste.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or a large pan over medium heat. Saute the paste until it is fragrant.
- Add the chicken breast into the paste. Stir occasionally for 3 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Throw in the shrimp or prawns into the mixture. Stir occasionally for 1 minute.
- Add the sweet soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce, and salt. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Add the noodles and stir-fry continuously until the noodles are well-combined.
- Add the mustard greens and the bean sprouts. Stir for a few minutes and turn off the heat.
- Place noodles on a plate or in a bowl. Garnish with the fried shallots and thinly sliced peppers.
- Serve immediately.
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