Chinese fish sauce is a bottled condiment, similar in flavour to anchovy essence which could be used instead.
450 - 675 g (1 - 1 1/2 lb) egg noodles, fresh or dried
450 g (1 lb) whole, fresh prawns, or 225 g (8 oz) thawed, frozen prawns
225 g (8 oz) cooked chicken breast
225 g (8 oz) cooked ham or lean pork
50 g (2 oz) lard or 60 - 90 ml (4 - 6 tbsp) cooking oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 small Chinese cabbage, finely shredded or 225 g (8 oz) bean sprouts
150 ml (1/4 pt) fish stock from prawns or chicken stock
30 ml (2 tbsp) Chinese fish sauce (optional)
chopped spring onions
lemon or lime wedges
1. Cook fresh noodles in boiling water for 1 - 2 minutes, rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly, or dried noodles according to packet directions and drain in the same way.
2. Cover the fresh prawns, if using, with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook gently for 5 minutes.
3. Lift out with a draining spoon, remove the heads and shells and reserve the prawns. Discard the shells. Strain the cooking liquid. If using frozen prawns, thaw well. You will need to substitute the prawn stock with chicken stock later in the recipe.
4. Using a very sharp knife, finely slice the chicken meat and ham or pork.
5. Heat half the oil in a wok and fry the drained noodles for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring. Lift out of the pan onto a platter and keep warm.
6. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, fry the onion and garlic until soft and just beginning to turn golden. Add the cabbage or bean sprouts, cook for 1-2 minutes, mix well, then stir in most of the chicken, ham or pork and prawns, reserved fish or prepared chicken stock and fish sauce. Turn the mixture all the time.
7. Return the noodles to pan, taste for seasoning and serve on a hot platter garnished with the reserved prawns, the chicken, ham or pork and the spring onions, and accompany with wedges of lemon or lime.