Whenever I buy prawns, I like to de-shell and collect the shells in a container. It comes in handy when you need to make stock for soup. I have been freezing pureed vegetable cubes for Ah Boy and I needed to free up some fridge space. I decided to use up my stash of prawnshells, which is about 3 small ice cream tubs. Unknowingly, I have collected about 550g of prawnshells. I was quite shock when I weighed them. It is well worth the effort (and fridge space) as my parents and sis gave me the 'thumbs up' for the soup. My sis joked about the number of prawns died for the soup. Aiyo~ come to think of it, ya... very cruel but you want to eat or not? Most importantly, you want it to taste good or not? Haha!
I ccoked the soup version as I do not have the chilli to pair with it. Since I am making for my parents too, soup version is a healthier choice. Traditionally, the hawkers will serve this with chilli powder and chopped chillies. After cooking this, I realised I have taken hawkers' food for granted. The preparation part is rather tedious. I felt like charging them for this. These are the steps I have taken to prepare this hawker fare. I have this habit of planning the procedures beforehand so that no time is wasted and the process is smooth. I used bee hoon as I am not a fan of yellow noodles.
Six hours before assembling;
1) Thaw the frozen prawn shells. De-shell and de-veined the fresh prawns.
2) Trim off the fats from pork ribs and marinate with salt and pepper.
3) Cook stock, remove scum.
While stock is simmering;
1) Pick beansprouts, wash and cut kangkong.
2) Cut fish cake.
3) Soak bee hoon with tap water.
One hour before assembling, use a sieve to strain the stock. Squeeze out as much as possible (don't waste) and set aside.
Prawn Noodles/Bee Hoon (serves 6 adults and a toddler)
550g Prawn Shells
4 cloves Garlic, bruised
3.5 litres Chicken Stock (I used Swanson's)
3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
10g Rock Sugar
500g Pork Ribs
Some Olive oil
Other Ingredients (some of which I didn't weigh)
400g Bee Hoon, soaked (I used 新竹米粉)
Bean Sprouts, remove roots (I bought $0.20)
Kangkong, cut into lengths
Fish Cake, sliced (I bought 2 pieces)
30 medium size Prawns, de-shelled and de-veined
Some fried shallots for sprinkling
1) In a wok (do not use non stick), heat up the oil. Add garlic and fry till fragrant. Add in the prawn shells. Fry till the prawn shells are dry and a little crisp.
2) Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil, remove scum. Lower the heat to a simmer, lid slightly covered and simmer for 1 hour.
3) Meanwhile, put the pork ribs in a heat proof bowl, pour boiling water onto the ribs. Drain and repeat, set aside. Add in the pork ribs and bring soup to a boil, remove scum. Add rock sugar and fish sauce. Lower the heat to a simmer, lid slightly covered and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and let it sit for 2 - 3 hours to cool down before straining.
1) Bring the soup to a boil, throw in the prawns and remove from soup once cooked. Take out the pork ribs and set aside.
2) In another pot, bring water (my guess is I used about 1.5 litres to 2 litres) to boil. Using a sieve with long handle, throw in a handful of bee hoon. Let it boil for a couple of minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
3) Blanch the kangkong and bean sprouts till cooked. Throw in some fishcake slices before removing from water. Drain and arrange on top of the bee hoon.
4) Top with prawns and pork ribs. Pour soup and sprinkle fried shallots to complete. Serve with chilli powder or cut red chillies.
*Note : I used 新竹米粉 because I like its springy texture. Lesser risk of over-soaking and over-cooking it.
**Note : Leave the pork ribs in the soup while waiting for the soup to cool. The soup's flavour infused into the pork ribs very nicely. Also, the residual heat makes the pork ribs really tender.
***Note : Noticed I used minimal seasoning as there is some salt in the chicken stock and the fish sauce is salty too. I used rock sugar to balance out the taste. This is done according to the taste of my family. If need be, add some extra salt/fish sauce to taste.
****Note : The prawn shells comes in handy too when you use it as a soup base in place of dashi stock for miso soup.
I used more beansprouts and kangkong. I didn't halve the prawns too. Since it is homemade, why stinge? As I do not have enough containers, I used plastic bags to pack and bring to my parents. While cooking and packing, I really felt like a hawker. Ahahah~~ Everyone finished up the soup including Ah Girl. She asked if I will cook it again. Hmm.. let me consider first, tedious leh. I will wait till I have collected enough prawnshells and then decide what to do with them again. Never underestimate a simple looking bowl of noodles/bee hoon; is what I have learnt.
Happy cooking!~ それじゃ～～
*Update : A couple of friends asked me why did I pour boiling water on the pork ribs twice before cooking it. 1) This is to get rid of the blood and excess oil. If you don't do this step, you will more scums to remove. 2) This is also to get rid of the 'porky' smell (or is that such a word?).