Kolo Mee which literally means dried noodle is a dish that has a deep connotation with Sarawak. Those who have been to Sarawak or heard about it would at least be familiar with this dish. It is so commonplace that one can easily find at least a ‘kolo mee‘ stall in a local kopitiam (a cafe with open air concept and with many stand-alone stalls) in Kuching, Sarawak. A dish well-liked by both kids and adults, it is served throughout the day be it for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or supper. Personally, I treat it as a comfort food. In my viewpoint, the taste of kolo mee is more or less similar from one stall to the other with some more highly favoured by the public. The distinctive difference could be the texture of the noodles, the seasonings or the topping(s). Some stalls boast their noodles are handmade. Well, what one prefers may differ from the other. As for me, what matter the most is my preference of the slightly curly, springy noodles.
I managed to bring back 2 packs of the dried ‘Kolo Mee’ noodle from my recent trip to Malaysia. Although I have made this dish multiple times using other dried noodles that bear resemblance to that of ‘Kolo Mee’ noodle, nothing beats the original noodles. As I said that it is the noodles that captured me, I prioritise the noodles that I used.
So, what actually is Kolo Mee? The word Kolo Mee derives from the Hokkien dialect (one of the Chinese dialects) which if directly translated means dried tossed noodles as the noodles is first cooked in boiling water and then tossed with seasoning. In its most basic form, it is a dish of slightly curly, springy noodles tossed with seasonings of pork lard, shallot oil, soy sauce, pepper and vinegar and finished off with toppings of char siew (barbequed pork), ground pork, fried shallot and green onion. Nowadays most stalls offer some variation to suit the taste of many. Some prefer char siew sauce with red coloring which gives a sweeter taste, some loves the taste of black vinegar which gives the noodles a darker color, some crave for other toppings such as fish ball, prawn, wonton or even beef.
Kolo Mee is fairly easy to make at home. There are 3 components to make Kolo Mee. 1. Noodles 2. Seasonings 3. Toppings. Let me show you how I make mine.
1. Noodles – Of course, the best choice is to use the Kolo Mee noodles. But if it is hard to get this noodles, use any egg noodles which has close resemblance to Kolo Mee noodles. Egg noodles usually can be found in Asian grocery stores.
The photos above show two different brands of Kolo Mee noodles. I prefer the one on the left as it is thinner and is more curled. As I have used up the noodles on the left, I will be using the noodles on the right for this post.
2. Seasoning. Some claims that the use of pork lard enhance the taste of Kolo Mee. But personally, I prefer not to use pork lard for health reason. Combine 3 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 5 tablespoon of shallot oil (refer to the No.3 Shallot Oil & Fried Shallot for the recipe) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and set aside.
3. Toppings. This is the most time-consuming part but it can be made ahead of time. For the toppings, I have decided to use ground pork, wonton, fried shallot and green onion.
Ground Pork – Remove the skin of 1 medium-sized shallot ( or 2 small-sized) and use a knife to chop it. Heat a medium pan on the stove using medium heat. Once heated, add in 1.5 tablespoon of sesame oil (or vegetable oil if you don’t have sesame oil). Saute the diced shallots until fragrant. Add in 1 lb (454 gram) of ground pork and cook for 1 minute. Make sure that the pork doesn’t lump together. Then add in 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, 2 teaspoon of cooking wine and a dash of black pepper. The dark soy sauce gives the pork a darker color so that it looks more visually appealing. Saute until the pork is completely cooked.
Wonton – Char Siew (Bbq pork) is more common and mainly used instead of wonton. I use wonton as I prefer wonton over char siew. Mix 1/2 lb (approx 230) of ground pork, 1 stalk of chopped green onion, 1/2 tsp of corn starch, 1 tsp of cooking wine, 1 tsp of light soy sauce, a pinch of salt and white pepper together. Place 1/2 tablespoon of ground pork mixture on the centre of wonton wrapper. Use your forefinger to apply water on the side of the wrapper. Align the side and seal it (refer to the photo below).
Prepare a pot of water and cook on medium heat. Once water reaches boiling point, place in the wonton and cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Drain the water immediately and place the wonton on a plate. Dazzle 1 tablespoon of sesame oil onto the wonton and gently mix it so that the wonton doesn’t stick together.
Fried shallot & shallot oil – Peel off the skin of 3 medium-sized shallots (or 8 small shallots) and use a knife to cut the shallots into thin slice. Heat a small pot of 1/3 cup of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once heated, add in the sliced shallots and fry until it turns slightly brown. Turn off the heat and continue to stir occasionally until it turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Use a strainer to separate the fried onion from the oil. This oil is known as shallot oil used to make the seasoning.
Green onion – Use a knife to chop 1 stalk of green onion.
Now it’s time to cook the noodles. Prepare a pot of half-filled water and boil on medium heat. Once water boils, place in the dried egg noodles and cook for 3 – 5 minutes.
Once the noodles is just cooked, use a stainless steel strainer to take out the noodles and immerse the noodles in a bowl of cold water for 5 seconds and back into pot of hot water for 3 more seconds. Drain the water immediately. This process ensure that the noodles stay springy and remove the excess starch from the noodles.
Finally, it’s time to assemble. Place 1.5 to 2 tablespoon of the seasoning in a bowl. Add in the noodles for 1 portion. Mix thoroughly.
Once mixed, add in the toppings – 2 tablespoon of ground pork, 3 wonton, 1 tablespoon of fried shallots, 1 teaspoon of green onion and sprinkle with white pepper.
It’s time to eat! The photos below show the 2 type of noodles I showed earlier. The photo the left is made using the noodles which is thinner and is more curled. Though both tastes good, I still prefer the noodles on the left. And it tastes more ‘original’ too.
Everytime I made Kolo Mee, I lways end up with lefover seasoning and toppings. For leftover toppings, chill in fridge. But for seasoning, shallot oil and fired shallot, keep it at room temperature. Consume within a week by making more Kolo Mee.
For the pdf version of the recipe, please click this link ‘Kolo Mee‘. By the way, this recipe is for 5 – 6 portion. Like & comment below if you make this dish. Enjoy!