How to Make Penang Hokkien Mee Paste & Crispy Fried Shallots

Twitch livestream #4 was a case of 2 steps forward, one step back. I introduced an overlay which helped clean up my screen layout, and also decided to zoom in the camera so my work area is cropped out and it doesn’t look like I’m broadcasting from the middle of a warzone.

I also decided to switch back to my original microphone – remember the one that I switched out because of construction work just prior to my first broadcast?. Well evidently my restless tweaking of the last week meant I’d managed to optimise my settings for that replacement mic so that this one now had me sounding muffled.

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This broadcast is based on two recipes I’d previously covered, though I’ve cleverly renamed the first one so it sounds like a totally new dish. In fairness, it is in fact known by a different name up north – Penang Hokkien Mee – to what I grew up knowing ie. Har Meen.

I mention in my broadcast that the original Penang version would usually have chilli in the paste, but you’ll have to watch it for my explanation for its omission. Another point to note, were this not in paste format and I were wanting to make a soup for immediate consumption, I would have used rock sugar instead of regular white sugar.


  • 8 cups prawn shells including heads
  • ¾ cup chicken powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsps pepper
  • ½ cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 6 dried chillies, boiled until soft (optional)
  • ½ cup oil


  1. Combine prawn shells and garlic cloves and fry about 2 minutes or until most of the moisture has been reduced. Add oil and fry until aromatic.
  2. Add all other ingredients except dried chillies, fry until mixed through and sugar is dissolved.
  3. Transfer into a food processor or Thermocook or Thermomix, add boiled dried chillies and blend until smooth.
  4. Store in refrigerator for up to 10 weeks.
  5. To use, reconstitute 2 Tbsps with 500ml boiling water, then strain into bowl of separately-blanched noodles, prawns, boiled eggs and kangkung (ongchoy) etc.
  6. Top with crispy fried shallots.

How to Make Crispy Fried Shallots/Onions


  • 5 large brown onions, peeled
  • Oil for deep-frying


  1. Use a mandolin on thin setting to evenly slice onions.
  2. Heat oil to approx 200°C; add 1-2 handfuls of onion and fry until at least 2-3 shades before the final shade of brown you require.
  3. Remove with a sieve and toss in colander or bowl lined with paper towels.
  4. Repeat with rest of onion slices.
  5. Important – when deep-frying make sure you don’t fill the oil up to too high a level – you need to allow plenty of room in the wok or saucepan for the oil to bubble up when the onion is added.


Penang Hokkien Mee

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