Hawker Food Recipes
If there’s anything learnt from 2021, it’s how precious dining out is. Even with some eased restrictions, the 2 pax limit looms over bigger family and friend groups who have to play Thanos and decide who to cut.
Well, save the trouble with these 6 tried-and-tested hawker recipes for you to recreate at home. From a satisfying bowl of sliced fish soup to smoky and charred chicken satay, who knows, serving homemade hawker delights might just become the new normal for you.
1. Sliced Fish Soup
From crying children to OLs, sliced fish soup is a hawker favourite. With simple steps, it’s also a great dish for cooking beginners to add to their repertoire. The recipe comes in two easy parts, namely marinating the fish and making the fish stock.
That said, while the recipe is generally simple and straightforward to make, the flavours from this recipe are absolutely phenomenal. There are so many flavours in a single spoonful – the richness of the deep fried fish bones, the savoury flavour of dried sole fish, all balanced with refreshing sweetness from sliced ginger. Chef’s kiss, indeed.
Protip: Not sure where to get Red Snapper fish slices? Fresh from the wet market is best, and most fishmongers will be more than happy to help you slice the fish upon request. If not, frozen slices are also available at supermarkets.
Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 4-6.
2. Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Don’t worry, your kitchen won’t be left smokey or oily after using this recipe. Instead of a charcoal open-flame, this chicken satay recipe is oven-grilled.
The satay paste itself contains 10 shallots, 6 cloves of garlic, lemongrass and cumin powder on top of 8 other seasonings. This delicious marinade, lathered all over tender pieces of chicken thigh, is a real treat for your tastebuds.
Protip: Of course, you can’t have satay without peanut sauce, so a tantalising recipe for that is included as well. For the sauce, some lesser-known ingredients such as galangal might warrant a quick trip to the market or grocery store beforehand.
Preparation Time: 1 hour (+3 hours marination) Serves 20-24 pieces.
3. Eggplant with Minced Meat & Salted Fish
This one’s for all the cai fan lovers. Braised eggplant is an economic rice staple, and here we have a recipe that not just recreates, but elevates the classic dish with flavours of minced meat and salted fish. It’s also topped off with chopped spring onion for added lightness.
Many of us choose cai fan because it’s fast and convenient — and this dish is no different. This recipe can be completed under 30 minutes, perfect for WFH lunches.
Protip: This dish goes well with a bowl of fragrant white rice. Start cooking the rice shortly before making this recipe, and both elements should be ready to serve together for a complete meal.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes. Serves 4.
4. Homemade Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
Be warned, this recipe for char siu is addictive! Traditionally, you would have to use a sizzling hot charcoal oven to achieve the desired texture and taste. However, we’ve found an easier way to do it at home, all without losing any of the umami flavour or tenderness of the meat.
Through this method of simmering on the wok first before grilling in the oven, you’ll find that the char siu remains juicy on the inside while the outside is coated with a power-packed glaze. It’s almost hard to believe that so many layers of flavour can be achieved with less than 10 ingredients.
Protip: As a rule of thumb, you should use cuts of meat that have some fat around it to retain the juiciness after roasting. Pork collar is the default cut of meat for this recipe, but feel free to use other cuts like pork jowl and pork belly to your liking!
Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes. ( +6 hours marination) Serves 4.
5. Chilli Ban Mee
While this dish originates from KL, it’s no secret that Singaporeans will gladly queue up for a good bowl of Chilli Ban Mee, or Pan Mee as it is known in Malaysia. There are many different variations, but in this homemade Chilli Ban Mee recipe, you’ll have all the essentials — an explosive chilli paste, crispy anchovies and tasty minced pork, all topped with a perfect poached egg.
Simple steps can add so much to the taste of your dish. For instance, instead of cooking the minced meat in fresh oil, using reserved oil from frying the anchovies will boost the flavour. You should also let the pork soak up the marinade for 30 minutes or more for an added kick.
Protip: There’s some prep work to do before putting this dish together. First, the belacan needs to be toasted, which is easily done in an oven or on a pan with low heat. Secondly, you have to hydrate the dried prawns and dried chilli by soaking them in hot water for about 15 minutes.
Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 2.
6. Salted Egg Yolk Chicken
This Salted Egg Yolk Chicken recipe is a classic Zi Char favourite for both kids and adults alike. Making it home also means you can tailor the spice level to exactly how you like it — add fewer curry leaves for the kids, or more chilli padi for a spicier sensation.
Salted egg sauce looks complex to make, but it’s actually very simple with just 4 ingredients which are salted egg yolk, oil, ginger and garlic. Give it a go, and you can use this same technique to make salted egg yolk sauce for other recipes too.
Protip: One more ingredient we forgot to add to the recipe is… an ice-cold beer. Chill the beer in the fridge when you start prepping, and it’ll be perfect to pair with the savoury flavours of this dish by the time you’re done cooking.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Serves 4.
Homemade Hawker Food Recipes
We love our hawker food! While we wait for restrictions to ease even more, perhaps now’s a good time to try your hand at recreating these dishes yourself. Why not invite your loved ones as well? You’ll have lots of fun, and maybe even find a newfound appreciation for the uncles and aunties who whip up delicious hawker fare for you everyday.
Some other recipes you might like:
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