Saturday, September 29, 2007

Foochow Chicken Mien Xien (Sou Mien)

Mien Xien or Xien Mien (Suo Mein in Foochow) are very thin white noodles. Mien Xien or Mee Sua (in Hokkien) cooked with Chicken Soup is a signature foochow dish. Almost every foochow grew up on this.

Chicken Soup Mee Sua (Sou Mein) make their appearances in almost all occasions big & small. And I really mean ALL ocassions BIG & SMALL ~ from childbirths and confinements, 1-year-old to 99-year old birthdays, and on weddings. On my wedding, I was fed this from the time i did my makeup up to my in laws' house. Even the groom & their 'brothers' were not spared from this. Greg & his 'brothers' were stuffed with this when they came to pick me up as the bride.

Sou Mien is also breakfast, lunch or dinner, and whenever I am too lazy to cook. I'm just glad it's one of Greg's favourite dish and he rarely gets tired of it. This is how you do it:

a) Chicken Soup

1.2 to 1.5 kg of free range chicken/chai yuan chicken, washed and cut to small pcs
8 pcs of dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in room temperature water till soft)
small handful of thornberries (goa zi)
10 pcs of red dates (hung zhoa)
4-5 slices of ginger
2tbsp of sesame oil
6-8 cups of water
1/2 cup of foochow red wine (special wine of sourish taste, fermentation of red rice and glutinous rice)

1)Heat wok with sesame oil. Add ginger and fry till fragrant. With high heat, add mushrooms and then chicken and fry, stirring for a 2-3 min. Add foochow red wine (get the best quality you can grab hold of. Usually homemade). Cover and boil for 5 min or so.

2) Boil the water in a big pot, water should come approx only half of pot as we are adding chicken mixture to it. Add red dates and thornberries and continue boiling.

3) Add chicken mixture. Let it boil. Once boiling turn the fire down to small and let it simmer for at least one hour for flavour to come out.

b) The Sou Mien

About 30-40 gm per person. Good quality sou mien is characterised by lightness and thinness. Thick ones are usually not as good tasting. Mee sua must be cut into bunches of 15-20 cm long and twisted into circles, then sun dried well for at least a full day and kept in tupperware. Good quality sou mien are separated upon cooking. Lesser quality ones tend to stick into one big lump.

Boil a small pot water and add sou mien. Let the noodle boil for a min or so or water boils until foamy. Strain and dish it out and place in individual bowls. Pour hot boiling chicken soup over noodles. Give lots of soup. Arrange chicken pcs and mushrooms on top. Serve with your favourite soy sauce and more red wine. This dish smells so good especially if the red wine is of good quality.

This dish has a very significant meaning to me. Not only it is Mum's favourite, my great grandma (Tui Ma) cooked this so well. As a child bride who came from China and having a 3-inch feet lady as a mother-in-law, Tui Ma was a lady who had gone through immense hardship. Yet, she was such a loving, giving and gritty lady. She was someone who never complained about who had not done enough for her, but instead she worried about if she had done enough for all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

She readily extended her love and generousity to all those around her including her neighbours and friends. Most importantly, she was the first person in the family to accept Christ and thus making us the fourth generation, and including my cousin Chris' children, the fifth generation of Christian in this land. Such blessed gift she had given us!

I had the pleasure and honour of knowing her up to about 7 years old. But I still remember the last bowl of foochow suo mein she had cooked for me. We arrived in Sibu to visit her and in a way, saying our farewells. She got out of her sickbed and cooked the bowl because she knew I loved it. She left us in 1982 after fighting colon cancer. But she is still the most loved and well respected person in all our hearts. Such a blessing she was to all who knew her!


Terri @ hungerhunger said...

wow, u r blessed to have such a great grandma. 'gritty' is d word for all those ladies who came n toiled yet never gave up.

Greg Wee said...

Nee: ya..sometimes ladies like her has to hold up half of the sky and yet did it with such grace and patient. Wonder example she was. i still have a lot to learn from her.

Roger said...

When are you going to start making your own "Soh Mian"? BTW, how much does Greg weigh now? It will be a wonder if he is not 80kg !

Anonymous said...

hi greg & nee, encounted your mee sua's recipes while surfing, was wondering wht i can post it in our magazine. Don't know how to contact you, so would be great if you can email me your contacts at

Greg Wee said...

NEE: you can contact us at or just drop us a post in our blog or in the chatbox at the upper rite hand corner.

KittyCat said...

I have this every Chinese New Year when we return to Kuching!

Thanks for sharing the recipe - sounds like one can easily cook it. But can I sub the red wine with another type of wine? I can't read Chinese...

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