Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rice Drop Noodles With Mince and Preserved Vegetable Sauce 梅菜肉碎老鼠粉

There was a packet of veal mince in the fridge and I can't even remember why it was even there. I decided to make a mince sauce that would go with a type of noodle that I haven't had for a very long time - rice drop noodles also known as:
- mouse noodles (老鼠粉, lao shu fen in mandarin, 老鼠粿, niu chu kui in Hokkien or 老鼠粄, lou shu ban  in Hakka) in Malaysia due to the shape of the noodles that resembles a little mouse.
- golden needle noodles (銀針粉 pronounced yin zhen fen) in Hong Kong as the name mouse noodles was deemed too crude for their liking.
- mi tai bak (米篩/苔目 pronunciation in Minan and Hokkien) in Taiwan and part of Malaysia and Singapore. The name derived from how the noodle is made - rice batter (米, mi) being push through the hole/eye (目, mu) of bamboo sieve (篩/苔, tai) into a pot of boiling water.
Ok enough of that and lets get to the sauce. I got the idea from a classic Hakka dish (梅菜扣肉, pork belly braised with preserved vegetable) and decided to pair the veal mince with some preserved vegetable. I am extremely pleased with my invention; the delicious sweet, salty and fragrant meat sauce goes very well with the noodles and best of all this is suitable for my Muslim friends and readers as well. Do I want to change anything about this dish? Definitely! I should have doubled the quantity!
P.S One can give this noodle another hundred names but it will always be mice noodles to me.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
1 kg of rice drops noodles, blanched just before serving
2 cups of bean sprouts, picked and blanched just before serving
1 bunch of spinach or greens of your choice, cut and blanched just before serving
crispy garlic 
garlic oil 
light soy

for the mince and preserved vegetable sauce;
500 g of mince of your choice (I used veal)*
1/2 cup of preserved vegetable (梅菜 pronounced mei cai)** rinsed well and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
3 tbs of dark soy
1 tbs of light soy
3 tbs of rock sugar or white sugar
dash of sesame oil
dash of cooking wine
1/2 L of stock
salt and white pepper to taste
* marinate the mince with dash of soy, sesame oil, grated ginger, cooking wine and a little corn flour.
** mei cai is available at asian grocers and since there are many different types of preserved vegetables, it is best to ask for the right type, print this out if you need to.

Prepare the ingredients.

Fry chopped garlic and shallot with some cooking oil til lightly brown.

Add mince and and fry in the garlic and shallot oil for a few minutes. A lot of liquid will be released from the meat, spread the mince out and let it slowly cook til the water has evaporated and starts to brown.

Add preserved vegetable and seasonings and fry for 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 L of water and simmer til the sauce is thick and syrupy. Since this is going to be a topping for noodles, it should be slightly salty.

The delicious mince sauce is ready to be used as topping for noodles, rice and congee.

Place blanched noodle in a bowl and mix with 1/2 tbs of garlic oil and 1 tbs of soy. Add bean sprouts and spinach, spoon some mince sauce over and top with chopped spring onion, Chinese celery and crispy garlic. I also served it with homemade Cantonese style chili oil. 

Mix well and enjoy! This is comfort food at its best!


  1. Great work by using a classic dish as template! It must taste so good. Too me it is always mouse noodles too!

  2. arghh lapaarr... saya belum masak lagik!

  3. oh this looks great you so need to open a restaurant I will book the first table!

  4. Very creative my friend. It looks so simple, I will try it with pork.

  5. Wow very comforting indeed. Thanks for the explanations for all the different names!

  6. My dear Tummy..Terima kasih sebab beri penerangan yang sangat detail tentang rice drops noodles ni.Di Malaysia orang melayu panggil Mee laksa.Jika masak laksa kami selalu menggunakan mee seperti ini.Thanks ya..pasti akan mencubanya:)

  7. My daughter the 7yo and I are making our way visually through your recipes. She has asked me to try this one.

    Delicious. thank you.

  8. Great recipe - sadly I've not seen 'mouse noodles' in London but I've tried them in Singapore. Good bit of noodle knowledge too although my parents call these 'mouse noodles' rather than 'golden needle noodles' in Cantonese.

  9. Delicious looking dish and I will look out for the noodle next time. the sauce is very tempting!

  10. ooo tooo yyummmy 3 hungry tummies~

  11. Delicious!!! (i think) I also love yoiur photograps a lot.

  12. Now this is what I call wholesomely good, good food.

  13. This looks truly tasty with that rich, yummy sauce. I do have a question...when you say light soy sauce and dark soy sauce what is the difference? Around here light soy sauce means less sodium not actually light in color. I have not asked about it at my Asian grocer, but did not see anything labeled dark or light. I was just wondering about this. Thanks

  14. Another great one! I want to eat at your house!!!

  15. Comforting indeed!Love the hearty ingredients :D

  16. Simply brilliant! Love the look and sound of the sauce and I am looking forward to taste the strange looking mouse noodles lol

  17. KL girl in MELB ,
    Thank you very much! Glad to hear that!

    hana ,
    Haha cepat pergi masak! Masak apa hari ini?

    Oh thank you very much! You will be the first to find out!

    Pham ,
    Thank you very much! Please try!

    CW ,
    Thank you! I think I did too much talking lol

    Michael ,
    Thank you!

    Thank you very much!

    makcikmanggis ,
    Sama-sama makcik. Ini mirip mee laksa tetapi ianya pendek saja, lebih kurang seinci saja. Mee laksa namanya lai fen. Cuba ye!

    Oh thank you very much! I hope you will make it for her! :) xxx

    Mr Noodles,
    Thank you very much! I hope you can find it in UK otherwise try it with lai fen. I just had a chat with my HK friends, apparently a lot of people from the older generation still refer it to mouse noodles. Silver needle noodles is only being used recently.

    Jane Chew ,
    Thank you!

    rosa ,
    Thank you very much! Please do!

    Ann ,
    Thank you very much!

    Momo Luna ,
    Thank you very much!

    Jo ,
    Thank you very much!

    Lyndsey ,
    Thank you!
    Light soy is labeled 生抽 and it is a lighter and of very strong tea colour, same colour as japanese soy really. Dark soy is labeled 老抽, it is darker and slightly darker and is generally used to give a particular dish a bit of colour. You can print this out and ask your Asian grocer about it.

    Thank you! Please come visit!

    Yasmeen ,
    Thank you very much!

    Yasmin ,
    Thank you very much! Go look for the mouse noodles tomorrow!

  18. This is my first visit to your blog and I LOVE the under-ten-dollar premise! This dish looks lovely and healthy!

  19. I love the minced meat sauce you have made to go with the Mi Tai Mak... Is that fresh Mi Tai Mak or dried in the packet? I am suprised that you have that in Australia. Many many years ago, there was a Mi Tai Mak poison case in Malaysia - the papers kept referring to 老鼠粉。I remember thinking to myself why would these people be so stupid to eat rat poison... that was the first time I learnt that Mi Tai Mak is also known as Lou Shufan.

  20. Slurpp, thats a tempting dish..makes me hungry..

  21. I had the same question as Lyndsey...This really looks delicious...ground veal is hard to find here and very you think ground pork or chicken would substitute well?

  22. Lovely looking dish as always. I almost always stick to ground turkey for any dish due to diet restrictions and such.

  23. Really lovely as usual. I normally have rice drop noodle with soup. But this is a wonderful idea!

  24. After reading your latest post this seems very simple. Very delicious and comforting looking dish!

  25. Julie ,
    Thank you and please come again!

    Thank you very much! It is fresh Mi tai mak indeed, we are very lucky to be able to get everything here due to the large Chinese and Vietnamese communities. I remember that very vividly, it was in 1988 and quite a few students died.

    Priya ,
    Thank you very much!

    Thank you and I hope my answer to Lyndsey is helpful to you. Pork works the best with this sauce (not the lean mince though) I used veal because it was in the fridge :)

    Cool Lassi(e) ,
    Thank you very much! It will be delicious with turkey too!

    Thank you very much! It is quite common to have it dry back in Malaysia, especially for children :)

    Haha it is a lot easier :) Thank you!

  26. Great invention and thanks for the little story behind the name of this strange looking noodle :)

  27. I bought everything for this for our dinner tonight. The Chinese lady was a little surprised when I asked for the preserved vegetable lol. Can't wait!

  28. Suresh, you are making me very hungry with this dish. I wish I can get the noodles here. I do need a magic button for that...haha

  29. Hey I found some light and dark soy sauce. I picked some up over the weekend. I also bought some black vinegar! I can't wait to use them! Thanks for the help! Just wanted to let you know!


Please leave a note. I love to know what you think!

press me

3 hungry tummies

My photo
melbourne, victoria, Australia