Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ipoh Sar Hor Fun

Ipoh, the capital city of the State of Perak in Malaysia, is famous for this dish. The best, thinly sliced 'hor fun', which is 'rice noodle', can be found in Ipoh and it is so, cos of the water found there is good for making good rice noodles . In the good old days, when there were no highways and byways, it takes forever to reach Ipoh but now, it takes less than 3 hours, not that long to drive there and have a bowl of this noodles. Ipoh has many more good eats so it is worth the drive.


1 lb fresh rice noodle/dried Hu Tieu

1 lb shrimps with head - on
2 nos. whole chicken leg
Chinese chives (sectioned)
2 stalks scallions (chopped)

Ingredients for Chicken Broth:

3 nos. whole chicken carcass/2 packets of Swanson Chicken stock
Shrimp's shell (removed from the above 1 lb shrimps)
1/2 lb soya bean sprouts (tai tau nga)
2 x 1 inch size rock sugar
1 tsp whole white peppercorns (crushed)
5 liters water
salt to taste

Ingredients for Shrimp Oil:
125ml cooking oil
Shrimp head (removed from the above 1 lb shrimps)


To cook the shrimps, bring 1 liter of water to the boil and blanched the shrimps until they turn pink and cooked through. Remove and shock in ice water. Remove the heads and drain dry, to be use for frying with the oil. Remove the shells for making the chicken broth.
To cook the chicken legs, bring back the above water which was used to cook the shrimp, to a rolling boil. Put in the chicken legs and when water comes back to a boil, let it simmer for 5 minutes and cover with lid, turn off heat and let chicken legs poach for 15 minutes. Remove and shred when cooled.

To make chicken broth, rinse the chicken carcass,place them into a stock pot, add in the rest of stock ingredients, together with the water which was used for cooking the shrimp and chicken legs, bring to the boil. Reduce to low heat and cook for approximately 1-2 hours. Alternatively, use the pressure cooker which will take less than 1/2 the time.
Season with salt and strain the stock. Leave aside.
To make shrimp oil, heat up the cooking oil in the preheated wok, place in shrimp heads, stir-fry over low heat until the shrimp oil separates. Remove from heat, strain well.
Pour some of the prawn's oil into the chicken stock.
Blanch the "Hor Fun", Chinese chives in boiling water separately. Dish up and drained.
To assemble, place the "Hor Fun" into a serving bowl, add in blanched Chinese chives, , chicken shreds and shrimps.
Serve with hot chicken broth, add in a little shrimp oil and chopped scallions.
Serve hot with fried sambal or chopped chilly in soya sauce.



Mary said...

This looks very interesting, Lily.

Claire said...

Is there supposed to be chili in the prawn chili oil?

Tuty said...

Boy... this looks like a real comfort food. Thanks for sharing the recipe and photographs.

lilyng said...


shrimp oil will be red like chilli oil. sorry about the typo.

Ube said...

Looks good and interesting. This must be the counterpart of mami noodle soup in Filipino/Chinese cuisine which I much love with siopao the equivalent of your pau.

The Bakerwoman said...

Hmm, we have a nice Ipoh Horfun stall here in S'pore...its in Changi Village hawker centre. Don't forget to add the green pickled chilli!!!

HK Lam said...

Lily, Just wondering if you are residing in US or in Malaysia?

Recently, I stumbled on a new way of cooking hor fun, i.e. with bitter gourd and black bean.

lilyng said...

hk lam

i used to be in malaysia and am now in denver colorado.

i will certainly try hor fun with bittergourd when i find friends who will eat bittergourd.

thanks for tip

jadepearl said...

This I have to the Ipoh Hor Fun. Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

May i ask if the soy bean sprout is the "nga choi" itself? Or it's some kind of beans?

I have tried to wiki, but... still confused.


Eunice from Perth

lilyng said...


soya bean will sprout into 'tai tau ngah' and 'nga choi' is sprouted from mung bean/green bean/look tau.

lilian85 said...

hi, i want to try ur recipe out. I was thinking of perhaps frying the shrimp head and shells in some oil thrn tossing it with the rest of the stock ingredients and simmering for 1 1/2 hrs then straining it. Is it ok to add the prawn heads with the shells in the soup base base as well?. I've heard of some recipes that saute some dried shrimps first then adding in the prawn heads and shells for the stock. Also they add in some rock sugar to taste. I'm thinking of following this. Wat is ur opinion on this?

lilian85 said...

By the way could i add in some pork ribs in the stock. My family likes pork ribs in soups so i thought of adding a few hundred grams in.

lilyng said...


i think you are mixing up this dish with 'mee yoke/hokkien mee'. This is Ipoh Style and is served with prawns and chicken. Of course you can use the prawns' head for stock and add in pork ribs but dried shrimp, i don't know but it's worth trying.
give me a feedback.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

I believe if you remove the prawn heads and sautee them separately (as opposed to boiling them together with the prawns), you will get a beautiful bright orange oil that is very flavoursome rather than a dull yellowish stock. You might like to compare notes with my recipe.

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