I might not be an Ipoh-rian (person from Ipoh) but I married one. And during our visits back to Ipoh, we will definitely have the famous Ipoh Hor Fun from Thean Chun Coffeeshop. It might seem like a simple and underwhelming noodle dish compared to curry laksa or prawn mee but it is arguably one of Ipoh’s most iconic dishes – and for a good reason.
The secret of this noodle dish lies in the incredibly flavoursome soup coupled with the vividly orange layer of oil that comes from boiling the prawn heads. A handful of shredded tender poached chicken, halved shrimps, and chopped chives, served with a small saucer of chopped birds-eye chillies in soy sauce… You may find yourself downing a bowl in record time; slurping up every strand of the noodles and drinking up every drop of soup.
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Serves 4 to 5 pax
1 kg hor fun / flat noodle
2 litres of water
1 chicken (about 1.2kg)
1 chicken carcass
500g prawns, shelled (reserved)
1 bag of 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
Rock sugar to taste
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons cooking oil
Spring Onions / Chives
Fried shallots (optional)
Making the Broth
- Remove the chicken breast meat and set aside.
- Place the chicken carcass, the remaining chicken, water, and the bag of peppercorns in a large pot, then bring to a boil.
- Skim off all the impurities and reduce to medium-low heat. Let it simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.
- Next, add 4 tablespoons of oil to a pan then fry the prawn heads and shells for about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Then strain the shells, reserve the oil, and place the shells into the broth.
- Bring the broth to a boil then simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Season with rock sugar and salt.
- Once the broth is done, adjust the taste accordingly with more salt or sugar, if required.
- Strain the broth and set aside.
Preparing the garnishing ingredients
- Cook the chicken breast meat in the stock for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the stock and randomly tear them into thin strips using your fingers.
- Blanch the peeled prawns in the broth.
- Remove the prawns from the boiling water and let the cool before slicing the prawns into two halves.
- Cut the chives into 1-inch strips.
- Bring the broth to a boil.
- Boil a pot of water and blanch the required portion of the hor fun for a few seconds, then distribute them into each serving bowl.
- Add a few pieces of the cooked prawns, chicken, and chives.
- Add the boiling broth into each bowl, 1 tablespoon of the reserved prawn oil, and garnish with fried shallots (if you like), then serve immediately.
- A small dish of light soy sauce with cut red chillies will be an added bonus!