Fermented small shrimps give this Cincaluk Char Beehoon (rice noodles) its distinctive umami flavor. Delicious served with lime juice and cut red chilies.
One of the fastest meals to prepare is good ol’ fried noodles. It takes only about 30 minutes from start to finish and lunch or dinner can be served. The ingredients are often pretty simple and basic. Occasionally, a specialty ingredient may be added as is the case in this Cincaluk Char Beehoon (Fried Rice Noodles with Fermented Shrimps).
Cincaluk or fermented shrimps is made of small shrimps, salt, and rice. The ingredients are thoroughly mixed, sealed in a jar, and allowed to ferment for a few days. After which the shrimps turn pink and is ready to be used.
Cincalok is definitely an acquired taste. It is pretty salty and has a strong umami flavor. When served as a condiment with chilies, shallots, and lime juice, a little sugar is added to neutralize the saltiness. Cincaluk is also often used as a flavoring in cooked dishes. It goes especially well with eggs and pork.
I used fried shallots and chilies as a garnish but chopped cilantro and sliced green (spring) onions will also work well. Be sure to have lots of limes on hand. Cincaluk Char Beehoon is delicious served with lime juice. The lime juice gives it a fresh and zesty flavor.
Taugeh (bean sprouts) may be used in place of chai sim if preferred. The amount of cincaluk used can be reduced for a milder or subtler flavor. However, I would recommend using at least ½ cup (120g) cincaluk or the flavor will not come through.
I hope you will give it a try.
Note: Cincaluk may be purchased at some specialty Asian grocery stores. They usually come in tall narrow bottles. Do take care when opening the bottle as pressure often builds up from the fermentation. Once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator.
- 10.5 oz (300g) beehoon (rice sticks/noodles)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10.5 oz (300g) ground pork
- 10.5 oz (300g) shrimps, shelled and deveined
- ¾ cup (180g) cincaluk (fermented small shrimps)
- ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 10.5 oz (300g) chai sim (choy sum/yu chai/oilseed rape)
- ¼ cup fried shallots
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 2 red chilies, seeded and sliced thinly
- 2 to 3 tbsp soy sauce
- Soak beehoon (rice sticks/noodles) for 30 minutes. Drain.
- Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large fry pan. Sauté garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add ground pork. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Break up ground pork into smaller bits with spatula. Add shrimps and continue to stir fry for another 2 minutes or until shrimps turn pink and curl. Pour in cincaluk and stir fry for another minute.
- Add noodles, salt, pepper, and chai sim. Stir to get everything well mixed.
- Continue to stir and toss until beehoon and chai sim are cooked, about 6 to 7 minutes or so.
- Remove and divide into 4 individual plates. Garnish with fried shallots. Serve immediately with lime wedges and cut chilies dipped in soy sauce on the side.