At her restaurant Morsels, chef Petrina Loh has built a repertoire of nourishing, shared dishes in her innovative Asian fusion cooking style.
Its food is created with a strong focus on produce and uses age-old methods like fermentation, salting, as well as an understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Preserving these traditions as well as heritage recipes is important to the chef, who shares a Heng Hwa Pah Mee recipe passed down from her paternal grandmother.
“Most Heng Hwa families are familiar with this dish,” she says, referring to people from Putian in eastern Fujian, China. “My paternal grandmother cooked it on the first day of the Chinese New Year and on birthdays. I learned how to make it from her, verbally, and wrote down the recipe. She demonstrated the vegetarian version when she went vegan, but told me what the regular version was like.
Due to the difficulty in finding some of the authentic ingredients for this recipe, Loh does not cook it as often as she would like. For example, the dah me used is handmade and hard to find. As an alternative, Loh sometimes uses the more commercial me knew. As for ingredients like the red mushroom that her grandmother used to get from Putian, Loh now buys through Chinese online shopping platform Taobao.
“I cook Heng Hwa Pah Mee once in a while when I think of my grandmother,” she says.“As she and my father are no longer there, it is nostalgic for me to be able to cook dishes from my dialect group and keep these recipes.
Chief Petrina’s Heng Hwa Pah Mee
1 whole chicken bone
20g old skin washed with ginger on rounds
3l the water
20g spring onion background
2 rooms chicken thigh
1/4c Wine Hua Tiao
Pinch of white pepper powder
6 pieces dried shiitake mushroom soaked in hot water overnight, stems separated
3/4c dried red mushroom soaked in hot water overnight, stems separated
20 pieces soaked lily stem
15g Sesame oil
60g cooking oil
30g minced garlic
Pinch Morton’s Kosher Salt
1 tbsp cooking oil
8 pieces shallot
1/2 cup cooking oil
90g dried dah me Where me knew
100g stems and leaves of chye sim separated and cut into finger lengths
1.5l bleaching water
10g morton’s kosher salt
10g spring onion top
1/2 cup roasted peanut
40g Putian specialty wild seaweed (南日岛野生头水紫菜)
200ml cooking oil
- Heat a pot of blanching water, blanch the chicken bones.
- In a pot, mix 3l of water, the chicken bones, the spring onions, the old slices of ginger and the stems of the two mushrooms.
- While the broth is boiling, marinate the chicken thigh with Hua Tiao wine and 3g salt after cutting it into bite-sized pieces.
- Cook the broth for 2-3 hours, strain.
- Bring the strained broth to a boil, add the marinated chicken thigh, keep on low heat. Add the filtered water from the mushrooms, cook for about 2 hours over a low, slow heat until the chicken is tender.
- Peel the shallots and cut them into rings, mix the shallots and oil in a saucepan and bring to low-medium heat, cook until the shallots brown. Reserve for later use.
- In a frying pan, mix 60 g of cooking oil with 15 g of sesame oil, heat over medium heat. Add chopped garlic, fry until aromatic. Add the stem of lily of the valley, brown for 2-3min, pour 3 tablespoons of broth. Remove and reserve.
- In the same skillet, add the mushrooms and sauté. Add 1 cup broth and simmer until liquid is dry. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
- Take 1 egg and a pinch of salt, beat until well blended. In another pan, oil it and make a thin omelette, cut it into strips.
- In a wok, fill with 1.5l of water and 10g of coarse salt, bring to the boil.
- When the water boils in the wok, add the chye sim stalks to blanch them first. Cool in an ice bath. Continue with the chye sim leaves, blanch and let cool. Squeeze to dry. Reserve for later use. Make sure all vegetable pieces are removed from the blanching water.
- When the water in the wok boils, add dah mecook for about 5-8 minutes until al dente. Remove and cool under running water, also to remove the starch.
- Put dah me in a mixing bowl and mix well with the shallot oil and fried shallots. reserve for assembly.
- Roast the peanuts in a pan with a little oil and salt, or in the oven.
- IIn a shallow pan, heat 200ml of cooking oil. When the oil is about to smoke, turn off the heat and let it cool slightly. fry the seaweed until crispy and let it sit on paper towels to absorb the oil.
- Slice chives and cilantro for garnish.
- Remove the chicken and strain the soup of any oil and scum.
- To assemble, put dah me in a bowl and top with mushrooms, lily stem, chye sim stems and leaves, sliced egg omelet, chicken, then peanuts and seaweed. Garnish with spring onion and cilantro. When ready to serve, heat the soup and pour over it.