Cincalok is a traditional Southeast Asian condiment made of fermented tiny shrimps or krill - it's thought to come from Malacca or Penang? Usually served with chilis, raw chopped shallots and lime juice - cincalok pairs great as a dipping sauce for grilled seafood and meats for a super savory added salty punch.
My husband, who loves anything pickled, salty and savory, came home one day with a bottle (what for? no idea). If you've ever opened a bottle of cincalok, you'd know it is an art in itself. After he exploded half of it's contents all over the kitchen floor, I decided to use the rest of the bottle to level up my vegetarian bee hoon recipe. And level up it did, these small shrimps bring on some serious flavor bombs to this dish!
This recipe serves 4-6 people. Prep time 5 minutes, total cook time 20 minutes.
1 packet or 400g bee hoon/rice vermicelli noodles
200g chicken, minced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 packet bean sprouts
3/4 or 1 cup cincalok
3 chili padi, chopped
3 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt & white pepper to taste
1 cup spring onion, chopped coarsely
1 cup fried shallots
1. Soak bee hoon in warm water for 30 mins. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large frying pan, fry garlic and onion with oil until fragrant and golden brown.
3. Add chicken and chilis with soy sauce, salt & pepper. Make sure to break up the chicken with your spatula so you don't get large chunks of chicken.
4. Add cincalok and fry for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add bee hoon, salt & pepper and chili powder. Fry until everything is completely coated with the sauce.
6. When the noodles are cooked, add in the bean sprouts and stir until it is half cooked. Remove from heat. The beansprout will continue cooking in the heat of the noodles, so cooking it half-way ensures it does not get soggy.
7. Serve hot with a generous sprinkling of spring onion and fried shallots.
ALY'S COOKING TIPS
1. You can add as much cincalok as you like, depending on your taste for the umami savoriness. I'd recommend a minimum of 3/4 cup though otherwise the flavor does not come through.
2. You can add any type of minced meat you prefer, just make sure to season it well even before you add the bee hoon. The rule of thumb is that the meat in any of your dishes should be able to stand on it's own. So don't leave your salt seasoning only to the end - you should be seasoning every step of the way!!
3. You can omit the chili powder altogether however I prefer any bee hoon dish that contains meat to be red in color. Not sure why!?
4. You can load up on the veggies in this dish. Any leafy green would go with the dish, or thinly sliced cabbage. I did not have any when making this dish.
5. I've never tried but I imagine using laksa noodles or yellow noodles would go as well . -however I would be careful that it would be too heavy since the cincalok taste packs a huge punch already.