Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Singapore Noodles

I first tasted Singapore Noodles with Paul at a small, local Asian restaurant a couple years ago. The restaurant had just opened and we had eyed it several times when driving downtown but were always nervous to give it a try since we never saw anyone actually eating there. However, after a few recommendations from friends, we gave it a shot. We were pleasantly surprised to find that not only did this place have some of the cheapest (but yummiest!) sushi around, but they offered a wide range of Asian dishes not typically found on menus. We feasted on a smorgasboard of spicy coconut soup, many types of sushi, and a split order of Singapore Noodles. Ever since that initial visit, we have been back more times than we can count. It has become our favorite date night restaurant.

We actually first ordered the noodles as an afterthought. We had planned on focusing mainly on the sushi that night, but when we saw the table behind us (we are horrible about always checking out what other people are ordering) digging into a huge plateful of yummy noodles, we asked our server what they were and if we could please have some too. He seemed really unsure that we would be able to finish the plate of noodles on top of all the other food we had ordered that night. But he had never seen Paul and I eat on one of our date nights away from the kids. We feast!!

The noodles ended up being the best thing we ordered and I am pretty sure that just about every single time we have gone back to the restaurant, we have been unable to resist ordering them. They are that good. I dream about them sometimes. Seriously, I'm addicted.

When I received my new copy of Cook's Illustrated Magazine and saw that they had published a recipe for Singapore Noodles, I instantly dog-eared the page and filed it away under my "must make soon" recipe pile. Well, time got in the way and that recipe unfortunately got lost in the heap of other things that I wanted to make and I just about forgot about it. Luckily, I found it again during one of my menu planning days and resolved to make it that week.

I am so glad I did! While this recipe does not quite match my beloved restaurant noodles, it is delicious in every possible way. I took a couple liberties with the original printed recipe - mainly switching the shrimp with chopped chicken thighs and adding a little fish sauce. It turned out absolutely delicious.  My wonderful children loved it just as much as Paul and I - even though they kept calling it "spaghetti" (this frankly took something away from the whole experience because I kept envisioning spaghetti with meatballs and marinara sauce as I slurped up my soy-and-lime sauced rice noodles). I'm going to make this again for sure whenever the craving hits - and it will hit again. Next time, I will be trying the shrimp version because I'm positive the briny seafood will send the flavors of this dish even more over the top!

Singapore Noodles
from Cook's Illustrated Magazine July/August 2014

Note: I am sharing the original recipe with you. I used chopped boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the shrimp and just sauteed them until they were browned. I also added 2 tablespoons of fish sauce to the noodles and cut the soy sauce down to 1 tablespoon. The kids really enjoyed the chicken (shrimp would be such a waste on them) and Paul and I adore fish sauce. Also, because I'm *ahem* with child, we blanched the bean sprouts in boiling water just to be safe.

4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces rice vermicelli (find it in the Asian section of your grocer)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
12 ounces large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 garlic cloves, minced to paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
2 large shallots, sliced thin
2/3 cup chicken broth
4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts
4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

Heat 3 tablespoons oil, curry powder, and cayenne, if using, in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Bring 1 1/2 quarts water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles and stir briefly. Soak noodles until flexible, but not soft, about 2 1/2 minutes, stirring once halfway through soaking. Drain noodles briefly. Transfer noodles to cutting board. Using chef’s knife, cut pile of noodles roughly into thirds. Return noodles to bowl, add curry mixture, soy sauce, and sugar; using tongs, toss until well combined. Set aside.

Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp in even layer and cook without moving them until bottoms are browned, about 90 seconds. Stir and continue to cook until just cooked through, about 90 seconds longer. Push shrimp to 1 side of skillet. Add 1 teaspoon oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently until set but still wet, about 1 minute. Stir eggs into shrimp and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp-egg mixture to second large bowl.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add bell pepper and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shrimp.

Return skillet to medium-high heat, add broth to skillet, and bring to simmer. Add noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add noodles to bowl with shrimp and vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Add bean sprouts, scallions, and lime juice and toss to combine. Transfer to warmed platter and serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.


  1. We love Puncit but have worn it out and this sounds like a good replacement. Copied the recipe and will surely try it. And we love anything with curry in it. Sounds like a winner. Thanks.

    1. I've never had Puncit...but I think you just gave me a good recipe to seek out and try!

  2. This recipe looks delicious, I must try this since I never tasted Singapore noodles before.