Some people claim that Singapore noodles aren’t authentic.
That’s nonsense. They are plenty authentic. They just aren’t authentically from Singapore.
French toast was not invented in France, but a version of it can be eaten there. It’s like that for Singapore noodles, only Singapore noodles are almost completely unknown in Singapore.
Often found on the menus of Chinese restaurants in this country and elsewhere, Singapore noodles are a diner’s delight: lightly curried, thin, dry noodles tossed with vegetables and a meat, such as chicken or shrimp, or a vegetarian protein such as tofu.
Singapore noodles are popular in Cantonese carry-out restaurants in China — especially in Hong Kong, where many proud residents claim it was invented. That assertion makes sense, because the dish relies on curry powder, and curry powder is a British invention (they were trying to re-create the complex flavors of India in a single spice mix).
England colonized Hong Kong and brought curry powder with them. Let’s give Hong Kong tentative credit for creating it.
I’m glad they did. I am such a fan, I decided to make Singapore noodles for myself. I perused several recipes, took the best ideas from a few and mashed them together to create Singapore noodles so good that even people in Singapore would eat them.
A word about the technique: Many of the ingredients are stir-fried individually, then set aside on plates. The idea is to let the ingredients release their moisture, which will keep the delicate noodles from becoming mushy. They are all combined with the noodles and sauce in the end.
The result is perfect Singapore noodles. They may not be recognized in Singapore, but the rest of the world will love them.
By Daniel Neman
- 6 ounces dried vermicelli rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, divided
- 2 large eggs, beaten well
- 1/2 pound ground chicken or thinly sliced Chinese barbecued pork (char siu)
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large carrot, thinly julienned
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 green or red bell pepper, or a mix, thinly sliced
- 3 ounces bean sprouts
- 3 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- >> Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Cook noodles in boiling water for 1-1/2 minutes. Drain without rinsing, place in large bowl while they are still hot and cover with a towel. Let stand 10 minutes.
Use tongs, chopsticks or hands to separate noodles; if too long to eat easily, cut into smaller pieces. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Set aside.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add eggs and scramble until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
Wipe wok or skillet clean. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium. When hot, add ground chicken, and cook, breaking up meat, until cooked through (if using char siu, cook to heat through). Add to eggs.
Add remaining tablespoon oil to wok or skillet. When hot, stir in onions, garlic, carrots, ginger and bell peppers. Stir-fry until vegetables are just softened, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in bean sprouts and scallions; cook until heated through and beginning to take on some color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a separate plate.
Stir-fry shrimp until cooked through; remove to a third plate.
In quick succession, add reserved sauce to wok or skillet, then 1/3 cup water, then noodles. Cook, stirring, until noodles absorb all the sauce and are uniform in color. If some sauce sticks to bottom of pan, add a little more water.
Add eggs, chicken, vegetables and shrimp all back to pan and mix everything together. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 416 calories, 16 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 232 mg cholesterol, 677 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 25 g protein.