Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Mee Mamak... and the time I fed a MAJOR food personality a £3 Tesco meal deal.

Mee mamak ala Lindsay 30...

Oh dear...

No no no no this is not a slump what on earth are you talking about? I haven't slipped up on my posting schedule at all.


The last few weeks have been a haze of travelling and freshers and beginning fourth year. But now we are back to our scheduled programming! Well...almost. My next post was going to be about the cheese shop I worked at over the summer, but I need a wee bit more time to get that properly typed out. 

So this week, we're talking about mee mamak! But first, story time. 

I am going to tell you about the most AMAZING thing that happened to me this summer. Well amazing and cringe-y. I still wake up nights completely mortified and excited. And confused. And in awe.
I have a lot of feelings about what went down.

About a month ago I went to visit Karen in Glasgow, just for a night. I'd made dinner plans with Cate for the day I got back, but she called that morning and asked if we could have another person join us. So I thought "yes, great, cool, the more the merrier. :D" 
I got into St. Andrews at around 6 that day and I was knackered. Like, REALLY tired. And so... I thought to myself (and if you haven't clued in by now, I REALLY regret thinking this)
 " S'ok, I'll just pick up one of those Tesco £3 stir fry packs. NOBODY WILL KNOW ANY BETTER."

So I head over to Cate's via Tesco with the bag holding my sin of all sins, and she's tidying and I'm making dinner and she's telling me about our impromptu dinner guest. Turns out the lady's name is Barbara and she's Jared's (Cate's housemate) aunt.
Cool. Yes. Good.
Barbara turns up bearing fancy wine and chocolates from Ian Burnetts and numerous desserts from Rocca.
And she's wonderful! We have a lovely time and she's chatty and fun and very, very food-centric.
Like, I wanna get on this lady's level. She was talking about eating all these wonderful things from all over the place, and how when she goes on holiday she scouts out restaurants while everyone else is looking at the touristy stuff.
She mentions that she's semi-retired and does a little writing on the side.
"Hmmmm...writing..." my little brain thinks to itself. " I wonder what she writes about?"

So I turn to ask her what she does.

Turns out, I cooked for Barbara Fairchild.
The ex editor-in-chief of Bon Appetite magazine.
Who teaches food writing courses at NYU.
And has a radio food show.


I made Barbara-frekkin-Fairchild a £3 Tesco stir fry.

Cate practically wet herself, causeI looked like I was having an aneurism. 
(Which I'm so TOTALLY sure did NOT make a good impression oh God why me why do bad things happen to good people whywhywhy???).

I have NEVER been more embarrassed in my life guys. NEVER. Imagine if you will, this sweaty, wild eyed, manic little Indian girl apologising over and over and over again, red in the face DESPERATELY puffing out promises of a proper Malaysian meal cooked completely from scratch the next time we would meet.
There was like, ZERO poise guys. There was NO finesse. NO eloquent speech.
Having said all this Barbara (this first name basis thing is sending my brain into a little bit of a tailspin, not gonna lie) was very gracious, asked for seconds and gave me her card.

In case you haven't figured, I'm still reeling.
One day, if and when I become famous, this is going to be a FANTASTIC little story. 
Till then I'm just going to hide in a hole.

So this, my dear readers ( READ: ma and pa) is what I should've served that night. It's called mee mamak, and it's a very common Malaysian noodle dish. You get it everywhere and everyone has their favourite guy to get it from. Naturally it's not something you can find very easily in St. Andrews, but think of it as a darker, spicier slightly wetter chow mein. I still use the noodles and vegetables from the Tesco meal deal for ease, but the stir fry sauce is super easy to put together and makes a world of difference.

Barbara, (yep, still not wrapping my head around this) on the crazy chance you might be reading this post, this is how that dish should have turned out. 
REALLY looking forward to cooking for you again. And NO Store bought sauces this time.

Noodle noodle noodle...

3 cloves garlic
4 dried chillies, soaked in hot water till softened
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp chopped tomatoes from a can.
1 tbsp brown sugar

- Noodles (use a BIG wok. You want lots of room to toss things around, and lots of heat to cook things in.)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Stir fry sauce
100g of any protein you'd like. I used about 5 king prawns, but you could thinly slice up a chicken thigh, or some rehydrated soya chunks, or use a combination of the lot.
4 pieces taufu pok, cut in half
1 packet tesco stir fry vegetables.
1 packet tesco yellow noodles
1/2 knorr fish/veggie stock pot diluted in 50ml water

Blend the sauce ingredients together till nice and smooth. In fact, I'd make a big batch of the stuff because once it's made this dish comes together very quickly. Just freeze it in little ice cubes and use as you need.

When you're ready to cook the noodles, get your wok on the hob and crank the heat up high. As high as it can go. Don't worry, this is a lesson in cooking dangerously and I believe in you.

Heat up the oil and add the stir fry sauce. Cook it till you can really smell that sweet, garlicky perfume. Add your protein of choice and cook for about 3 minutes, then add your taufu pok and cook for 2 minutes, then finally your sliced up veg guessed it...cook for one minute.

You may need to add a little more oil to your wok if things are sticking, then add the noodles and stir to coat in the meaty, veggie, tofu-y, saucy mix. Pour in the stock and let it boil away so the noodles get coated in this silky sauce that is just slightly wet. This should take 3-5 minutes.

Serve hot topped with crispy fried onions.


  1. That story really made me chuckle - definitely one for future dinner parties! I love mee mamak too and am really looking forward to having it again when I'm back in Malaysia in October!

    1. Thank you Connie! I tell you what, it's a lot funnier now than it was that night. :p Have fun on your trip in October! Do you have any favourite dishes (besides me mamak) you're looking forward to?