Savory Pan Mee Recipe: She-Ra of Comfort Food

Warm and comforting, just like mummy’s love!

This Mother’s Day, honor your mummy by making her the She-Ra of Comfort Food: Savory Pan Mee.

Believe it or not, Pan Mee has its roots from Malaysia. It was created by the Hakka people who migrated here to Malaysia many generations ago. This cultural big-bang created a unique Malaysian-Chinese dish that is fondly known as Pan Mee (板麺, pronounced as “ban mian”), which literally translates “flat flour noodles”.  Typically served in a soup with ikan bilis, minced meat, mushrooms, and a leafy vegetable such as sweet potato leaves or cekur manis (aka sayur manis, mani cai or sauropus androgynus), it can also be served dry with thick black soya sauce, XO sauce or sambal like this recipe.

We’ve put together a fuss-free, easy and delicious step-by-step guide for you to try this Savory Pan Mee Recipe. Make this and your mom will love every bit of it.

Cooking time: 30 minutes | Serves: 2 pax


  • 1 packet of pan mee noodles from the market
  • 1 cup of dried crispy deep fried ikan bilis (anchovies)
  • 2 tbsp of bawang goreng (fried onions) *note you can reserve some and deep fry to use as topping.
  • 2 tbsp of sliced spring onion
  • 1 tbsp of XO Sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cooking caramel
  • about 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp water
  • 100g of brown minced lamb *optional. You can replace this with any meat of your choice.
  • 1 bowl of ikan bilis soup
  • A bunch of cekur manis


a) Noodles

1. Bring a pot of water to boil while you prepare the noodles.
2. Blanch the noodles in the boiling water.
3. Dish out using a colander.

Tip: If you live in Klang Valley, go buy the noodles from the shop upstairs at pasar TTDI that sells noodles and yong tau foo items. The lady who runs that shop gets her pan mee noodles fresh from Ipoh twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays).

b) Poached Egg

1. Poach egg for about 3 minutes in salted very lightly simmering water,

Tip: Use really fresh eggs from the market. Crack the egg into a small cup to prepare first. Create a gentle whirlpool in the simmering salted water first, then slowly tip the egg in the water, white first. Cook for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper so that it’s not soggy.

c) Minced Lamb

1. Brown minced lamb in a hot pot without any oil.
2. It should cook until there’s only oil (which have rendered from the lamb fats) left and water has evaporated. The lamb will then be nicely browned and slightly crispy. Add oyster sauce, chinese soy sauce, cooking caramel (kicap pekat) and premixed water and cornstarch. The cornstarch will ‘dry up’ the whole mixture so put in just enough.
3. Stir to mix well.

Tip: Be sure to get rid of the water content first before browning the minced lamb in a hot pot.

Ikan Bilis soup

1. Boil ikan bilis for 15 minutes. About 1:10 ikan bilis to water ratio.
2. Drain and remove ikan bilis.
3. Season with salt and white pepper.
4. Before serving, simmer with cekur manis for about 2-3 minutes until dark green and soft-ish.

Tip: Cekur manis can be bought next to telur shop at the makcik that sells ulam at the TTDI market. Please avoid eating cekur manis raw as there are cases of lung failure. You have been warned!

Assembling the Savory Pan Mee

Savory Pan Mee is so pretty to look at!
Savory Pan Mee is so pretty to look at!

In a serving bowl, add a portion of the cooked noodles, tossed with XO sauce and then pour the ikan bilis soup with cekur manis into a separate bowl. Add the browned minced lamb, poached egg, crispy deep fried ikan bilis, sliced spring onion or bawang goreng as the topping. Serve immediately with a side of sambal.

Then watch as mummy enjoys your home-made savory pan-mee!

Satisfying to toss and savor
So satisfying to toss and savor

Butterkicap Team

We're just a small group of friends who love food, culture and Malaysia. We saw the rise of mediocre food, deteriorating relationships and missed the good old days of Malaysia where food was good, homes were warmer and full of friends and family. So we rolled up our sleeves, and made Butterkicap with the hope that it will bring people and flavors home.

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