It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Singapore Noodles

I forget where I got this. One of the Jean Paré cookbooks, I think, most likely the pasta one (which I no longer own), and tweaked some since then. I’m 110% sure it’s nothing like authentic, but that’s all right. It’s tasty, easy to prepare, and nutritious. That will suffice!

This is one of those recipes which works best if you have all the ingredients chopped beforehand. Really. Chop everything first. You’ll thank me.

a tablespoon or three of oil. Any kind, but sesame is particularly nice for this.
4- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons slivered fresh ginger

1 – 2 cups protein (see notes, below)

1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 cups reasonably finely chopped vegetables (see notes, below)

1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon soya sauce

vermicelli rice noodles

1. Fill a medium-large pot 2/3 full of water, and set over high heat. You’re giving it time to come to a boil, but for now just ignore it. If it starts boiling before you’re done sauteeing the meat/veg, put a lid on it and turn it down so it stays at an gentle rolling boil. (But you have everything pre-chopped, right, so the rest of the meal will come together very quickly.)

2. In a wok (ideal) or good-sized saute pan, saute garlic and ginger over medium-high heat in oil until tender. This takes about 30 seconds. Don’t overdo it. Garlic burns quickly. What you get here is a nice, scented/flavoured oil base for the rest.

3. Add protein, cook till done.

4. Add onions, pepper flakes, and vegetables. Toss lightly, till everything’s cooked. How long this takes depends on the combination of vegetables you’re using. You’re after tender-crisp, not soggy.

5. Drop vermicelli rice noodles to the boiling water. Turn heat off immediately. Remove lid and ignore. (The noodles are so fine they need only sit in the boiling-hot water for 4 or 5 minutes to be ready to eat.)

6. In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, soya sauce, and curry. Pour over meat/vegetables and toss well.

7. Drain pasta.

To serve, you can either add pasta to the wok, and toss everything in (traditional, I believe), or you can put pasta on each plate and put the meat/vegetable mix from the wok on top, letting each person toss their own with a couple of forks. (Or chopsticks!)

You may garnish with peanuts (salted is nice here) if you wish.

This is deeeeelicious.

1. Protein: I use about one cup per three people. It’s up to you, of course. Protein can be just about anything: thinly sliced meat, extra-firm tofu cut into fingers or cubes, soft tofu crumbled in, shrimp, scrambled egg.

2. Vegetables: Again, just about anything works. This is a great way to use up leftover cooked veggies. Soft vegetables (zucchini, mushroom, eggplant, onion, etc) go into the wok raw. Some people prefer to steam firmer vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and the like) first, but I rarely do. If they’re cut up small enough, they’ll heat through, and a little crunch is nice. Because I love mushroom so very much, my mixture is always half sliced mushrooms, and the rest whatever I have on hand.


September 24, 2012 - Posted by | food |


  1. In Singapore and Malaysia the vermicelli noodles are often called “glass noodles” or “tang hoon”. This dish was a particular favourite of mine when I lived there… very cheap to find in the street eateries and oh-so delicious. (Ignore what it looks like in the photos you can find on the internet… it’s MUCH tastier in person than it looks from a picture!) Like you say you can pretty much mix whatever you want into it, and I’d also add fresh mung bean sprouts to your list of possible veggies. One thing you forgot, though, to make it truly authentic is to plop a blob of explosively spicy chili sauce on top and mix it in with your chopsticks before you eat it. That’ll clear up any stuffy head in a hurry.

    I’ve heard them called glass noodles — you can see why, as they go from white to transparent when cooked — but decided to go with what was printed on the package, to help others find them. (The English, that is. I got mine in our teeny Asian market, so it has all sorts of mysterious characters down one side. Guess that means they’re authentic!)

    The recipe as I found it included no vegetables! Those I added. Chili sauce? I have some chili paste, from that same Asian market! Mix it up with water, that’d be sauce, right?? Thai hot chili paste — and lordy, those Thais, they don’t mess around with their ‘hot’. Nah. Maybe not. I don’t think my family (or my sinuses) would thank me…

    Comment by Mikey Angmo | September 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thanks so much. This sounds delicious. Can’t wait to try it.

    Comment by dmalmq | September 26, 2012 | Reply

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  7. Did you really mean two teaspoons of red pepper flakes? I tried this, loved it, but it was still way too hot with only one teaspoon. Are there red pepper flakes that aren’t hot?

    It’s entirely a matter of taste. I love spicy-hot. When I make it for the kids, I’ll either use less pepper, or increase the amount of noodles to dilute the heat. However, it is also true that my last container of pepper flakes was pretty old, and that I’ve noticed, now I have a new jar, things are notably hotter than before!

    Comment by Carole | April 8, 2013 | Reply

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