Mee hoon kuay gets a Japanese twist
HAND-PULLED noodles with a ramen soup base.
That was the unique dish, created by a mother-and-daughter team, which stole the hearts of judges at the inaugural Knorr Family Cookout challenge last Wednesday.
The Japanese-style mee hoon kuay was something Ms Trish Yee, 25, a business-development manager at OCBC Bank, and her mother, housewife Helen Ang, 55, not only enjoy eating, but also making together.
"I was so stressed. My mum and I hardly talked, unless we had to pass the ingredients," Ms Yee said, recounting the pressure she felt during the finals, where they were given only one hour to complete the dish.
The finals were held at ToTT cooking studio in Dunearn Road.
Inspired by their favourite dish - Japanese ramen - the two decided to use steamed chicken thigh and fillet, instead of pork belly, for chashu, along with local-style mee hoon kuay.
And instead of a ikan bilis-based (deep-fried anchovies) broth, they used a soya bean-based one, which was less oily and had a lighter flavour.
Everything from the mee hoon kuay dough to the meat was prepared from scratch.
Ms Yee had to learn how to hand-pull the dough into mee hoon kuay strips two months before the competition.
"The texture of the mee hoon kuay is smoother when you hand-pull it, instead of cutting it into squares. The taste is enhanced when the flour is smooth," she said.
Every detail, from the precise timing to boil the eggs to the delicate presentation of each garnish on the dish, was well thought out.
Mother and daughter even bought matching green dresses to wear to the contest.
Their meticulousness paid off, with the duo winning $5,000 worth of cash and appliances, including a rice cooker and a 33-litre Hitachi oven.
Celebrity chef Daniel Koh, who was one of the judges, said they "chose the winning team because of their creativity to reinvent a traditional recipe".
He said: "Their ability to complete a dish which requires so much preparation and effort, in such a short period of time, is (commendable)."
Ms Yee is the chef in the kitchen, while her mother is her diligent assistant.
Madam Ang said: "Since I was young, I have never liked cooking. Trish is the opposite. She started accompanying my late mother to the market every weekend when she was seven. At 12, she tried her hand at cooking."
Ms Yee has also took baking and cooking lessons at community centres when she was 14.
She also watches the Asian Food Channel's cooking programmes on video-sharing website YouTube, and started her own cooking blog in March.
So, what will the pair be doing with the cash prize?
Ms Yee said: "We plan to take a trip to Hong Kong in October with our cash winnings. There's only one thing on our itinerary: Eating!"