Vegan Mi Goreng (sometimes called mee goreng or migoren) is a fried noodle dish. It’s a staple in Indonesia, often found for sale from street vendors. It only takes 15 minutes to make!
Mi Goreng is popular throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Southeast Asia, but we’ve made our vegan mi goreng the Indonesian way. Give it a go – it only takes 15 minutes!
Plus, if you like mi goreng, we think you'll love Vegan Nasi Goreng, which is a similar dish but made with rice.
🤔 What is mi goreng?
Mi goreng translates to fried noodles. It’s often made with thin noodles, sometimes served spicy and sometimes not, and is cooked with lots of garlic and onion. It gets its distinct flavour from kecap manis - Indonesian sweet soy sauce.
Traditionally, this dish is made with meat and egg, but we’ve made vegan mi goreng using plant-based protein.
- Splash of oil
- Onion - diced.
- Garlic - finely chopped.
- Red chillies - thinly sliced.
- Carrots - cut into thin slices or batons.
- Red pepper - cut into thin slices or batons.
- Tofu (one block) - pressed and cut into small chunks.
- Bean sprouts.
- Chinese cabbage - shredded.
- Kecap manis - this is what gives vegan mi goreng its unique flavour. If you can’t get hold of kecap manis, add an extra tablespoon of soy sauce and one tablespoon of maple syrup. Find out about alternatives to kecap manis.
- Soy sauce.
- Sesame oil
- Wheat noodles (ramen style) or rice noodles - cooked and rinsed in cold water.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
- Start by frying the tofu in a splash of oil until it starts to brown. When it’s starting to turn golden, add 1 tablespoon kecap manis and quickly stir so that the tofu is evenly coated. Then cook for a couple of minutes more. Remove it from the pan and set it aside. The outside should have a slight ‘bite’.
- Fry the onion in another splash of oil until soft.
- Add the garlic and chilli to the pan and cook for about a minute.
- Now add the carrots and the pepper and heat for a couple of minutes. You’re just looking to get them hot.
- Add the cabbage and cook until wilted - don’t cook it for too long!
- Chuck the noodles and the tofu into the pan. Mix everything together and add the remaining kecap manis, sesame oil and soy sauce.
- Just for the last minute mix in the beansprouts, you want them to be warm but retain their crunch.
- Serve it with rice crackers, sesame seeds, slices of fresh tomato and cucumber and a vegan fried egg.
Note: We’ve made this recipe medium spicy. If you’d prefer a milder recipe, you can use fewer chillies or omit the fresh chilli and add some chilli flakes once it's served.
If you like a spicy meal, try serving it up with a little Indonesian Sambal Goreng.
👨🍳 Expert tips
Kecap manis is what gives vegan mi goreng its unique flavour. It's a sweet soy sauce with a kind of syrupy texture. The correct pronunciation is ‘Ke-chap Man-iss’ (we were pronouncing it wrong until our teacher at a Balinese cooking school corrected us!)
You can usually find kecap manis in the supermarket in the Asian or world foods section. If you can’t find any, you can substitute it (in this recipe) by adding an extra 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
Type of noodle to use
When street vendors in Bali make mi goreng, they quite often use packets of instant noodles like Indomie Mi Goreng. These packet noodles come along with powdered seasoning and make the meal nice and cheap.
It may seem weird to buy fast food like this, but it’s a popular staple in Indonesia! If you want to create an authentic experience, give them a try. They’re lovely and curly, which is a feast for the eyes, too! Maybe not the healthiest meal though.
Advice for tofu
When you’re making vegan Mi Goreng, you should use firm or extra firm tofu. If you’re using firm tofu, you will need to press it before cooking with it. Pressing tofu gives it a firmer texture and helps it to absorb flavours better.
Is that a vegan fried egg, I see?
Why, yes, it is! When a street vendor makes Mi Goreng, they will serve it with a fried egg or sliced omelette. We wanted to make sure this recipe is authentic, so we hunted down a vegan fried egg recipe. We’ve recommended the recipe to use below so you can give it a go!
We’d recommend rice noodles, wheat noodles or packet noodles for an authentic experience! Ramen style noodles are traditional. Always check the packet to make sure there’s no sneaky egg in them, though.
If you don’t have kecap manis, add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and increase the soy sauce by 1 tbsp. The kecap helps the noodles go a lovely golden, caramelised colour. It’s also part of the sweet signature flavour that makes the dish unique to Indonesia.
Vegan mi goreng also works well with a vegan chicken replacement, or you could try tempeh or mushrooms.
We have found that when people say they don’t like tofu, it’s often because they haven’t had it prepared properly. Be sure to press it, and you’ll probably find that it’s delicious! It’s common throughout Indonesia and south east Asia, so it’s a great ingredient to learn to prepare if you want to make authentic Asian food.
We wouldn’t recommend freezing it. Noodles go pretty mushy if you reheat them after freezing. If you have to, try cooking the noodles al dente, which will help. Better just to make it and enjoy it fresh, though!
🍜 What to serve with it:
Traditionally, mi goreng is served up with either a fried egg or omelette strips. This plant-based version is also delicious served with a vegan fried egg. Serving it with a vegan fried egg also helps to give you an authentic Indonesian experience!
If you buy mi goreng from a street vendor, they will nearly always serve it up with satay (or ‘sate’). Satay is a staple in Bali and Indonesia. Give these vegan satay skewers a try on the side of your meal – they’re delicious!
Other recipes to try
We created vegan mi goreng because we’ve been inspired by living in Bali! If you’d like to try some other recipes inspired by our travels, these are a great place to start:
- Vegan nasi goreng
- Vegan Gado Gado
- Balinese Vegetable Curry
- Balinese Spice Paste
- Easy vegan pad thai
- Vegan Singapore noodles
- Thai vegetable stir fry
- Rad Na (Thai noodles with gravy)
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Vegan Mi Goreng in 15 Minutes
- 1 teaspoon Oil
- 1 onion - diced
- 5 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 red chilli - thinly sliced (optionally add one more chilli)
- 200 g carrots - cut into thin slices or batons
- 1 red pepper - cut into thin slices or batons
- 350 g tofu one block - pressed and cut into small chunks
- 200 g beansprouts
- 600 g Chinese cabbage - shredded
- 3 tablespoon kecap manis see notes below, if you don't have this
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 200 g wheat noodles cooked and rinsed in cold water
- Pop a splash of oil in the wok over a high heat and then fry the tofu until it starts to brown. When it goes golden, add 1 tablespoon kecap manis and stir to make sure it’s evenly coated. Cook for a couple of minutes more then remove from the pan and set aside.1 teaspoon Oil, 350 g tofu, 3 tablespoon kecap manis
- In the same wok, stir fry the chopped onion in another splash of oil until soft.1 teaspoon Oil, 1 onion
- Next, add the garlic and chilli and cook for about a minute. Keep it moving to prevent burning and make sure the heat isn’t up too high.5 cloves garlic, 1 red chilli
- Now add the carrots and the pepper, for one minute.200 g carrots, 1 red pepper
- Add the cabbage and cook until wilted. This should take about 2 minutes.600 g Chinese cabbage
- Chuck the noodles and the tofu in. Mix everything together and add the remaining kecap manis sesame oil and soy sauce.350 g tofu, 3 tablespoon kecap manis, 3 tablespoon soy sauce, 200 g wheat noodles, 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Lastly, add the beansprouts, stir fry for one minute. They shouldn’t wilt, they should still be crunchy when served.200 g beansprouts
- Serve with rice crackers, sesame seeds, slices of fresh tomato and cucumber and a vegan fried egg.
- If you don’t have kecap manis, increase the soy sauce by 1 tablespoon and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.
- This noodle dish is slightly spicy. Use just one chilli if you’d like it milder.
- We recommend using firm or extra firm tofu for this meal. If using firm tofu, ensure to press it in a tofu press for two hours before cooking.
- Generally, noodles don’t freeze well, so we’d recommend eating these fresh! However, they keep well in the fridge for two days.
- You can use rice noodles instead of wheat noodles. Allow 50g per portion (200g altogether).