Monday, January 5, 2009

Wat Dan Ho

Wat dan ho. This was the first try. The noodles could've been thinner, the egg rawer and there should've been more gravy, but the wok hei and taste were there so I was encouraged and planned another shot at the dish for the next day. This family was going to eat a lot of wat tan ho until I get it right.

2nd try in cooking wat tan ho. The family pronounced it as good as the restaurants'--was it to stop me from cooking it again tomorrow? But I accept the verdict unabashedly because I think my wat dan ho is even better--the noodles were home-made, unadulterated and fresh. Notice I'm keeping my resolution to serve more greens, to Wey's horror.

Wat= slippery, dan= egg, ho = flat rice noodles. Just 3 syllables in Chinese to 8 in English. Did you hear about the reason why Chinese are good/fast in math? No, not because God compensated us for small eyes, lack of height, boobs and legs. The reason became clear in 1999 when we struggled to say "sembilan belas (19) sembilan puluh (90) sembilan (9)" in Malay. That's 13 syllables against 4 syllables ("e jiu jiu jiu") in Chinese. Granted, you can still say "satu sembilan sembilan sembilan" (11 syllables) but that still makes you 22 syllables slower to answer if someone asked you what's 1999 + 1999. Unless you are good at Peter Piper and Seashells. Ok, that's my 2 cents for Random Monday.

Yeah, wat dan ho, a popular noodle dish in Malaysia and Singapore. It is the perfect noodle dish if you don't want dry-fried noodles or soupy noodles. The most notable thing about this dish is that the gravy is made slippery by the addition of a raw egg just before dishing out the noodles. And to me, the most important thing other than the taste is the wok hei. Wok= Chinese frying pan, concave in shape to increase surface area, prevent spilling and to concentrate heat, hei = heat. Many stir fry dishes can't be replicated at home because our hobs just can't fire up so much heat quickly. However, in Malaysia where all homes are open because we don't have a cold wind to keep out, you can have a strong ventilator or even better, an outdoor open kitchen like I have and fry away to nobody's business especially if you don't live in apartments.

To keep the heat of the wok, fry individual portions so that the noodles sear well. Defy that and your wat dan ho is bound to be bland. Now excuse me while I go put brow pencil on--the high heat can singe your brows. Remember the char kuey tiao aunty in Penang who wore goggles? Did you think she had such bad fashion taste??

Wat Dan Ho (1 large portion)
300 - 400 g kuey tiao (if chilled, let it come to room temp)
1/2 cup sliced meat*
1 /2 handful mustard greens, in short lengths

meat seasoning: use sliced pork or chicken or seafood and add big pinch of salt, a shake of pepper and 1/2 t cornflour to the meat. This is basic seasoning for meat in Chinese stir fries.

1 1/2 cup chicken stock (just use diluted Swanson's)
1/8 t salt
1/2 -1 t light soy sauce (depending on your taste)
a shake of pepper
1/2 t fine sugar
2 heaped t cornflour

extra : 1 T chicken stock mixed with 1/2 t light soy sauce
veg oil
1 egg

1. Put 1/2 T oil into a smoking hot wok. Use ladle to make sure the sides of the wok are well-oiled. Throw in the kuey tiao and let it sear; do not stir all the time. Turn the noodles over and sear other sides. This is done quickly because the heat is very high. You want brown but not burnt patches. When you see there's enough searing of the noodles, sprinkle in the extra sauce of 1 T stock mixed with 1/2 t light soy sauce, stir quickly and remove onto a plate. Arrange the noodles because you are going to pour the gravy on top. Keep warm.

2. Put 1 T oil into a clean wok (same wok can be used), add the meat, fry a few sec until meat has changed to white color, and add the veg and remove onto another plate or bowl.

3. Pour all the gravy ingredients into the same wok, stir and cover. When the gravy boils and thickens, add the fried meat & veg, let it start to boil, switch off the heat and crack the egg in, stir once or twice to break the egg yolk and quickly pour the gravy over the fried noodles. The egg should be quite raw as it will still cook in the gravy. You need to work quickly.

Top with fried pork fat crackling if like. Use pork oil to fry a tastier plate of wat tan ho but please, do that only once in a while.


"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

ultimate replicate this at home..using fresh home made hor fun looks soo good!! who would care abt the greens, if greens looked this good?

Precious Pea said...

Once again, am very very very impressed. No where in this world could get this any fresher and unadulterated. Looks really good. Why not attempt on Sang Har Hor Fun? Or Ginger Shallot Beef Strip Hor Fun?? Slurp slurp.

JACQ said...

My favourite dish! I've never tried cooking it by myself; always go out to have it. But yours looks SO delicious Terri!

Fooman said...

Do feel free to practice on our cell group. :)

ekeng said...

Omg...Wat dan ho is my all time favorite.

terri@adailyobsession said...

joe: looks can be deceiving :)

pp:u r really testing me here bc n if i take up ur suggestn, we'll be sick of ho fun bc i'm a perfectionist n i won't give up until i get it right! hmm...ginger shallot beef sounds very very tempting.

jacq: try it, u'll be surprised tt it really isn't tt hard. promise.

fooman: maybe u shd have meeting in my hse one day bc ho fun needs to be piping hot.

ekeng: ekeng kaizai, tt's a big cupcake...ok, next time u come to kk, i'll cook u a plate of wat tan charge.

ekeng said...

Thanks Terri kaima, i will go back on next week for a plate of wat dan ho. I am not kidding, i will go back KK on 16 Jan. See ya.

Linda said...

What is the difference between this and hor fun?

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

hey the 2nd pic was very outstanding ! so real until I wanted to grab it from the monitor! ;p

terri@adailyobsession said...

ekeng: give me a call!

linda: ho fun. hor fun. same :D

denise: ha, u think tt's d d90? no, it's my old lumix. i don't even want to meddle with the nikon. i have a fear of learning to use new gadgets. d only pic taken with the d90 is the 1st pic on the flat rice noodles. no big diff ya?

AlmaGrafico said...

its look yummy..

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