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Malaysian-Style Fried Noodles with Sweet Potato
In Penang, Malaysia, at Cawangan Boundary food stall, we tasted the noodle stir-fry called mee goreng. To make the dish, proprietors Sarina Binti Hussin and Abdul Hamid Bin Mohamad Husin wok-cook noodles, seasoning them with two different sauces that involve lentils, sweet potatoes, peanuts, tamarind, alliums and multiple types of chilies. The flavor was richly complex, with charred, salty-sweet notes and noodles with an almost meaty character. This is our much-simplified version of it. Mee goreng typically is made with precooked yellow-hued wheat noodles that resemble spaghetti with a bouncy, resilient texture. These noodles can be difficult to source, so here we approximate them by boiling dried lo mein in water alkalized with baking soda, a process often called “ramenizing.” The higher pH of the cooking liquid turns the lo mein slightly golden in color while also making them chewier and springier.
tablespoon baking soda
ounces dried lo mein (see headnote)