The best noodle dish I've ever had - Mie Goreng Ayam! Fresh egg noodles, juicy bits of chicken thighs fried in rendered chicken fat (or vegetable oil), shrimp, traditional Indonesian greens and scallions, all covered with the perfect sweet & sticky sauce.
My podcast guest M. Aimee at this dish at home for celebrations, but it's also popular in street stalls and at the world famous Solaria restaurants in Indonesia.
Mie Goreng is easy enough to make on a week night and delicious enough to serve to anyone. For perfect authentic noodles, make sure you read through the FAQ section before popping down to the recipe below!
About M. Aimee, Contributor of This Mie Goreng Ayam Recipe
Aimee’s grandfather was perpetually hungry, subsisting sometimes on as little as a sweet potato a day. So when he was given the opportunity at 12 years old to leave China and join his uncle in Indonesia, he took it. He didn’t see his parents or siblings for 30 years. Two generations later, M. Aimee left the comfortable life that this same grandfather built for her in Indonesia. She moved around the globe to study. In her episode of The Storied Recipe Podcast, we discuss this dish encapsulates her Chinese-Indonesian heritage. She shares the nuances of her experience as a third culture kid growing up in a minority, mixed-race home in Indonesia.
What Mie Goreng Means to M. Aimee
Mie Goreng (Fried Noodle) is a quintessential Indo dish that is quite simple and humble. Noodle fried with sweet Soy Sauce and garnished with pickled cucumber and sambal ( hot sauce) is one of the dishes that you can find being sold on the street, canteens, even fine restaurants in Indo.
Mie Goreng is a must for every birthday celebration as it symbolizes longevity.
I find that this dish is a perfect reflection of who I am as a third-generation Chinese Indonesian. (This dish is brought over by Chinese immigrants to Indonesia). Also I love noodles so much. My love for noodles definitely came from my Dad who is a noodle enthusiast himself. Every so often, I would find myself in a car with Dad driving to our fave noodle places. I can't recall the number of times I watched the noodle vendor making the orders with the flaming hot wok. It was so rhythmic, mesmerizing, quick and magical.
Questions About Making Mie Goreng
Can I use regular soy sauce instead of ABC Kecap Manis soy sauce?
No! I am very liberal when it comes to recipe substitutions, but in this case, the Kecap Manis is absolutely essential to this dish! As M. Aimee explains in her episode, Indonesian soy sauce is a different kind of soy sauce altogether. Kecap Manis has a sweet, caramelized flavor and is very thick. Both elements are critical for this recipe.
The recipe says to cook the chicken in chicken fat. Where do I find that?
M. Aimee taught me a new cooking technique when we discussed this recipe in our interview! She says that in Indonesia, it is possible to buy chicken fat. I've never seen that here in the States, but it was very easy to make my own chicken fat, following her recipe! I simply bought bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I removed the skin, placed it in a skillet on medium-high, and cooked until crispy. All the fat rendered out of the skin. Meanwhile, most of the kids and I shared the crispy, delicious skins. My husband felt that was gross, but to me, it was absolutely delicious!!
Whether you decide to use chicken fat or vegetable oil, M. Aimee named "skimping on the oil" as one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when making this dish. (Indeed, if you're looking to make Mie Goreng Solaria, I can promise you that restaurants *never* skimp on oil!)
What is Yu Choi and where can I find it?
Yu Choi is a beautiful Chinese green pictured below. I had no trouble finding it at my local H Mart (a national Asian grocery chain with several stores near me). However, M. Aimee says if you have trouble finding it, just substitute with Bok Choi, Baby Bok Choy, or any other green of your choice.
How long do I cook the egg noodles for Mie Goreng?
This is an important point - fresh egg noodles cook only for a matter of *seconds*. M. Aimee says one of the biggest mistakes you can make for this dish is to overcook the noodles before covering them with the sauce. So follow package instructions carefully. (Again, there is an enormous selection of fresh egg noodles at my local H Mart.)
What should I serve with Mie Goreng?
M. Aimee says it is traditional to serve Acar Timun - pickled, cubed cucumber and carrots - with this dish. You can find the recipe here.
Is Mie Goreng Ayam the same as Mie Goreng?
Ayam simply means chicken, so Mie Goreng Ayam is fried noodles with chicken. This recipe from M. Aimee contains chicken.
What is Mie Goreng Solaria?
Solaria is a popular Indonesian restaurant that serves Mie Goreng. This recipe from M. Aimee is guaranteed to be equally as delicious!
Can I make vegetarian Mie Goreng?
Sure! Just omit the chicken (and shrimp, if you desire) and feel free to replace with tofu or any other proteins of your choice.
You can learn more about making Mie Goreng, it's Chinese and Indonesian roots, and M. Aimee's experience as a third culture kid (really 4th!) here:
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A Note on This Episode
"I've just listened to the episode "A peanut never forgets its shell" and your guest mentioned cooking with chicken fat. I assume this is due to Indonesia being a predominantly muslim country that chicken fat is used rather than the more usual lard.
I am from the neighbouring Malaysia where it's more liberal ( our government did not ban the chinese minority from practising their culture and language) and we do share the use of kecap manis. (an interesting fact: the english word "ketchup" is borrowed from the malay word "kecap / kicap") It's used in braising to add colour as well as flavour. We also use it mixed with granulated sugar and chopped chillies as a dip for unripe sour mango for snacking.
I thought you might want to know that you can render chicken fat from skins by spreading it on a baking tray and roasting it in a 200C oven for 10 - 15 mins, depending on how big the pieces of skins are. I do this quite often with skins from chicken thighs. You end up with moreish golden amber shards of crackling and lovely flavourful fat. I save the fat for spreading on toasts to go with soups in winter for my husband's lunches (He's English) It keeps well in a jar in the fridge. I've been lucky with my local butcher - he would sometimes give me chicken skins that they trim off the chicken parts that they sell. In return, I occasionally bake him cookies."
From Aiwon, A Malaysian Chinese listener