If you love Asian noodles, you’ll love this Kolo Mee recipe! This favorite noodle dish is a specialty from Sarawak, Malaysia, a delicious mix of springy egg noodles, savory minced meat, and char siu, all tossed in a savory sauce that will surely make your taste buds dance.
It’s easy to make as it requires only a handful of common ingredients., Yet, the result is a mouthwatering bowl of noodles like those in your favorite local Chinese restaurant. It is famous for the locals for a relaxing breakfast or a quick lunch at the hawker stalls.
Some variations of Kolo Mee may also include other ingredients such as fish balls, shrimp, or vegetables. I will keep this recipe quick and easy with some store-bought items to keep it simple so you can enjoy it with minimum effort.
The origin of Kolo Mee
The origin of Kolo Mee is still unclear, but it likely originated from Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. “Kolo Mee” may also have derived from the Hokkien and Cantonese words for “dry mixed” noodles. In Hokkien, “kolo” (干捞) means “dry mix,” while in Cantonese, “gorn lo” has a similar meaning. This theory suggests that the name “Kolo Mee” come from how the dish is prepared, which involves tossing the noodles with the sauce and toppings in a dry manner.
Other names of Kolo Mee
There are other translations given to Kolo Mee. For example, dry tossed noodles, Kolo noodles, Kolok mee, Kolomee, Mee Kolok, Mee Kolo, 干捞面, and Sarawak noodles all refer to the same.
While the name may vary depending on the region or dialect, the dish is typically made with the same key ingredients. It is known for its delicious flavor and satisfying texture.
Ingredients for Kolo Mee
I will briefly explain some key ingredients before detailing the steps to make Kolo Mee.
Here is a general list of ingredients you need to make the version of the dish from Sarawak. You do not need to include all the ingredients, but most people will have all those listed as main ingredients.
- The main ingredients are egg noodles (either fresh or dried), char siu (barbecue pork), ground pork (or chicken), fried shallots, and green onions (spring onions).
- The optional ingredients are fish balls, shrimp, bean sprouts, and choy sum (or bok choy).
- The main spices and seasonings are garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, lard (vegetable oil for pork-free and healthier versions), and chili oil.
1. Char Siu (Chinese BBQ pork. char siew)
There is no point in making char siu just for preparing Kolo Mee, as only a few slices of char siu are required. I will use the store-bought char siu and fish balls for this recipe. Please refer to my char siu recipe to make it yourself.
2. Fish balls or fish cake
Similarly, use store-bought fish balls or fish cake since making them from scratch is tedious.
3. Fried shallot and oil
You can use the store-bought fried shallots but will miss out on the fragrant shallot oil. This oil is highly aromatic, making the addition of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and chicken bouillon powder irrelevant.
The remaining oil and fried shallots are ideal for preparing noodles like Ipoh shredded chicken noodles and prawn mee. Fried shallot is also a topping for biryani rice and nasi minyak. Furthermore, the process is quick and easy. You can refer to my fried shallot recipe here to make it at home.
4. Fried garlic
You may need to fry the garlic yourself as this is not commonly sold commercially. First, coarsely chop the garlic. Then fry the garlic over low heat. Stir continuously to ensure even browning. When the garlic falls slightly short of golden, pour the garlic and oil through a wire mesh strainer.
The combined flavor of fried shallot and garlic oil is irresistible.
5. Minced meat
Minced meat is the definite component that you must prepare yourself. Please refer to the recipe at the end of this article for the details.
6. Type of noodles
Freshly made springy noodles are best for preparing Kolo Mee. If you cannot find fresh egg noodles, you can use dried ones as a substitute. Look for thin egg noodles, such as Hong Kong-style ones, which will give you a similar texture to fresh ones. Wonton noodles have a different texture, which you can use if you like its springy texture.
How to prepare the noodles
This kolo mee recipe is based loosely on the Sarawak Kolo Mee recipe, with my interpretation. As such, it may be different from the authentic Kolo Mee recipe. Here are the steps:
1. Fried the shallot and garlic
- Cut the Thai shallots into thin, fine rings. Please ensure the same size so they will fry to golden brown simultaneously. It is also vital to slice them thinly as they will become crispier after deep-frying.
- Coarsely chop the garlic. We need to fry the garlic and shallots separately as garlic requires a shorter time to fry until golden.
- Fry the shallots in vegetable oil over low heat. It would be best if you stirred continuously to ensure even browning.
- When the shallots fall slightly short of golden, pour the shallots and oil through a wire mesh strainer. The residue heat of the oil will continue frying the garlic (and shallots), so you will expect the color will deepen after removing it from the oil.
- Return the strained shallot oil to the pan. Then add the garlic and repeat the same process as the shallots until the garlic turns golden and crispy. Strain again to remove the fried garlic. This garlic-shallot oil is exceptionally flavorful and can be used to mix with other dried noodles. It also accentuates the taste of any soup noodles by just adding a teaspoon before serving. Finally, You can use it to stir-fry any dish, and you will be delighted with the aroma and taste even without adding other herbs and spices,
2. Cook the minced meat
- Heat the lard (or vegetable oil for pork-free variation) in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the minced meat. Break up any large clumps with a spatula or wooden spoon. You can use chicken breast meat as an alternative.
- Add the light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and white pepper to the pan with the meat. Oyster sauce is slightly sweet, so I do not use any sugar in the recipe. Consider adding a teaspoon of sugar if you opt out of the oyster sauce. Alternatively, change to use Thai fish sauce instead of light soy sauce. You also can change the amount of dark soy sauce as it is primarily to improve the color. Add more if you prefer a darker color sauce.
- Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes, until slightly brown. Set aside the cooked minced meat for later use.
3. Cook the noodles
- Cook the egg noodles in boiling according to the package instructions (3-4 minutes for the noodles I used). When the noodles have loosened and are nearly cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in a pot of water to cool.
- Return the cooled noodles to the boiling water until fully cooked. Cooling the noodles abruptly and returning them to boiling water is a traditional method to make them more springy.
- Drained and place the noodles in the serving boil.
4. To serve
- Combine the cooked egg noodles with the sauce for the noodles in the large bowl. The sauce for the noodles indicated in the recipe below is for two servings. You need to half it if you are preparing each serving separately.
- Add a generous amount of cooked minced pork (or chicken), sliced char siu, fish balls, and choy sum.
- Sprinkle the spring onions (green onion), red chilies, fried garlic, and fried shallots on top of the noodles to serve.
- Add some pork crackles is awesome if you eat pork.
Ingredients A (The minced meat)
- 150g minced meat
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Ingredients B (Other ingredients for the noodles)
- 200g fresh egg noodles (weight after cooked)
- 6 slices Char siu
- 2 Fish balls
- 2 stalks Choy sum (or bok choy)
Ingredients C (Sauce for the noodles for two servings)
- 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp fried shallot oil
Ingredients D (Toppings)
- 2 tbsp chopped spring onions
- 2 tbsp fried shallots
- 1 tbsp fried garlic
- 2 tbsp pork crackles (optional)
- Sliced chilies to garnish
Fried the shallot and garlic:
- Coarsely chop some garlic and thinly slice the shallots
- Fry the shallots in vegetable oil over low heat. Stir continuously. When the shallot falls slightly short of golden, pour the shallot and oil through a wire mesh strainer.
- Return the strained shallot oil to the pan. Then add the garlic and repeat the same process as the shallot until the garlic turns golden and crispy. Strain again to remove the fried garlic.
Cook the minced meat
- Heat the vegetable oil to medium-high heat. Add the minced meat.
- Add the remaining ingredients A and stir-fry until browned. Set aside the cooked minced meat for later use.
Cook the noodles
- Cook the egg noodles in boiling according to the package instructions. When the noodles have loosened and are nearly cooked, remove and place them in a pot of cold water to cool.
- Return the cooled noodles to the boiling water until fully cooked.
- Drained and place the noodles in the serving boil.
- Combine the cooked egg noodles with the sauce for the noodles in the serving bowl.
- Add the minced meat sauce, sliced char siu, fish balls, and choy sum.
- Sprinkle the spring onions and fried shallots on top of the noodles.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 840Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 175mgSodium: 2258mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 58g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 20/3/2023