I had to think hard about what to cook for today's IMBB V-Fish event. My fish repertoire is very narrow; fresh fish is either steamed or deep-fried. Occasionally I might bake a whole fish in aluminium foil, or cook a fish curry. The other factor to consider is if I wanted to use fresh fish, I had to drag myself to the fishmonger, and this morning I woke up late, so no fresh fish. And the family was waiting to eat a fishy lunch. Luckily I had an old family recipe up my sleeves: Chan-Che's Sardines Beehoon.
Chan-Che (Elder Sister Chan) was my mother's domestic help/cook/gardener/housekeeper and she looked after our family of five children while my mother went out to work. She was and still is, a terrific cook, so good that my mother's cooking never quite matched up. She left our household after we grew up and is now cooking for other lucky families. I used to watch her cook but did not learn her recipes, which may explain why I like, and know how to eat well, but am not terribly competent at cooking. Anyways, Chan-Che was always cooking because we teenagers had huge and ravenous appetities. One day she ran out of fresh ingredients and had no time to go to the market (similar to my situation, ahem), so she put together this dish with whatever was in the kitchen cupboard.
Ingredients (amount can feed 4-6 hungry teenagers):
1 pack of beehoon (thin rice noodles)- soaked in hot waiter till 95% cooked
3 medium cans of Sardines in Tomato Sauce. I like to use Ayam Brand.
1 piece of ginger, about thumb-sized- finely julienned
2 large onions- cut into half rings
3 large chilli- deseeded and finely sliced
6 small chilli- deseeded and ground finely
1. Saute the onions till it is transparent but not soft. Remove and set aside.
2. Heat some more oil in the wok. Saute the ginger in oil for about 20 seconds.
3. Add the sardines, ground chilli, tomato sauce and chilli sauce. The sardines get smashed up somewhat, don't worry, it is supposed to do so. Cook the mixture down until it is thick and nearly dry.
4. Add the beehoon to the wok. Toss quickly to coat with the sardines. Do not toss too much, or the beehoon will disintegrate like what happened to my dish (never mind it was still very tasty, and we couldn't do another because we ran out of sardines). Toss the cooked onions with the beehoon just before serving. There will be some lovely charred bits sticking to the bottom of the wok, rewards for the cook. Enjoy.