--- You can watch Junda Khoo prepare his mie goreng in Adam & Poh's Malaysia in Australia, 8.30pm Thursday, Nov 11 on SBS Food and SBS On Demand. For recipes, articles and more head to the program page. ---
Indomie instant fried noodles have long been synonymous with student diets, wannabe homeowners and others on tight budgets.
Mention mie goreng, which means fried noodles in Bahasa Indonesia, and you're bound to elicit fond memories of childhood or a record of some sort ("I remember eating that for two weeks straight to save for such-and-such").
Fast forward to today and Indomie, produced by Indonesian company IndoFood, sits on the shelves of local supermarkets throughout dozens of countries, including Malaysia, with some suppliers stocking up to four flavours. It can be considered a household staple because you can add whatever you want to it.
Its versatility has propelled it to the third best-selling dish at Malaysian Ho Jiak restaurants in Sydney, New South Wales. Owner Junda Khoo says it was originally meant for staff meals, but after much persuasion, it became a special menu item. "Boom. It's now the third best-selling dish. We buy it by the pallet to keep up with the demand," Khoo tells SBS Food.
"Boom. It's now the third best-selling dish. We buy it by the pallet to keep up with the demand."
Khoo, a self-taught chef (or 'khook', according to his Instagram bio), features the version he made during his high-school and uni days. During this time he and his younger brother lived away from his native Malaysia and parents, and he found comfort in Indomie's convenience. The pair would sometimes devour five packets a day, three times a week.
Asked for his favourite addition to Indomie, Khoo turns to lobster (it's on the menu at Ho Jiak – he filmed the process during lockdown if you want to check it out). He encourages people who want to take their mie goreng to the next level to make the most of Australia's abundance of quality seafood.
Aside from lobster, he thinks king prawns and crabs work well in Indomie too. Vegetarians, don't despair – add choy sum and tofu puffs for added texture and freshness.
If seafood isn't your thing and you don't have many veggies on hand, Khoo suggests a few basic ingredients to elevate Indomie: sliced red onion, chopped garlic, an extra teaspoon each of chilli paste and kecap manis, a splash of Shaoxing wine and an egg, sunny side up.
Kaul reaches for sambal ijo (green-chilli sambal) and sambal pedas (spicy pedas, which contains red chillis) when she's craving Indomie. She also tops it with a fried egg.
Quang Nguyen, chef and owner of Ong Vietnamese Kitchen in Adelaide, South Australia, also grew up with Indomie on hand. "Mum cooked it for us until we were old enough and learned to make it ourselves," he recalls.
Nguyen made a late-night version recently after he and his wife, Thy, put their daughter to bed. "We had black garlic and wagyu so I thought, 'why not?'".
The instant noodles make a monthly appearance in the Nguyen household and he adds whatever ingredients he happens to be experimenting with. This means truffle, foie gras and grilled prawns have all made it in. "Pretty much anything silly you could add, I've tried it."
His recipe starts with the original Indomie, including the accompanying condiments, and expands to include bean sprouts, a little extra kecap manis sauce, and of course, fried egg. "I save some of the water the noodles are cooked in to make the sauce with black garlic. If I'm adding bean spouts, I like to add a little chicken powder and ABC [kecap manis] sauce too."
Ready to take your instant mie goreng to the next level? Give your Indomie the chef's treatment.
- 2 packets Indomie, blanched al dente then mixed with all of its packet seasonings
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp chilli paste
- 1 tbsp kecap manis
- 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 egg
- Half a red onion
- Bring water to boil in a saucepan then reduce to a simmer.
- Add Indomie noodles. Blanch and mix them over medium heat; put aside.
- In a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat, fry the onions and garlic in oil until fragrant.
- Add the noodles and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the chilli paste and mix well.
- Add the kecap manis and Shaoxing wine and mix well again.
- Fry an egg in a frying pan, yolk side up.
- Serve the noodles in a bowl and top with the sunny-side egg.
Photos supplied by Junda Khoo.
Sayur lodeh means “vegetables cooked in coconut milk” it’s a dish that has Indonesian origins from Java.