Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest! For example, Singapore noodles. Back when I first had a taste of this dish at an Asian fusion restaurant, I thought they were the most amazing, most exotic noodles I’d ever tasted. I wondered what could possibly go into this crazy delicious dish? (This was back in the days before Google provided all the answers.)
It wasn’t until years later that I found out that the answer was so simple: rice noodles stir-fried in soy sauce in curry powder. Seriously, that was all?
What Are Singapore Noodles?
Well, there’s a little more to it than that, but not much. Maybe a few extra, really easy to find, spices — my version uses turmeric for extra color and sriracha for heat. You’ll usually find some aromatics, like garlic, ginger and scallions, stir-fried veggies, and maybe a protein, like the pan-fried tofu that’s in this version.
But really, that’s it! They’re really easy to make too!
Where Do Singapore Noodles Come From?
Supposedly, Singapore noodles didn’t actually originate in Singapore, but it’s not really clear where they did come from. I always make a point of asking when I see the dish on a restaurant menu. I’ve been told by some folks that they’re Chinese, and then by others that they’re not and nobody knows the real origin.
Since I always see them on the menu at Asian fusion places, I simply think of them as that — fusion cuisine.
How to Make Singapore Noodles
I said this was easy right? Here’s your proof.
Prep your veggies and sauce first. You’ll want every ingredient to be ready to go into the skillet when you need it.
You’ll be soaking your noodles in hot water — this is the best way to soften up rice noodles for stir-frying. Don’t boil them like you would wheat noodles! Rinse the noodles when they’re done soaking and then drain them well.
Ready to stir-fry? Let’s go!
Start by cooking your tofu. Pan-fry some diced tofu in your skillet at medium heat. Cook the pieces for a few minutes on each side, until they’re crispy and golden. Then remove them from the skillet.
Add some more oil and cook your aromatics: garlic, ginger, and the white parts of some scallions. Just give them a minute to heat up and begin to release they’re aromas.
Now turn up the heat and add your peppers and onions. Flip them frequently so they cook evenly. It should only take a couple of minutes for the onions to soften and the peppers to become tender-crisp.
Finally, add your noodles and sauce. You can also return the cooked tofu to the skillet at this point. I like to use a fork to separate the noodles and get them evenly coated with sauce. Stir-fry everything until the noodles begin to dry out and crisp up where they touch the skillet.
Take your skillet off of the heat, and sprinkle your noodles with cilantro and the green parts of your scallions. Dig in!
FAQ & Singapore Noodles Tips Feel free to substitute your favorite veggies for the bell peppers and onion. Broccoli, celery, carrot, and napa cabbage are all great choices. Keep in mind that harder veggies (like broccoli) might take a bit longer to stir-fry, while softer ones (like napa cabbage) will cook faster. Be sure to drain your noodles really well! There’s nothing worse than ending up with too much water in the pan when you go to stir-fry them. I like to leave them sitting in the strainer after rinsing. Can this dish be made gluten-free? Yup! Just substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce. Can I use a different type of noodle? Sure! While rice noodle vermicelli are traditionally used for Singapore noodles, other types should work just fine. Prepare them according to the package directions. Need more guidance on how to perfectly pan-fry your tofu? Check out this post!
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7 ounces rice noodle vermicelli 3 tablespoons soy sauce, (plus more to taste) 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder, (plus more to taste*) 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, (plus more to taste) 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) package extra firm tofu, (drained and pressed) 2 tablespoons canola oil, (or high heat oil of choice) 4 scallions, (white and green parts separated and chopped) 3 garlic cloves, (minced) 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger 1 red bell pepper, (sliced into strips) 1 green bell pepper, (sliced into strips) 1/2 medium onion, (sliced into half rings) 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the noodles. Push them down to submerge them in the water. Allow the noodles to soak until they're softened — refer to the package directions to see how long this will take.
When the noodles have finished soaking, drain them into a mesh strainer then rinse them well with cold water. Let the noodles sit in the strainer to continue draining while you begin the stir-fry.
Stir the soy sauce, curry powder, turmeric, and sriracha together in a small bowl.
Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and place it over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the tofu in an even layer.
Cook the tofu for about 10 minutes, flipping it once or twice to achieve browning on multiple sides.
Remove the tofu from the skillet and transfer it to a plate.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and give it a minute to heat up.
Add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, and ginger to the skillet. Cook them for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Raise the heat to high, then add the bell peppers and onions to the skillet.
Stir-fry the veggies for about 2 minutes, until the onions soften and the peppers become tender-crisp and brighten in color.
Add the noodles, soy sauce mixture, and cooked tofu to the skillet.
Continue to stir-fry everything, distributing the noodles and sauce with a fork, until the noodles begin to dry up and crisp in spots, about 2 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and gently stir in the green parts of the scallions and cilantro.
Taste-test the noodles and adjust the seasonings to taste, adding more soy sauce, curry powder, or sriracha if desired.
Divide onto plates and serve.
*I like to use a mix of mild and hot curry powders — about 1 tablespoon mild and 1/2 tablespoon hot. Use a ratio that works for your taste!
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