Tomato noodles is a street food that is popular in Kuching, Sarawak. It resembles kong fu chow, or Cantonese-style noodles with its thick egg gravy, except that it features a tangy sweet tomato gravy derived from bottled ketchup.
The noodle usually used for this dish is Sarawak mee kolok, which is similar to the egg noodles used for wanton mee, but it is also common for patrons to ask for it to be served with sautéed kuay teow, or flat rice noodles and crispy fried mee hoon, or rice vermicelli
Although there are many shops in Sarawak serving halal versions of this dish, aficionados will insist that char siu, barbecued pork, has to be one of the accompaniments on the dish. Prawns, sliced fish cake, and choy sum or mustard greens are additional must-haves over the noodles, and some stalls would also include squid, tomatoes, bean sprout and firm tofu as part of the dish.
All components of the dish can be made ahead of time, and kept aside separately to keep the noodles crispy. To assemble just before serving, heat up the gravy and adjust its seasoning and consistency, then pour it over the crispy noodles with the accompaniments. The gravy should be soupy with a slight starchy consistency.
You may garnish the dish with sliced chillies and scallions, and some stalls include fried shallots. The only condiment to go with this dish is red chillies in vinegar.
- 500g dried mee kolok or fresh egg noodles
- 2 cups cooking oil
- 200g char siu
- 100g mustard greens
- 2 stalks spring onion, shredded and soaked in cold water
- 1 pod red chilli
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar
- Prawn Broth:
- 250g fresh prawns
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 cube anchovy stock
- Tomato Gravy:
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 20g fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup prawn broth
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 6 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 100g fish cake, sliced
- 2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp cold water
- ½ tsp white pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp of light soy sauce to taste
- Shell and devein prawns, reserving the heads and shells for the broth, and the prawn flesh for the garnish.
- For the prawn broth, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot to fry prawn shells and heads. When oil has turned red, add water and anchovy stock cube to simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes until reduced to one cup of broth.
- If using dried noodles, cook the noodles in boiling water for about 2 minutes until al dente, rinse with cold water and drain well. Heat oil in a saucepan and deep-fry noodles for about 2 minutes on each side until light golden and crispy. Set aside until ready to assemble.
- If using fresh egg noodles, loosen the tightly-wound ball of noodles then gather it into a loose mound. Heat oil in a saucepan and deep-fry noodles for about 2 minutes on each side until light golden and crispy. Set aside until ready to assemble.
- For the tomato gravy, sauté ginger and garlic with cooking oil until wilted, then deglaze with prawn broth. Season with oyster sauce and ketchup, and light soy sauce and white pepper to taste. Add tomatoes, fish cake and prawn flesh to poach until cooked through. Finally add mustard greens to blanch, then immediately remove to keep its green colour. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry and adjust seasoning to taste. Add more water as necessary to get the consistency of a thick soupy gravy.
- Pour the gravy over the noodles and assemble the meats and vegetables over the noodles. Serve hot with red chillies in vinegar on the side.