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East Meets Southeast : An Exotic Asian Cuisine Is Born

January 19, 1986|BARBARA HANSEN | Barbara Hansen is a Times food writer

The sumptuous noodle dish shown below introduces one of the most exotic Asian cuisines, that of the Straits Chinese. A result of intermarriage between Chinese and Malays, the food is intricate, blending Chinese ingredients with the Malay cook's rich store of seasonings.

This recipe is named for the Hokkien Chinese, who traveled from South China down the Malay Peninsula. It was developed by Violet Oon, an authority in nonya (the regional name for Straits Chinese women) food in Singapore. The dish of shrimp, pork and fresh Chinese noodles, is garnished with crisp fried shallots, shredded omelet, chiles and cucumber.

PRODUCED BY ROBIN TUCKER FOOD STYLIST: JULIA WEINBERG / ORCHIDS FROM CALIFORNIA FLORAL CO., LOS ANGELES FRIED HOKKIEN NOODLES, NONYA STYLE 1/2 pound medium shrimp with heads 5 tablespoons oil or lard Water 1/2 pound pork butt 1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles 5 cloves garlic 5 shallots 2 teaspoons bottled Chinese soybean condiment, mashed 3 leeks, finely sliced, optional 2 ounces Chinese chives, cut into 2-inch lengths 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 2 teaspoons light soy sauce 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce Dash pepper 3/4 pound bean sprouts Garnishes

Wash shrimp; remove heads and shells. De-vein and pat dry. Heat wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When oil smokes, add shrimp heads and shells and stir-fry 4 to 5 minutes, until bright red. Remove heads and shells from wok and pound in mortar. Add 1 cup water, mix well, then strain for stock.

Boil 3 cups water. Add pork. Simmer over medium heat 30 minutes, until tender. Drain pork, reserving stock. Cool, then cut into fine shreds. Boil 6 cups water and pour over noodles. Let stand 1 minute, then drain. Cover with room temperature water and drain again. Pound garlic and shallots together in mortar.

Heat wok over high heat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil. When oil smokes, add garlic and shallots and stir-fry 1 minute, until fragrant but still slightly crisp. Add soybean condiment and stir-fry until oil separates. Add shrimp and stir-fry until pink. Add pork and stir-fry to rewarm. Add leeks and stir-fry until limp. Add chives and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add pork stock, shrimp stock, salt, sugar, soy sauces and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add noodles and bean sprouts and stir gently until sauce comes to a boil. Garnish with chiles, cucumber and omelet, then sprinkle with fried shallots. Makes 8 servings. Garnishes 1 1/2 cups oil 20 shallots, peeled and sliced 2 eggs 2 tablespoons water 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cucumber, peeled 2 fresh red chiles

Place wok over high heat. Add oil. When oil smokes, add shallots and stir-fry until light yellow. Reduce heat to low and stir-fry until shallots are brown. Drain. Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil from wok.

Beat eggs with water and salt until frothy. Heat oil in wok until smoking. Add half the egg mixture, rotating wok to form a flat omelet. Cook over medium heat until set; turn and cook other side until set. Remove from wok. Repeat with remaining egg mixture. Cool and cut into fine shreds. Cut cucumber into 2-inch lengths and shred. Cut chiles into fine shreds.

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