Mee Rebus

People have asked me. Does it cost more to cook your own food than to eat out? Well, many ingredients – like those ready-made pastes are expensive. It definitely costs more to cook your own than to eat out at a hawker centre. But if you want more control over the taste and the quality of some of the ingredients, then you should definitely cook your own. There is no reason for paying people to cook something which we can do better ourselves.

Cooked egg noodles and bean sprouts. Blanch in hot water for half a minute.

Ready mixed mee rebus gravy thickened with starch.

Lots of lime juice, sweet soy sauce, green chillies and diced fish tofu completes it. Tastes much better than any food court or hawker centre mee rebus.

Fried Oyster 蚝煎

Fried oyster 蚝煎 is probably one of the most expensive dishes you can order at a food court or hawker centre. It’s not that difficult to prepare. In fact, it’s very easy. The main cost comes from the fresh oysters. It’s not much cheaper to make this dish yourself, but you can have more oysters than you can ever ask for from a hawker. One small packet of frozen oysters cost about $5. You can make about 3 portions with that. With fewer oysters, you can of course make even more portions.

Apart from oysters, the only other thing you may not have at home is potato starch. You need about 1 teaspoon of it. Add in about a quarter bowl of water and stir into a milky suspension.

Everybody has eggs at home. 2 eggs here and potato starch get fried together. Make sure there’s enough oil and don’t be afraid to turn up the heat.

Once the egg gets a bit flaky, add in the oysters and spray some pepper and fish sauce into it. Flip it a few times and you’re done.

You can drop some parsley or coriander on top, then mix chilli sauce with some vinegar and sugar and you’re done.

© Chan Joon Yee

Fried Tofu

This has to be one of my snacks. When I was attending meetings at the Singapore Adventurers’ Club years ago, I would drop by at the nearby tim sum shop and order a paper wrapped chicken or a fried tofu. The fried tofu was really something to savour, but I’m no longer with the club and I don’t have any excuse to go to Geylang anymore. It’s time to make my own fried tofu.

Non-stick pots like this are excellent for creating a deep-fried effect without actually deep frying. I have less than half a cup of oil inside there. Just pop the pressed tofu into the pot, place the lid on, fry for 4-5 minutes on the first side, then 2-3 minutes on the other sides.

It should look like this after frying. Hold the tofu with a pair of tongs, then cut it with a sharp knife. Very important is the sauce. I’ve made it almost exactly like the steamed fish sauce over here. Only difference is that for the tofu, I would add some cut red chillies.

Sprinkle some cut green onion over the cut tofu, heat up the sauce in a microwave until it’s boiling, then pour it over the tofu. It tastes great – even better than the one at Geylang.

© Chan Joon Yee