In 2011 I was chosen by YouTube for the NextUp program so in Oct and Nov I travelled to 9 countries and 11 cities to cook and film a series of videos with my readers. We shared recipes for delicious, traditional, homecooked meals: mine and theirs. Watch all the recipes videos and travel blog posts from the series and other travel cooking videos.
Ooh ya ya! I’m so excited about introducing a Malaysian Chinese recipe called “Fish Head Mee Hoon” to you today! Allison Chin, one of my longtime readers living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia taught me this dish when I visited her house during my Gapshida trip! Some of you might think, “Eww! how can I eat fish heads!” But believe me it’s very delicious when cooked. Deep fry it until it’s very very crunchy! The cooked fish meat between the bones is super tasty: firm and not dry, and the thin bones are breakable, so you can chew them. Ooh yummy! Pick out the delicious meat and break the bones with your fingers, and suck out the meat. “zzeop zzeop zzeop!” : ) Your fingers will get a little sticky! How do I know this? I’m a fish head lover!
For this recipe, you’ll need a fish head from a large fish. Do not use a small fish like anchovies. But if you can’t stand touching fish head, just use fish meat. Allison said that many people use fish meat for this recipe.
I made this with a large fish head that came from a black snapper. Go to Chinatown to find it, and you can ask your fishmonger to slice it. They will do it for you in 30 seconds with their huge cleaver!
Ironically, fish head is very cheap even though it’s more delicious than the body. A fish head is $2.99 per pound, but pre-cut fish from the body costs $6.99 per pound! If you buy it at your local fish market, the price will go up again! Chinatown is my favorite place for fish heads. I recommend you use the head from any large fish, such as red or black snapper, or salmon.
The recipe was provided by Allison Chin and we had 2 cameramen: Tony Wong and Allison’s husband Austin. Check out my Malaysia Gapshida story. You’ll see all of them and what we did there. And Shi Hui volunteered to be our dance teacher at the meetup. She was so funny and added good memories to the party.
This is the fish head mee hoon that I made the other day. I used my jjangahjji (salty pickled radish) instead of pickled mustard greens. I skipped evaporated milk and added a little bit of tamarind and vinegar. It turned out absolutely delicious.
fish head/fish meat, rice noodles (mee hoon, or vermicelli), choy sum, ginger, pickled mustard greens, chicken stock, pickled plums, salt, green onions, tomatoes, fish sauce, evaporated milk, black pepper, vegetable oil.
Pickled mustard greens
Directions: (for 2 servings)
Cooking time: 1 hour
Fry the fish head and fish meat
- Slice a fish head into 2 x 3 inch pieces. Ask your fishmonger to do this for you. Clean with water and pat dry. Marinate lightly with salt and pepper.
- Add 4 cups of oil to a wok and fry the fish head on all sides until it’s brown and crispy. It will take about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
ooh, don’t look at me! I need to cook you. : )
- Cut a handful of choy sum into pieces 3 inches long and set aside.
- Chop garnishes: ½ cup worth of salty pickled mustard greens, ½ cup worth of tomato, and 2 green onion. Set aside.
- Soak mee hoon in cold water. Set aside.
- Heat up a pot and add 1 tbs vegetable oil, a few slices of peeled ginger (about 1 tbs worth), and stir until fragrant.
- Cut a medium-sized tomato into quarters lengthwise and add to the pot.
- Add 6 cups of chicken stock, 1 cup of salted mustard greens, and 3 mashed pickled plums to the pot. Let it boil over high heat for 10 minutes.
- Open the lid, stir, and turn down the heat to medium. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove all the cooked vegetables, ginger, and the plum seeds from the pot with a strainer.
- Blanch the choy sumin the boiling soup and remove it from the pot with a strainer. Set aside.
- Drain the noodles, add them to the boiling soup. Cook for about 1 minute until softened and then remove from the pot with a strainer. Set aside.
- Add the fried fish heads to the soup and boil for a few minutes. Remove from the pot with a strainer. Set aside.
- Add ¼ cup evaporated milk and fish sauce to taste.
- Put the cooked noodles into a serving bowl. Add soup and fried fish heads.
- Garnish with chopped tomatoes, pickled mustard green, and green onions.
- Serve with the soy sauce mixed with a few of chopped bird’s eye chillies.
Allison’s homemade chicken stock
1 whole skinless chicken (appox 4 lbs), 2 onions, 1 large carrot, salt
- Wash a whole chicken thoroughly and bring to a boil in a large quantity of water.
- About 3 minutes after it starts boiling, remove the chicken and rinse both the chicken and the pot thoroughly.
- Put the cleaned chicken back into the clean pot and add about 9 liters of water, 2 onions, and 1 large carrot.
- Boil over low heat and simmer for about 6-8 hours.
- Add 1 tbs salt and cool it down.
- Remove the chicken, onions, and carrot from the pot and strain the stock through a sieve.
- Put it in the glass jar and keep it in the fridge.