A few weeks ago I posted my version of Orange Chicken. It was my first post in what I hope will become a series of posts recreating Chinese American favorites without an excess of grease, sugar and MSG. A lot of you made suggestions on what my next recipe should be, and Singapore Noodles was one that came up repeatedly.
Like most menu items on a Chinese American menu, Singapore Noodles aren’t actually of the provenance that their name claims. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find the Singapore Noodles that most American’s are familiar with on any menu in Asia, much less in Singapore.
Yet the spindly, vibrant, curry flavored impostor has found its way into our hearts in the US and UK. Growing up, Singapore Noodles was one of my favorite dishes when my family was ordering Chinese take-out and I have to say that I’m still a fan of this spicy stir-fried delight.
As you might expect in a dish this colorful, it does require a fair number of ingredients, but none of them should be too hard to find. I tried to stay true to my taste memory of this dish, but you can substitute out most of the vegetables and use proteins that work for you (beef, chicken, squid, and tofu are a few that come to mind).
If you’re wondering why I put the shrimp and pork in a marinade, it’s partly to add flavor, but more importantly the cornstarch does two things. It helps keep the pork moist through cooking, and it gives the shrimp a plump, almost crunchy texture that we’ve all come to expect from Chinese restaurants.
5.5 ounces dried rice vermicelli (a.k.a. mai fun)
4 ounces small shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces pork, cut into strips
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
8 ounce can of strip bamboo (julienned)
4 ounces bean sprouts
3 green onions, sliced thin
oil for stir-frying
Soak the dried rice noodles in very hot tap water (about 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 minutes. Be careful not to over-soak them or they will start sticking together and get mushy when you cook them. Start pulling the noodles apart as soon as they start softening. Rinse in cold water several times to prevent the noodles from absorbing too much water and to wash off excess starch.
Add the shrimp and pork to a bowl and season with the soy sauce, rice wine and corn starch. The cornstarch will keep the meat moist and the shrimp firm.
Measure out the curry powder into a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce and chicken stock. Because everything cooks very quickly it’s important to have all your prep done ahead of time.
Heat a wok over high heat until very hot then add a tablespoon of oil, swirl to coat, then add the egg, swirling then scrambling. Put the egg on a plate and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the garlic and ginger, and then fry until fragrant. Add the shrimp and pork, holding aside the marinade and fry until the pork just loses its pink color (it doesn’t have to be all the way cooked.
Add the onion, red and green bell peppers, bamboo, and bean sprouts. Fry while stirring vigorously. Until the vegetables are a bright color. Add the curry powder and stir-fry until fragrant, then pour in the chicken stock and fish sauce mixture. Stir, to combine, then add the noodles and return the egg to the pan. Use chopsticks or tongs to evenly coat the noodles with sauce. If the noodles start sticking, add some water.
Top with scallions, then serve your Singapore Noodles immediately.