There are some days when all I want is a massive bowl of noodles. There are few other meals where you can pack in so many vegetables and still feel like you’re eating comfort food. And this recipe is so quick and easy you’d spend longer deciding what to order from the takeaway menu.
Singapore noodles are a classic – a spicy and salty mix of classic chinese flavours and curry powder, along with shredded vegetables, eggs and meat (often pork and prawns). It is debatable whether it actually hails from Singapore – I’m not sure you can even find it there, and is more commonly found in Hong Kong and Cantonese-style restaurants. Given it’s murky origins I feel less bad about writing this recipe, which is barely recognizable as being descended from the original. It’s pared back to the absolute basics, but you’ll be amazed how much flavour you can squeeze out of so few ingredients.
Vermicelli rice noodles are the traditional choice, but I really like the vermicelli glass noodles made from mung beans. You can find these in Chinese supermarkets, or packed in little bundles of eight in the world food section of larger supermarkets. All you have to do is pour boiling water over them and let them sit for 4–5 minutes and they’re ready to eat. They have the advantage of being grain-free and I find they hold their shape better than rice noodles which can disintegrate quite easily.
Vegetable-wise, I like to use onions, carrots and peppers cut into thin strips, as well as the stir fry staples that are ginger, garlic and chilli. Beansprouts make an excellent addition if you have them, and I’ll often add some finely sliced cabbage. But really, there’s no reason why you couldn’t add any others you fancy; broccoli, kale, mushrooms, mange tout, green beans would all be delicious.
Most singapore noodle recipes have a various sauce ingredients, but when I have been short of time, energy, patience and things in the cupboard, you really only need two for a truly tasty noodly treat; tamari (or soy sauce) and curry powder. You can use a mild, medium or hot curry powder depending on your preference (you can always adjust the amount of fresh chilli or leave it out entirely). These are added after you’ve stir fried your vegetables, and are followed by the cooked noodles. Then stir until everything is coated and warmed through.
For some added interest and a bit of protein, you could add some marinaded and fried firm tofu, or stir through some silken tofu, or add a vegan meat substitute of your choosing. I think toasted cashew nuts work really well – I toast them for a few minutes in the wok before I add the oil and vegetables. Then finally a sprinkle of coriander and a spritz of lime livens things up and adds a bit of freshness.
So essentially, in no time at all, you can be happily piling mounds of mouth-watering noodles into your mouth, for very little cost and effort. Plus you get the benefit of all that vegetable-y goodness while feeling as though you’re chowing down a take-away treat. What more could you want?
Please let me know if you give these a go! I’d love to see how you get on. You can comment below or tag me on Twitter or Instagram @greedybearbakes.
Vegan Simple Singapore Noodles
Spicy, aromatic singapore noodles, super simple but packed full of flavour
Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free option
- 150g vermicelli noodles (or 3 nests – I use mung bean vermicelli)
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cm ginger, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced (optional)
- 1 large carrot (about 100g), finely sliced or julienned
- 1 red pepper, finely sliced
- 100g beansprouts* (optional)
- 75g raw cashew nuts** (optional)
- 2 tbsp oil (suitable for frying)
- 2 tsp curry powder***
- 3 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- small bunch fresh coriander
- 2–3 lime wedges
- Prepare all of your ingredients. Put the vermicelli in a heat-proof bowl or saucepan and boil the kettle. Finely slice 1 onion, 1 large carrot, 1 red pepper, and any additional vegetables. Finely chop 3 cloves garlic, 1 cm ginger, and de-seed and finely slice the red chilli if using.
- Pour boiling water over the vermicelli and leave to soak for 4 minutes, then drain and refresh with cold water.
- Put a wok over a medium heat and, if using cashews, toast them without oil for 2 mins or until turning golden brown. You’ll need to watch them as they can easily catch and burn. Tip into a small bowl (see notes for alternatives to cashews).
- Return the wok to the hob and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add 2 tbsp oil and the sliced onions and stir fry for 1 minute before adding the garlic, ginger and chilli (if using). Stir fry for 30 seconds then add the carrots, peppers, and any additional vegetables. Cook for 2 mins, stirring frequently, before adding the beansprouts. Stir fry for 3–4 minutes until the beansprouts have softened, then add 2 tsp curry powder and 3 tbsp tamari. Stir until all the vegetables are coated, then tip in the drained noodles and stir fry for another minute, ensuring the noodles are coated and hot through. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of coriander and a lime wedge.
*You can add other vegetables in place of or in addition to the beansprouts. Cabbage, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, green beans and mange tout would all work well.
**Instead of cashew nuts, you could marinade some firm tofu in a little soy sauce, and fry it in 1 tbsp of oil in the wok over a medium heat until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen paper before cooking the rest of the stir fry. You could also use 150g silken tofu; break up the tofu with your hand and add to the wok after the curry powder and tamari, but before the noodles.
***You can use mild, medium or hot curry powder depending on your preference. I used the fresh chilli and a medium curry powder – this was perfect for me and I like things quite spicy, If you’re not such a fan of heat then you can use a mild curry powder and/or leave out or reduce the amount of fresh chilli.