Mee Swa Birthday Noodles

7/10/2018 11:33:00 PM

Mee Sua Birthday Noodles

I've been on a mission to learn some more of my parents' traditional Malaysian dishes, and one of the first things I've learned is mee swa! These are traditional birthday noodles for Hokkien people like me. Like any home cooked dish, there are many versions out there, but this is the way my mum always makes it: very fine wheat vermicelli noodles, broth, pork balls, and a hardboiled egg dabbed with some red food colouring. The long noodles symbolise longevity, the red colouring on the eggs symbolise good luck and the pork balls symbolise... I dunno, general deliciousness? Either way, super tasty, must include. She serves them with soy sauce, pepper, crunchy fried garlic (in oil), and a little dish chopped chilli in soy sauce.

My mum used to make these for our family members' birthdays every year when my brother and I were growing up, and I used to look forward to them very much! I even remember us all getting up early and having a nice bowl of hot noodle soup before school, when one of our birthdays happened to fall on a school day. They're my favourite!

After I moved out of home eight years ago, we'd have mee swa less often, usually only if one of our birthdays coincided with a weekend or a day off work. (See posts April 2008, April 2012, April 2013 and July 2013 and July 2015). Mee swa eventually stopped being a "must-have" element of my birthday celebrations, and I must admit, I'd almost forgotten about them until Sandra requested them for her birthday last month!

My mum kindly obliged, and they were amazing as usual. They transported me straight back to my childhood, and I knew I just had to learn how to make them! So Mum explained the recipe to me (although she doesn't have a recipe per se; it's just in her head), and I took notes and then practised at home. Here we go!

Here are the ingredients - we always get that brand of mee swa noodles. I guess any extra-fine wheat noodles would do, but I have a nostalgic affinity to that particular brand and the retro-looking box. My mum says to use two bundles per person (i.e. 60 grams of noodles each), but I found that to be quite a large quantity (the egg and meatballs are quite filling). So I'd personally suggest three bundles between two people (or 45 grams of noodles per person). Trust your appetite!

Vermicelli noodles, pork, eggs

So, the balls. (Heh). You mix the pork mince with a little sesame oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and form into balls. You then cook them in boiling water, and the cooking water becomes your soup broth. (Hot tip: don't get lean pork mince, get a fattier pork mince. For flavour and texture!) I like a mild soup, and just seasoned the water with a little salt, and let people adjust the flavourings at the table. However, feel free to season the broth as you like, with salt, pepper, soy sauce, stock powder, sesame oil etc.

Pork balls

Meanwhile, you hardboil your eggs and cook your noodles. (The noodles take like a minute to cook, so quick!)

Noodles and eggs

Dab the eggs with some food colouring (my mum always does a cross, so I follow her), divide the balls and broth between the bowls and you're done!

Mee Sua

The accompaniments are non-negotiable in my opinion! Soy sauce and pepper, obviously. A small chopped red chilli, with some soy sauce (and a few drops sesame oil) poured over. And fried garlic! My mum usually has a big jar of homemade fried garlic on the go at home - she uses a processor to finely chop a big batch of garlic and fries it in vegetable oil, then stores the crunchy garlic and flavourful oil in jars for use as a condiment. So addictive. I didn't have any at home, and my processor kept turning my garlic cloves into mush rather than little cubes, so I just finely sliced a few garlic cloves by hand and fried those. When I get a bit more time on my hands I'll make a big batch and store it.

Mee Sua

I was really pleased that my noodles turned out like my mum's! It's a simple recipe so even I could do it. Yay!

Mee Sua

Do you make mee swa at home? Do you make them like my mum does or does your family have a different variation? Share your version in the comments, I'd love to know!

Mee Swa Birthday Noodles
A recipe by Sarah Cooks and her mum

2 eggs
90-120 grams extra thin vermicelli wheat noodles
200 grams pork mince (not lean)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red food colouring
To serve: fried garlic, fresh chopped chilli, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper

Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, place a lid on the pot and turn the heat off. Allow to sit for 7 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel and set aside.
Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, then drain and divide between two serving bowls.
Mix the pork mince with soy sauce and sesame oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roll into 10 meatballs. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, season with salt and add the pork meatballs. Simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked. (They will be firm and springy when cooked, or just cut into one if you're not sure). Taste the soup and adjust seasoning to taste. (I like a mild-flavoured soup so just add a little salt, but you could add salt / pepper / soy sauce / stock powder / sesame oil etc.)
To assemble, add one hardboiled egg to each serving bowl, and dab the egg with a little red food colouring. Divide the cooked meatballs between the bowls and pour the stock over.
Serve with fried garlic, chopped chilli, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper on the side for people to season as they wish.
Serves 2

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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  1. Ooh I don't know if I've tried this one! I definitely haven't with the eggs. I really want to give this a go now :D

    1. If you do, I hope you enjoy them! They taste of my childhood and I LOVE them! :)



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