I’ve always been sure that the Filipino pancit lomi has its roots in China but it wasn’t just until a few years ago that I discovered a sibling of lomi in Malaysian cuisine. Lor mee, also popular in Singapore, is also made with thick noodles. Beaten eggs are likewise stirred into the broth. But lor mee has a much thicker and darker sauce.
It may look like a noodle soup dish and the presence of a copious amount of broth strongly suggests that it is, in fact, a soup. But lor mee is not exactly a soup. Yes, there is broth but it is so thick that you cannot scoop it up with a spoon. The sticky broth clings to the noodles so that, with every mouthful of noodles, you’re eating a lot of broth too. You’d be surprised that by the time the noodles are gone, there’s hardly any broth left in the bowl.
And just what makes the broth so thick? Starch, of course. Tapioca starch is best but corn or potato starch will work too.
And why is the broth dark? Because soy sauce is added to it.
Any thick noodles will do for cooking lor mee? Thick flat egg noodles are traditional. But there’s no harm in using round noodles. And if you’re put off by the strong smell of ammonia in fresh egg noodles, you may use wheat noodles. I did.
- 150 grams thick egg noodles (or substitute thick wheat noodles)
- 3 cups chicken broth plus 3 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup rice wine
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/8 teaspoon grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
- 2 pinches black pepper
- 3 chicken thigh fillets
- 3 shiitake mushrooms stems discarded and caps sliced
- 1 small carrot peeled and julienned
- 1/2 small white cabbage julienned
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch or corn or potato starch
- 2 eggs beaten
- sliced scallions to garnish
Prepare the noodles by blanching in boiling water for a few minutes, rinsing and draining.
In a sauce pan, heat three cups of chicken broth with the rice wine. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, black vinegar and pepper. Boil for two minutes.
Drop the chicken thigh fillets into the boiling broth. Lower the heat and poach the chicken for ten to 12 minutes or until just done. Scoop out and move to a chopping board.
Turn up the heat to bring the broth to boiling point once more.
Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms to the broth. Cook for one minute. Scoop out and transfer to a plate.
Next, add the julienned carrot to the broth. Cook for one minute. Scoop out and move to the plate next to the mushrooms.
Lastly, cook the cabbage for one minute in the broth. Scoop out and move to the plate with the mushrooms and carrot.
Disperse the starch in the remaining three tablespoons of broth. Pour into the boiling broth. Cook, stirring, until thick and clear. For best results, allow to simmer, stirring often, for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
Add the noodles to the thickened broth and stir. Pour in the beaten eggs and stir. Turn off the heat and let the eggs cook in the residual heat.
Thinly slice the chicken thigh fillets.
Divide the noodles with thick broth and eggs among three bowls. Top with chicken, mushrooms, carrot and cabbage. Garnish with sliced scallions.