Bihun Goreng: Fried Noodles

Originally a Chinese dish, bihun goreng is adapted to Indonesian tastes. This recipe is for the classic version, with prawns and beef balls.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Bihun goreng is a Chinese Indonesian dish which has become quite popular in many non-Chinese Indonesian households. The preparation can be quite intricate, but it seems like most Indonesians don’t mind. You can be very creative when cooking bihun. Play around with ingredients and sauces to create your own version bihun goreng. Use any meat or seafood you like, and add eggs or extra vegetables you have in the fridge.

The recipe below is for the standard classic bihun, using simple ingredients, but it’s delicious and satisfying. To make it an authentically Indonesian bihun experience, serve it with acar.

Bihun (or bee hoon) refers to thin noodles made from rice, and is sometimes called rice vermicelli, rice vermicelli noodles, or rice noodles. Bihun goreng, or fried bihun, can be enjoyed as it is, as a snack in between meals, or with rice, to make it a “real” meal. I like it both ways. 

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A long side note:

It might sound strange, but in Indonesia, you can also eat rice with noodles! 

For many Indonesians, a meal is defined as having rice. If you’ve eaten anything without steamed white rice, you haven’t had a meal, just a snack. That’s why eating rice with noodles is considered normal – you can have two plates of noodles, but that’s really just a snack, or you can have a plate of rice with noodles, and that makes for a proper meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner).

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Bihun Goreng - fried noodles

Bihun Goreng: Fried Noodles

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Rice & Noodles
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal

Description

Originally a Chinese dish, which has been adapted to Indonesian tastes. This recipe is for the classic Indonesian version, with prawns and beef balls, and makes for a delicious one-pot meal.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 150 gr bihun (rice vermicelli)
  • 250 gr shrimp, deveined.
  • 100 gr beef balls.
  • 100 gr carrot, peeled, julienned
  • 100 gr cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1 tsp whole white peppercorn
  • 3 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 big red chillies, sliced (optional)
  • Half a small onion, peeled, thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp vegetable/chicken broth powder
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 0.5 cup water
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil

Bihun goreng ingredients


Instructions

  1. Soak the bihun in boiling water for about 1 minute. Drain the water and set aside.
  2. Remove the head and shell of the prawns, wash thoroughly, set aside.
  3. Slice each beef ball into 3-4 small chunks. Set aside.
  4. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and whole white peppercorn into a smooth paste. Set aside.

    Pound the garlic and peppercorn

  5. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok over high heat, fry the shrimp until it turns pink (about 4 minutes), set aside.
  6. Replace the oil with the remaining oil, heat the wok over high heat, then saute the shallots and onions for about 2 minutes.

    Saute shallots and onions

  7. Add the garlic paste and fry for another 2 minutes.
  8. Add the beef balls and fry for about 4 minutes.

    Add beef balls

  9. Add the carrots, cabbage and sliced chillies, fry for around 3 minutes.

    Add carrots, cabbage and chillies

  10. Add the vegetable broth powder.
  11. Add salt, mix well.
  12. Add water, stir and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  13. Add the bihun.
  14. Add the sweet soy sauce.

    Add the sweet soy sauce

  15. Mix all the ingredients well until the sweet soy sauce and the seasoning are well mixed. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  16. When done, add the shrimp. Mix well.
  17. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve with acar.

Notes

  • If you prefer, instead of pounding the garlic and white peppercorn, you can finely mince the garlic and use white pepper powder instead.
  • Be careful not to soak the bihun in hot water for too long, or the noodles will be too soft.

Keywords: One-pot meals, common ingredients, bee hoon, vermicelli, rice noodles, fried

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