Chinese Food

Prawn mee – How to prepare at home (with amazing flavor)

What is a mole shrimp?

Shrimp mee (Penang Hokkien mee) is a popular noodle soup among Malaysian Chinese. The originality lies in the base of the soup, cooked with a dense amount of shrimp and mussels, combined with pork bones, concentrated in a thick, creamy and very tasty broth.

Shrimp Mee is very famous in Penang, where you will find street vendors selling this specialty with a long line of customers. Many of these companies are multi-generational family businesses and prepare their shrimp/shrimp mole according to a closely guarded secret recipe.

This article is about how to cook mole shrimp at home. If you’re craving a bowl of prawns, if you’re a Malaysian expat, or if you just love unique noodles, you’ve come to the right place.

Other names for garden shrimp

Shrimp Mi is 虾面 in Chinese. Because it is a speciality of the Hokkien, it is also called Hokkien cro, mee yoke and hee mole in northern Malaysia.

Message: Hokkien Mee is called a fried noodle dish in Central Malaysia, a very different street food. In Kuala Lumpur it is also called Hokkien-char.

Message: This article may contain affiliate links. Please read my privacy policy for more information. I may receive commissions for purchases made through the links in this article. As an Amazon assistant, I make money from eligible purchases.

How to prepare a crab mole

1. Prepare shrimp broth

Below I explain in detail how I prepare my Penang shrimp.

a. Shrimp heads and shells

The first obstacle to making this little Hokkien at home is to get enough heads and paddles. I am fortunate to live in Malaysia where these items are in high demand and sold at the wet market. I suggest you reserve the heads and shells when you buy shrimp, and when you’ve gathered an impressive amount, it’s time for a little shrimp feast.

Here are the steps:

  • Clean the shrimp’s head and armour thoroughly with water. They can be very dirty, so clean them well.
  • Wear thick gloves or gently brush them with your hands, as they are quite sharp.
  • Put them in a colander and let them soak for half an hour or until the water stops running out of the sink. You need to make sure they are dry enough because we are going to deep fry them in the next step.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large pan or wok.
  • Put the heads and mussels in a wok and cook over medium heat.
  • The duration of roasting depends on the degree of drying of the heads and peels. It usually takes about 10 minutes for the water to dry.
  • Meanwhile, you can add some dried chicken to the pan if you prefer a spicy broth, which is optional.
  • Once the water has evaporated, the colour of the shells turns a beautiful pink. You can add oil if it starts to get sticky.
  • Continue to fry until the aroma of the shrimp fills the entire kitchen.
  • Remove from the fire.

Let’s go to the next step.

Shrimp heads and shells

b. Pig bones

There are always bones in the broth, even if the noodles are called Shrimp Mee. Sometimes I think Penang Hockin meek is the best name to avoid confusion.

The most common bone is pork, but you can also use chicken bones for a pork-free version.

Here are the steps:

  • Put the bone in reserve. Add enough water to completely submerge the bone.
  • Bring it to a boil. Remove dirt from the surface from time to time.
  • Turn the heat down low to let it simmer slowly. Let the bone simmer for two to three hours.
  • Place the pork tenderloin in the broth and simmer until tender, cooking the bone at the same time. Pork tenderloin is one of the two main ingredients, along with shrimp.  Cooking time depends on the thickness of the pork loin, which needs about half an hour.  You can use a kitchen thermometer to check the comfort level. The pork is well done when the internal temperature reaches 160ºF/70°C.
  • Remove the pork from the broth as soon as it is fully cooked, because if it cooks longer, the meat will become tough. You can substitute chicken breast for the pork tenderloin if you are making a shrimp mole without pork.
  • Add a little cane sugar to the broth and continue to simmer. You can use regular white sugar if you don’t have candy sugar.
  • After you remove the meat, cook the bone for another three hours, or until the flavor is fully released. Remove the bone.  (Note: if using chicken bones, an hour and a half of simmering should be enough to get the flavor out).

v. Crab head grinding

  • Because the crab oil can be trapped in the crab heads, I crush the crab heads with a mortar and pestle to ensure that all the flavor is extracted during cooking.
  • You can use an electric blender to finely chop the heads, but we recommend not chopping them too finely until they come out of the strainer when we strain the broth later. The perfect broth is obviously quite thick, but I don’t want to overdo it until it’s too cloudy.
  • Now add the chopped head to the broth and continue to simmer. It may be necessary to add water if the broth is too little. As soon as you add the shrimp heads, the broth will immediately turn red from the shrimp oil.
  • Bring everything to a boil, then simmer over low heat for an hour. This time should be sufficient to extract the aroma as the shrimp heads are crushed.
  • Season with salt and sugar before removing from heat.

d. Deformation of the bearing

  • Place the crab shells on a colander and press them with a spatula to extract as much broth as possible. Discard bones and shells.
  • Pour the broth through a sieve to obtain a clear broth.

The broth is ready. It has an incredible flavor and is concentrated. It should be, because we add noodles to the broth to serve it.

2. Prepare ingredients

It takes a few ingredients to make the shrimp mole, except for the shrimp. Here are the details and what you can do with it.

Rice noodles and yellow egg noodles

Yellow egg noodles are wet noodles prepared with basic salt (kansui). There is a slippery feeling in the mouth when the noodles are cooked. It may not be available everywhere, so go to an Asian grocery store if you don’t live in Asia.

You probably don’t like the slightly alkaline taste, although kansui is edible and used to make other treats like zongzi and mooncakes. Remove the noodles from the bag, rinse well with water and drain.

In Malaysia, rice noodles are called Bihun 米粉. Soak it in water until it is fully moistened and soft, which will take between twenty minutes and half an hour. You can speed up hydration by soaking rice noodles in hot water.

Bean plants

The bean sprouts add crunch to the noodles in the soup.

Put the bean sprouts in a large container and fill it with water until the bean sprouts start to float.

Stir the bean sprouts by hand. The bean skin (grey/black) will detach from the sprouts. Discard the bean pods.

Wash the bean sprouts thoroughly and drain off the water.

Some bean sprouts have roots that you should remove before cooking.

Cabbage can be kept in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

Kangkung (water spinach)

Remove the root and the hard part of the stem. You can also use just the leaves, but I like to use the small stems with the leaves for their crunch.

Pork fillet or belly

The pork tenderloin is cooked in the broth as it simmers, and the fish is caught at the end of the cooking process.  Slice it into thin slices before serving. Some alternative versions of Mi shrimp use Chinese fried pork.

Fish cakes

I used a store-bought, pre-baked fish cake. You can keep it in the freezer for months if you don’t use it. I leave it on the table until it is room temperature, and I fry it lightly in a little oil before slicing.

Hard-boiled eggs

Shrimp are not complete without hard-boiled eggs. It sounds simple, but very often many hard-boiled eggs served in restaurants are colored by a gray layer on the yolk.  The paint is ugly, but not dangerous to your health.

Check out this blog for an article on how to make a perfectly hard-boiled egg without a grey layer. The protein is hard, but not rubbery.  It is best to prepare the hard-boiled eggs in advance, as they can be stored overnight in the refrigerator.


Sambal is essential for Shrimp Mee, as it is a lightly spiced noodle soup dish.  A suitable sambal to accompany crab noodles is Sambal Tumis.  There is a recipe on this blog that explains how to make Sambal Tummy with Belacan and dried shrimp.

You can also use a commercially available sambal tumbler to save time.


Add the shrimp to the broth and cook until they begin to color. Remove and place on top of the pasta before serving.

Fried shallots and chopped shallots

Just before serving, sprinkle the browned shallots and chopped green onions over the pasta. In my video on chicken noodle soup, there is a section on how to sauté the shallots. You can watch this video, between 0:34 and 1:20 minutes.

Click here if you want to use store-bought fried shallots.

4. Penang assembly and maintenance Hokkien meek

Smee shrimp are always served hot, so only boil the broth over the noodles if needed.

Here are the steps:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Put the kangkung, bean sprouts, yellow egg noodles and rice vermicelli in a colander/sieve.  I have one that is quite deep, perfect for this purpose.
  • Put all ingredients in a colander and blanch for one and a half minutes. Drain the vegetables and pasta and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Place the cooked shrimp, pork slices, fish cake slices and half a hard-boiled egg on the noodles.
  • Pour the simmering crab broth into a bowl.
  • Sprinkle the roasted shallots and onions on top for garnish.
  • Put the sambal in a tablespoon and serve with the shrimp. The sambal should be mixed with the soup before it is eaten.

Preparation time
30 minutes

Cooking time
4 hours

Total time
4 hours 30 minutes


Ingredients for broth

Ingredients for serving shrimp meal


For broth

  1. Clean the heads and shells of the shrimp, drain them well.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan or wok. Cook over medium heat.
  3. Add chicken feet, optional.
  4. Continue sautéing until it smells good. Remove from the fire.
  5. Add enough water to submerge the bone in the vault.
  6. Bring to the boil. Remove dirt from the surface from time to time.
  7. Cook pork in broth until tender, fish out and slice,
  8. Add a little sugar.
  9. Simmer for three hours. Remove the bone.
  10. Crush the crab heads with a mortar and pestle.
  11. Put the chopped head back into the stock and simmer for another hour.
  12. Season with salt.
  13. Charging broth

Mount shrimp small

  1. Remove the yellow noodles from the bag, rinse them well with water and drain them.
  2. Soak the rice noodles in water for half an hour. Drainage.
  3. Put the kangkung, bean sprouts, yellow egg noodles and rice vermicelli in a colander and blanch them in boiling water for 1½ minutes. Drain the vegetables and pasta and transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Arrange cooked shrimp, pork slices, fish cake slices and half a hard-boiled egg on the noodles.
  5. Pour boiling crab broth into a bowl.
  6. Sprinkle with fried shallots and green onions for garnish.
  7. Put the sambal in a tablespoon and serve with the prawns.

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Performance information:



Power size:


The amount of the deposit :

Calories : 895Total fat: 30gSaturated fat: 7gTrans fat: 0gSaturated fat: 20gCholesterol: 742mgSodium: 4210mgCarbons: 59gFibre: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 93g

This data was reported by Nutritionix and calculated on March 19, 2021.

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