Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Experience of Confinement and Hand Pulled Noodles/Mee Hoon Kuey

It's nearly week 4 of my confinement. I am very blessed. Having my parents and grandmother travel from Singapore to help out as we get used to having a baby. My very generous mother took time off work and as a family, we decided that they will be spending 2+ months with us. It's a big deal, as not only does little Asher has a chance to know his grandparents and great-grandmother, we have not stayed together under one roof since I was 16 for such a long period of time.

Confinement, as the name suggests, indicate that I am confined to at home during the first month of Asher's life or post delivery. While many would say confinement is like "jail at home", I begged to differ. For most of it, I agree with the concept. This month is used more for recovery and getting used to parenthood to a new infant with help from women who have been through it. Not to mention, I enjoy the confinement food;which is meant to restore energy and nourishment to the body.

I did break a few rules of course. Traditionally, I'm not allowed to wash my hair. Well, rest assured, I did wash my hair but probably every few days. Given that it is winter and I'm not in humid Singapore, that does not bother me. Grandma explained I have to keep my body warm to prevent any future illnesses. Well, I guess I did listen by showering and washing my hair in hot water and blow drying it immediately.

Then of course, there is this myth that one should not drink water as that causes water retention. As I am breastfeeding, I need to keep the hydration up so I drank a combination of water and the warm logan/red date/ginger drink. My poor mother has to keep reminding me to drink it to the point she would give me a mug of it while I breastfeed.

Usually the baby is looked after by the confinement lady (which in this case, my whole family) to provide maximum rest for the new mother. Asher is sleeping with us though, and most of his needs are taken care by us. While it is tiring, my mother understood that it is important for breastfeeding reasons. My family stepped in to look after Asher, so that I can take a nap or shower during the day.

Confinement means I am not allowed out. Well, I broke that twice. Once when I needed some documents signed so it was a quick 30 mins trip, whereas the other time, I could not resist and headed to a children and baby expo that was held once a year. My mother went with me and we had a great time being out. The expo was indoors though and we kept it fairly short.

My mum prepared most of the food, with many of it ginger based. Due to my surgery, Mum lessen the amount of ginger as it was said that to much "heat producing" food might cause infections. Nevertheless, I enjoyed all the meals for numerous reasons. While I love cooking, it's really lovely having mum looking after me (!) and it is one less thing I need to worry about while I get to know Asher better.

As the month ends, I will be glad to be able to go out for walks (I'm very eager to shed the baby weight), and run errands. I'm glad that while my family is pro-confinement, they also respect our wishes and allowed me to wash my hair, look after Asher and looked after all the other necessities! It's a luxury and one that I am basked in the love and sacrifice of my family.

 I'm still quite behind in blogging my adventures of cooking before I delivered. In actual fact, I have bookmarked quite a few things I want to do when I am not working. Hubby commented that he really enjoyed me being a "housewife/domestic engineer" during that period of time!

Hand Torn Noodles or Mee Hoon Kuey is one of it. In theory, it is a really simple hawker dish to make. However, it requires time to do it. I chose it because I recall the happy memories that went with it. It was a dish of choice when I hang out with my dearest of friends. Three girls, sharing two bowls. One would prefer the meat, the other likes the vegetables in it. I'm the one who benefited the most- I like everything in the bowl of mee hoon kuey with extra chill.

There are many recipes out there for Mee Hoon Kuey, but I quite like this one. I added soya beans to the dried anchovies broth which I believe imparts a sweeter flavour. The other thing I changed, was to microwave some anchovies to make it crispy- rather than frying it in oil. The negative about it is that I couldn't keep it crisp for a long time. I burnt two batches of it before getting the timing of the microwave right too.

The dough can't be kept so this dish is best eaten fresh.

Next post- Asher's full month celebration!

Hand Torn Noodles or Mee Hoon Kuey (Serves 2)
2 cups of flour
1 egg
1 tsp of oil
1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of dried anchovies
1/4 cup of soya bean
2 litres of water

handful of anchovies
mince pork marinated with soy, pepper and sesame oil
a bunch of choy sum

To make the broth- boil everything for a hour or so

Start with the noodles- In a mixer with a dough hook, make a well in the flour. Add egg, salt and oil. Turn beater on and mix. Once it comes together, continue the beater till it becomes soft and springy. You can also do this by hand. Rest dough in a clean bowl for an hour.

Meanwhile, crisp the anchovies in the microwave by placing them on a plate. Microwave high for 30 seconds first. If they are crisp, great! If not, try for another 30 seconds.

Cook mince meat in a pan by heating some oil and frying it. Set it aside.

Once dough is ready, roll it out. Tear them into pieces.

Re boil the broth. Add dough in and cook till it floats up. Add choy sum and cook till done (That will take 30 seconds). Crack an egg in a small bowl and pour it in. Quickly dish the broth, hand pulled noodles, egg and veges into your serving bowl. The egg should be lightly poached. Top noodles with crisp anchovies, mince meat and chill.

 photo MTWsignature_zpsaefba23f.png


Joanne said...

I'm sure it must be so nice to have your mom and grandmother there and sharing this beautiful time with you!!

Kitchen Belleicious said...

oh girl! You have no idea how blessed you are to have them there with you for so long. If only i would have had my mom here for both my boys births for that long. The most she could stay was a few days and then come back and forth because of her busy speaking schedule. You should enter my lisa leonard giveaway and get you a necklace with asher name on it!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Haven't had mee hoon kuey for a long time, you are tempting me to cook it again. I am so looking forward to your son full moon party!

Charmaine said...

Have been meaning to try this for some time. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed my confinement both times too, didn't feel like 'jail' to me as I was happy to be home with bub and rest. Like you, I also had my parents and in-laws to help me with my two girls, which was a good bonding time and also helped us to settle into parenthood. Can't wait for Asher's full month celebration, the weeks have flown by.

lena said...

happy to hear that you are doing very well for your confinement and you are totally lucky and blessed to have your family members as the confinement ladies! do you know that there are some who are very strict to certain confinement 'donts' ..that they are not supposed to touch water from the tap too.. btw, that'a a good choice you make by adding soya beans to make your broth.

tigerfish said...

Awesome precious! Four generations under one roof - as the Chinese saying goes.

Salute you for making your own Pan Mian! :)

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