How to Make Seremban Beef Noodles (Ngau Lam Fun)

This, folks, represents my culinary raison d’être – the world famous Seremban Beef Noodles, otherwise known (in Cantonese) as Ngau Lam Fun; one of countless childhood memories that finally lured me away from IT consultancy and into food full-time some 17 years ago. To expand on that a little, the reason I got into this “food thing” was partly to recreate the food of my years of growing up in Malaysia, and partly to preserve street food recipes that run the risk of getting lost with the passing of the old guard.

Seremban wasn’t much more than a sleepy former mining town back in the day, but this dish (along with Seremban Siew Pao – baked buns), sold at the Pasar Besar Seremban (wet market) brought travellers from as far away as Singapore to savour it. For years, there was talk about people persistently offering large sums of money to the stall owner for the recipe, only to get persistently rebuffed.

This is where I step in – well, actually my stepmom – she was the one who hacked the recipe after we moved to Australia, and I ended up adding it to my restaurant menu (if you don’t know my backstory – no, I no longer own a restaurant; I gave it up in 2013 to look after my severely disabled baby, Noah).

Recipe below involves a degree of guesstimating (agak-agak) because, well, that’s how I roll.

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Seremban Beef Noodles

INGREDIENTS:

3kg beef bones
1kg chicken bones
5L water

Meat marinade –

2kg beef brisket, cut into 2” strips
2 Tbsps sesame oil
2 Tbsps thick soy
2 ½ Tbsps chicken stock granules
2 tsps five spice powder
80ml light soy
2 TBS cooking wine
150mls sugar
1 Tbsp ground pepper
1 cup water

Sauce 1 –

1/3 cup oil
2 Tbsps garlic
1 cups sugar
3 Tbsps chicken powder
3 Tbsps water + 3 Tbsps tapioca flour
Meat marinade from pressure cooker

Sauce 2 –

2 Tbsps oil
1 Tbsp garlic
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 ½ Tbsps chicken stock granules
½ TBS pepper
1L beef stock
4 Tbsps tapioca flour + 4 Tbsps water

Tapioca rice noodles
Salted mustard leaves
Peanuts, skin on – roasted or deep-fried
Sesame seeds, roasted
Coriander leaves and spring onion for garnishing

METHOD:

  1. Make beef stock by simmering beef and chicken bones for at least 2-3 hours.
  2. Combine beef brisket with marinade ingredients; pressure cook until tender.
  3. To make sauce 1 (dark sauce), heat oil, then add garlic and saute.
  4. Add beef and meat marinade from pressure cooker.
  5. Add sugar and chicken powder, simmer until thickened.
  6. Add tapioca starch & water mixture to thicken further.
  7. Remove beef and allow to cool, then slice.
  8. To make sauce 2 (light sauce), heat oil, then add garlic and saute, followed by oyster sauce.
  9. Add beef stock, chicken powder and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  10. Thicken with tapioca starch & water mixture.
  11. Separately blanch tapioca rice noodles (aka rice spaghetti), then serve topped with beef slices, both sauces, salted mustard leaves, roasted peanuts and sesame seeds.
  12. Serve with a side of beef soup made by seasoning beef stock with a sprinkling of chicken powder and white pepper.

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