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Malaysian Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon

Malaysian Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon.  Maybe it’s best to translate first:

Nyonya = A culture, and cooking style, which arose from the fusion of Chinese and Malay cultures in areas of what is now Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Kerabu = A spicy, sweet & sour, Malaysian salad

Bee Hoon (or Mee Hoon) = Rice Vermicelli

Put those together and you have a light, flavorful Malaysian dish, enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack.  Never a wrong time to eat Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon.

ingredients for kerabu mee hoon

Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, torch ginger flower, mint leaves, and toasted shredded coconut, mixed together with springy rice noodles, then tossed with spicy chili sambal and a squeeze of zesty calamansi lime.  A vibrant, colorful noodle dish that not only represents Malaysian cuisine, but also its diverse culture.

Malaysian Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Not a complicated dish to prepare, but it may be difficult to source all the ingredients.  That’s not a problem – either omit what you can’t find, or try substituting with another ingredient.  Instead of sambal belacan, try Thai tom yam paste.  Instead of calamansi lime, try a squeeze of a sour lime mixed with sugar, or pineapple juice.

Just make sure your Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon has rice vermicelli, and a mix of spicy, sour, and sweet flavors.  And enjoy it anytime of the day!

Malaysian Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Buy Malaysian satay seasoning, tandoori seasoning and chinese five spice available at season with spice asian spice shop

Malaysian Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon recipe 
by Season with Spice
Makes 4 servings

200g rice vermicelli
12 - 14 medium or large prawns – shelled and deveined
6 kaffir lime leaves (one leaf = both segments) - center spine removed; finely sliced
3 stalks lemongrass (use the bottom white part only) – bruised and finely sliced
12 shallots – thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 torch ginger flower – finely sliced
2/3 cup freshly grated coconut
1/4 cup dried shrimp
Pinch of salt, or to taste

Sambal belacan spice blend:
5 tbsp sambal belacan
1 tbsp of coconut sugar
Juice of 8-10 calamansi limes

A handful of mint leaves – finely sliced
Red chili peppers – sliced
Calamansi lime - halved
Roasted unsalted peanuts - coarsely ground (optional)
Fried shallots (optional)

1. Prepare kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, shallots, garlic and torch ginger flower. Combine in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a frying pan or wok, toast the grated coconut until browned. Add to the mixing bowl.
3. Soak the dried shrimps for 10 minutes, and then drain. Grind the shrimp with a food processor or pound in a mortar & pestle until coarsely ground. Then add to the wok, and toast for two minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
4. Blanch rice vermicelli for 1-2 minutes or cook according to the package. Transfer to a strainer and drain. Then add to the mixing bowl.
5. In a small bowl, prepare the sambal belacan spice blend, mixing well to ensure the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
6. In the wok, add 1 tbsp of oil, and pan-fry the prawns until cooked (or you can boil them in salt water for a couple of minutes). Add to the mixing bowl.
7. Toss all the ingredients in the bowl well to combine. Add garnishings, then dish out and serve immediately.

1. Another version is Tom Yam style Kerabu Mee Hoon. Simply replace the sambal belacan spice blend with instant tom yam paste, and omit the toasted coconut.
2. You can also serve kerabu bee hoon cold, so no need to heat the leftovers.


BiteMyCake said...

Once again, I'm smitten :) The colors on this plate are unbelievable! Perfect for upcoming spring :)

Wok with Ray said...

Bee hoon or we call it Bihon is one of the favorite noodles back home in the Philippines to make the pancit noodles. This dish must be very flavorful with all of the spices that you put in there. Nice, Reese!

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

I encountered Nyonya cooking on my first visit to Singapore. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I love the creative mix of the cultures in this insanely delicious and appealing food. So happy to have this lovely recipe. Thanks.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

After I started blogging I learned about the word Nyonya (call it Nyo-nya or Nyon-ya?) from Malaysian/Singaporean bloggers. I am waiting for the day I can visit and have the authentic flavor. A little bit worry about the spice but I'm sure I'll find some way to enjoy it. I have a good Malaysian ex-coworker: I should really ask the best Malaysian food restaurant around here. I see so many great foods on blogs, but I don't see any restaurants (must be hidden!). I love your Bee Hoon, Reese. Beautiful layers of colors and textures.

Season with Spice said...

Ahh! How wonderful that you had the opportunity to try out Nyonya cuisine. I remember reading a fiction novel & the author too described Nyonya cooking as one of the world's greatest secret!

Christy said...

I love Nyonya food; and it's a good thing that I have easy access to them too!:) Even in Malaysia, the Nyonya style differs from the north, center and the south; with the north being more of the spicy and exotic nature while the southern style is more creamy and rich.
Nyonya Kerabu bee hoon is an appetizing dish, and I have tried two versions which were exceptionally good, and I am about to say that yours look like it could make the third!:D

Kuenporter said...

Thank you for sharing your recipe and your gorgeous photos of the dish set me drooling over my all time favourite dish. Although one could substitute certain ingredients as you have suggested but, the fragrance of bunga kantan is one that I am missing the most. Just have to wait and hope for the Malaysia Food Festival in London to come round again.

Season with Spice said...

Hi Christy - I'd love to try the other two versions that you mentioned too. Always fun to keep a few good versions for one dish. And you're right, we are fortunate that we have the access to all these great flavors!

Season with Spice said...

Hi Kuen - Oh yes, I can see why you miss bunga kantan. After missing the flavor for years, I just couldn't help to throw in bunga kantan in many of my dishes since I came back here. Definitely one great spice that cannot be replaced. They should have two rounds of Malaysian Food Festival in London!

mycookinghut.com said...

Look really appetising!

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