Prawn Noodle Soup

Penang Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodle Soup)

There are two different types of prawn noodle soup in Singapore and Malaysia. The Penang version has sambal chilli added to the soup that gives it a hot and spicy look & taste. The prawns are fried until golden, then sliced and the bowl of noodles is served with a spoon of sambal chilli. The Singapore version (Hae Mee) is a brown prawn soup and is served with boiled prawns, sometimes in its shells. To serve, a dollop of dried prawn chilli powder is added on top of the noodles. Both versions use prawn shells for the soup base. They are quite different in taste but both are equally delicious. This recipe is the Penang version.


8 fresh prawns
3 cups of water
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sambal chilli
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soya sauce
¼ tsp dark soy sauce
125 gm yellow noodles
Handful of water spinach

To serve:
1 tbsp fried onion
1 tsp sambal chilli


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry the prawns until golden. Remove fried prawns to a dish.
  2. Add prawn shells to the pan and fry them until fragrant. Add 3 cups of water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the prawn stock to remove the solids.
  3. In the meanwhile, bring a pot of water to the boil. Add noodles and cook until tender. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the water spinach to the water and remove when cooked. Set aside.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot. Add garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant.
  6. Add sambal chilli and fry over low heat for a couple of seconds. Pour the strained stock into the pot. Bring the soup back to a boil.
  7. Add seasoning (salt, sugar, soy sauce and dark soy sauce). Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. It should be quite salty to flavour the noodles.
  8. Braise the noodles and water spinach in the soup for a few minutes. Remove noodles and water spinach to the serving bowls.
  9. Top the noodles with the sliced fried prawns and fried onion.
  10. Ladle hot soup over the noodles and serve, with a tablespoon of sambal chilli for those who like it really spicy.

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