Quarantine cooking can be fun — as in mei fun! Mei fun noodles are very thin Chinese rice noodles (also called rice vermicelli). It is a popular street food in Singapore. Basic mei fun can be somewhat bland, usually stir-fried with shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, and a few other ingredients, with additional condiments served on the side.
Singapore mei fun, on the other hand, is distinctive for its addition of curry powder. It usually features a number of vegetables, and some type of protein food — my version calls for tofu, but you can substitute seitan, tempeh, or soy curls.
If rice vermicelli noodles are unavailable, you can make this with angel hair pasta instead (cooked al dente before adding to the skillet). Also feel free to change up the vegetables used (zucchini instead of broccoli, or green peas instead of snow peas, for example). The seasoning can also be adjusted to your taste, add more red pepper flakes (or a drizzle of Sriracha) for more heat, or use more or less curry powder.
Here is the recipe for Singapore Mei Fun. Since I.m limiting my trips to the supermarket, I was out of bell pepper, snow peas, broccoli, and cilantro, so I just used cabbage, carrots, and frozen green peas – and it was still super-delicious. Use what you got! This is what my quarantine version looked like last night:
This recipe is from my most beautiful cookbook, Vegan Without Borders. If you don’t have this book, now is a great time to get it — it’s like taking a culinary tour around the world, right in your own home!
Singapore Mei Fun
- 8 ounces rice vermicelli (mei fun noodles)
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, divided
- 1 to 2 tablespoons good-quality Madras curry powder (I used 2 tablespoons S&B curry powder blended with water)
- 1 medium-size yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin matchstick strips (or shredded cabbage)
- 1 carrot, coarsely shredded
- 2 ounces snow peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (or frozen green pea)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t want it spicy)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups small broccoli florets, lightly steamed (or steamed green beans cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Soak the rice noodles according to the package directions until softened. Drain well and set aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until nicely browned, adding 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and a sprinkling of curry powder while cooking. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
Reheat the skillet with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and snow peas, and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes to soften. Stir in the remaining curry powder and stir-fry 10 seconds, or until fragrant.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, along with the sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring to mix well. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add the drained rice noodles and return to a boil, stirring to coat the noodles in the sauce. Add the steamed broccoli and reserved tofu, and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed by the noodles. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot sprinkled with cilantro. Serves 4
Recipe is from Vegan Without Borders (c) 2014 by Robin Robertson