Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lai Wok Pan for Merdeka Open House 2006

Two weeks back, Babe_KL announced she will be having a virtual Merdeka open house. No, we will be emailing each other food, but those who are interested will be cooking up a dish themed Malaysian Recipes Long Forgotten. Within a second of reading the post, I already knew what dish I want to cook. Since young until today, I have not met anyone who knows or who have eaten the long forgotten Hakka dish, Lai Wok Pan.

Lai Wok Pan (in Hakka) means "pulled wok sides" in English. The cooking will not need you to pull the round wok to an oval shaped wok ;P but sides of the wok plays an important role while cooking in this dish. The main ingredient of this dish is flour... but the end product is something like a fusion of dry Pan Mee and Yin Yong.

I have only seen my mom cook this dish but have not tried cooking this dish before. I guess it's a good time to learn too. I was a little worried that my first attempt to "pull the sides of the wok" fails because my mom only taught me verbally. She won't be in to supervise me while I cook this dish. When I asked about the flour and water ratio, mom just said "Har? I don't know la, I always just go with the flow". I got a little worried when I had to figure the ratio myself.... I was glad that the dish turned up to be a success. My dad loved it.

Ingredients needed;
- 1/3 cup of ikan bilis (dried eastern anchovies)
- 2/3 cup of heh bee (dried mini shrimps)
- 2 tbsp of sliced dried sotong (squid)
- 4 shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- a handful of Chinese mushrooms
- manni chai, the same type of leaf eaten in Pan Mee
- dried something flower, not sure the name but see the picture below
- lime juice
- normal flour (tepung gandum)
- water

Manni chai is actually a name in Hokkien. I'm not sure what it is called in English. The leafs are sold with the soft branches. You will need to pluck the leafs out from the branches before cleaning them. Soak in salt water and rinse before use.

I have no idea what this is called but this dry flower is commonly used to make vegetarian dishes. You can easily get them at any supermarket. [Edit: EFTL reader says this is called the kim chiam bud. Thanks for the info Austin Powers!]

Method: Step 1

Rinse the ikan bilis and boil with water for about 2 to 3 minutes. Set to low fire and continue boiling for another 1 to 2 hours . Turn off the heat and remove the ikan bilis from the soup. It is easier to separate them when the soup is cool and all the ikan bilis are sunk to the bottom. Or just use a strainer.

If you don't have time to boil, you can always substitute with ikan bilis or chicken stock and boil for a few minutes.

Step 2

Rinse the heh bee. Keep half a side, and pound the remaining half. You don't have to pound too finely. You can also use the food processor to blend fine, or just use the kitchen scissors to cut it into fine pieces.

Clock wise starting from top left.
Bowl 1# Rinse the sliced dried sotong and put half aside with the remaining heh bee that were not pounded. The other half of the sliced dried sotong goes to bowl 4.
Bowl 2# Slice the shallots in to thin slices. These will be fried later so thin slices are easier to be cooked compared to thick ones.
Bowl 3# Rinse the dried flowers and remove the stem. Knot the flowers to give a better texture when eaten. Soak mushrooms and slice to thin layers. You can also use the mushroom stem as they will give extra aroma to the dish when cooked. They can be eaten later with the dish, or just picked out to be throw as they can be a little tough to chew.
Bowl 4# Chop up the garlic and the remaining half of the sliced dried sotong. They will be fried together with the pounded heh bee.

Step 3
Mix 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of water... I think. I added flour and water until I forgot how much flour and water I added. The mixture should be thick enough to stick on the side of the wok. A thick batter will produce a thicker and harder flour piece, while a thin batter will produce a softer flour piece. It's up to you to mix. For mine, I did a thin batter... I should have added a little more flour.

Step 4
Heat up you wok and heat about 2 table spoon of oil. Fry sliced shallots in low fire until they turn crispy and golden brown. Remove from heat to a separate bowl and let to cool. Heat another few table spoon of oil and fry Bowl 4 in low fire. The oil and ingredients will bubble, but that's normal. When crispy and golden brown, remove half of them to a separate bowl and let to cool.

Step 5

Pour the ikan bilis soup in the wok to mix with the fried garlic, sotong and heh bee. Let to boil and add bowl 3.

Here comes the interesting part....

Step 6
When the soup is boiling, scoop the flour mixture and pour it along the side of the wok. Pour a little of the boiling soup to the flour mixture to help cook it. Scrape off the cooked flour from the side of the wok into the soup and let to boil.

Add more ikan bilis soup if the soup is too thick. Make sure the soup is always boiling before repeating the step.

Step 7
Add a few pinches of salt and pepper and let to boil for a few seconds. Add in mammi chai and stir for a minute. Turn off the heat and serve.

Step 8

Top the Lai Wok Pan with a teaspoon of fried shallots, a teaspoon of fried heh bee mixture and a table spoon of lime juice. For people who like the dish spice, add a table spoon of sambal giling or chili padi.

Ta daaa! Step 9, dig in while it's still hot! The dish will only taste good when it's hot.

...oh, and one more thing. Kepada semua rakyat-rakyat Malaysia di mana jua, marilah kita merayakan hari Merdeka yang ke 59 in dengan penuh semangat. Kibarkanlah bendera negara kita dengan tinggi. Selamat Hari Merdeka!

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15 pieces of worms:

Austin Powers

Merdeka ke 49 daaaa..... BTW, the flower thing is kim chiam bud...


whooppeee this is absolutely a wonderful post. thanks for your participation


Austin Powers: ohhh tq!! Going to update the post with the info.

babe_kl: =) i cant wait to read the rest!


wow...really special. would love to try it out


Hi there, i really appreciate the uploads. I think you do an amazing job.
I'm an overseas Malaysian, and can identify with everything you have in your posts and your pictures. RIght up to the same "wet kitchen" that i can see in your rice dumpling post. My mom used to set up her "ham yuk choong" things just like yours!

Keep on posting! I really love to read your stuff. And love to eat too!


rokh: hhehe let me know when u tried it...and maybe you can share your flour water mixture ratio with us :) have fun cooking!

carol: thanks!! reading your comments like yours really keeps me going.

Rasa Malaysia

Hi there,

I am Bee Yinn at Rasa Malaysia, a newbie food blogger based in California, US.

Your YouTube looks awesome. How do I put it on my site? Would you please let me know. ;)

Thanks in advance!


Wow, I'm half Hakka and I've never heard of Lai Wok Pan. Thxs so much for sharing this forgotten receipe.


Bee Yinn: I've emailed you the steps, let me know if you didn't get it. =)

boo_licious: So now you must help to spread the recipe. It's more to a home dish, stalls and restaurant dont sell them because the dish have to be cooked and eaten on the spot.. hard to sell.


Hi Teckiee. Glad to have found this recipe. In my hazy memoriea,I think I have had this before when I was much younger. Now, I can try this on my own. Thanks so much for 'reminding' me of this wonderful dish.

Btw, can you let us know how much flour & water you used? At least, we know where to start ;)


Anonymous: I started with 1:2 ratio of flour and water. But i ended up adding flour and water... i cant remember what i end up with. But 1:2 is definetly too watery. You might want to try 1:1 and go from there.

...I wasted 1/4 of my mixture because I ended up mixing too much.


hi there

i m a hakka and my mum told me its a very traditional style of cooking. never had it so far but it really look great and i am so glad that young generation still remember this humble dish



guynxtdoor: glad to have shared this dish with everyone, hope my next generation dotn forget this dish lol


teckiee, I've gotta call & complain to my mom bout her bad motherhood of depriving me from my Hakka singnature dish liao, thanks, I can show off this next time they come visit me haha, thanks :)


Anonymous: LOL! Have fun with the wok pulling ;p

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