In my hometown (Jakarta), this dish which is called “Ifumie” can be easily found in Chinese food restaurants or in any restaurants that serve noodle as their main dish, but I never find any restaurants that serve this kind of dish in here. Although I was not a big fan of Ifumie when I was till living in Jakarta, but I don’t know why I suddenly began to like this dish when we moved here (maybe because it is hard to find here???). Once again, I learn how to make this dish from my mom, but I modify the ingredients and the sauce along the way.
For the crispy noodle, you can either make your own noodle nest by deep frying them (cook egg noodle in boiling water, drain the noodles, let it cool, arrange the noodles to form a bird nest, then deep fry them), or just buy the ready-made crispy noodle from the supermarket. I always take the short cut by using the ready-to use crunchy noodles that I bought from Fair Price Supermarket.
When we were still in Jakarta, my family used to buy the crispy noodle in the wet market near my parents’ house. The seller would fried the noodles just before we bought them and packaged them in plastics, then my mom would make the saucy mixed veggie with beef meatballs, chickens, and lots of shrimps. Each noodle was big and crunchy and already had special seasoning that we could just munching the noodle without any sauce at all. Since I couldn’t find that kind of noodle in here, I just used whatever I can find in the nearest market, although it tasted somewhat different.
My husband and my son love this dish so much. My son especially loves the crispy noodle, and he will eat the crunchy noodle first then the vegetables and the thick sauce. I make this dish in big portion because my husband usually eats 2 servings every time I cook this dish (seriously!). And plus, I’m a big fan of vegetables, so I always eat the noodles with lots of vegetables as the toppings.
After we are done with the noodle, the next step is to make the topping, which is the saucy stir fry. The purpose of pouring the freshly cooked hot gravy is to cook and soften the noodles while absorbing all the delicious flavors from the savory sauce. The sauce has to be thick so it will top the noodle nicely. Both my husband and my son will complain if I put too much sauce (not the vegetables) because they want the noodle to be always crispy until they finish eating, hahaha…………definitely not the correct way to eat this dish………….but who doesn’t like crispy and crunchy noodle?
If you do not like to top your noodle with lots of vegetables, then just cook half the recipe. No need to follow exactly everything in this recipe, as you can be creative and use whatever vegetables and meat that you have in you refrigerator. Meatballs, pork, marinated chicken, squid, fish fillet, sausages, fish balls, and big prawns can be used to strengthen the flavor of the dish, and in fact, those are what we usually see in this dish in big restaurants. Once again, since we are reducing our meat and seafood (other than fish) consumption in our daily food, I only use small amounts of chicken and shrimps in this recipe, but please add more of them if you like.
*This recipe serves 4*
For the noodles:
- 4 crispy or crunchy noodles (can be bought in supermarket), put each noodle to a different serving plate
For the stir fry:
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 thumb of ginger, peel and cut into thinly round pieces
- 1/2 large onion, cut in thinly slice
- 4 garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, cut diagonally
- 200 gr cauliflower, break into bite-sized florets
- 100 gr bok choy, cut into 2 cm pieces
- 3 shiitake mushrooms, remove the stems and slice the caps all the way across into thin slices
- 50 gr baby corn, cut diagonally
- 1/2 tomato (optional), cut 4
- 50 gr chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 100 gr fish cake, cut in round shapes
- 5 shrimps, peel and devein and make butterfly cut
For the sauce:
- 1 L hot water or chicken broth or combine both of them (using chicken broth will make the sauce more delicious)
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp (full) corn starch, add another 1 tbsp if you want the sauce to be thicker
- Combine oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside
- Mix together 2 tbsp of corn starch with some water in a small bowl until there are no lumps. Set aside
- Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil in big wok or pan. Add ginger and fry until aromatic
- Add large onion and keep stirring until the onions are half cooked
- Add garlic and stir fry until fragrant
- Add chicken, cook until the color turns to golden brown
- Add shiitake mushroom and tomato and stir fry for about one minute
- Add shrimps and fish cake and cook until the shrimps turn into light pink
- Then add carrots, then add 1 L of hot water or chicken broth
- Pour the sauce into the pan and mix well with other ingredients
- Cook until the carrots are half cooked, then add bok choy
- After about 30 seconds, add cauliflower and baby corn
- When the sauce is boiled and the all the vegetables are cooked, pour the corn starch mixture and quickly stir with your spatula. Wait until it boils again, then turn off the heat