These Vegan Singapore Noodles are delicious, filling and super quick to make! It's a Chinese stir fry that only needs a handful of ingredients, that you may already have in your pantry, or they can easily be found in the supermarket. Plus it only takes 30 minutes so it's really easy to make. Featuring firm tofu, curry powder and rice vermicelli noodles. It's great served with sticky Szechuan tofu too.
🌟 Why this Singapore noodles recipe works
Easy and delicious – Singapore noodles is a super easy stir fry to make, yet so delicious. They have a more-ish flavour, which needs soy sauce, sesame oil, curry powder and garlic to create.
Just like the takeaway dish – there are many different versions and names for Singapore noodles, like Singapore chow mein and mei fun. This recipe is a classic takeaway-style Singapore chow mein, made with rice vermicelli noodles, bell pepper, light soy and garlic.
Vegan and easily made gluten free – this dish is completely vegan and can be made gluten free so that everyone can enjoy it. Luckily rice vermicelli is gluten free (because they're made with rice!), so the only ingredient to switch out is the soy – just replace it with tamari or gluten free soy sauce.
🥡 What is Singapore chow mein?
Singapore noodles or Singapore chow mein, is a stir fry that features vermicelli noodles, curry powder, a protein (usually at least one or a combination of shrimp, chicken or char siu pork) and eggs, but we've used tofu, vegetables and curry powder to make it a vegetarian and vegan Singapore noodles.
If you're into food origins and history, Singapore noodles actually come from Hong Kong, not Singapore! And that's why it's a mainstay on the menu of many Chinese restaurants. They can be found in certain restaurants in Singapore, its namesake, but it’s actually known as: Xing Zhou Mi Fen.
📋 Ingredient notes
Rice vermicelli – this tofu Singapore noodles recipe is made with thin rice noodles soaked in hot water. So, they're super easy to prepare and are also gluten free. They are very thin noodles, akin to angel hair spaghetti, but made from rice and are sometimes known as rice sticks. Alternatives such as thicker rice noodles can be used, but vermicelli noodles are the classic option. They're amazing once stir fried, but also great in noodle soups, like in this Khao Soi that also uses vermicelli.
Curry powder – a crucial flavour for Singapore noodles! This recipe is basically a stir fried curry noodle dish. Any standard curry powder will do, but we tend to use madras curry powder and it works perfectly.
Vegetables – stir fries are versatile dishes when it comes to what vegetables or proteins to use, and this dish is no different. We use a combination of sugar snap peas, baby corn and red bell pepper (any colour works), but you can change these up if you like. It's a good recipe for using up what's in the fridge. Thinly julienned carrot, cabbage, bean sprouts and snow peas are all solid choices.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this Singapore vermicelli recipe.
🔪 Vegan Singapore noodles step-by-step instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos for making easy Singapore chow mein with tofu. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
1. In another small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, the lime juice, brown sugar and soy sauce until the sugar dissolves.
2. Soak the rice noodles in hot water (straight from the kettle) in a large bowl for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water once they're done. Set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in the wok over a medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the tofu chunks into the wok and sauté until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them.
4. Add the onion and cook until soft, then add the crushed garlic and stir for a minute.
5. Drop in the thinly sliced peppers, baby corn, spring onions and sugar snap peas and stir fry on high for two minutes or so.
6. Pour in the sauce and add the curry and turmeric powder to the wok and stir well.
7. Move the vegetables to one side of the wok and add the rice noodles into the space.
8. Stir everything together with tongs until the noodles turn yellow and everything is well coated.
Give it a quick taste and see if any more curry powder is needed – it really varies depending on the type you're using, so add a teaspoon or two more to taste.
👩🍳 Expert tips
Make it gluten free – all you need to do to make these vegan stir fried noodles gluten free is switch out the soy sauce for a gluten free version or tamari!
Don’t boil the noodles – the best way to prepare rice vermicelli noodles is to soak them in hot boiling water, and not simmering them in a pan. They only need around 5 minutes until they're cooked, then you can drain and rinse them, and set aside until they're ready to stir fry.
Wok on – there's no better way of stir frying noodles than in a wok. They're perfectly designed for stir fries and are great for cooking all kinds of other dishes too. Dan has been known to cook everything from Indian curries to pasta dishes in a wok. It offers an even heat coverage!
Rinse the noodles – as the noodles will be ready before they need to go into the wok, they should be rinsed in cold water. This means they won't stick together while they sit in the bowl, before getting added to the wok.
They are not quite the same thing. Whilst both are stir fry dishes, the main difference is that a Singapore noodle dish calls for curry powder, but chow mein does not. In many Asian countries, this dish is known as mee hoon, mei fun or chow mei fun.
Not traditionally, but this recipe is! A traditional recipe features char siu, eggs, shrimp and sometimes other meat. As this one is vegan, we use tofu and stir fried veggies to make it!
They're pretty healthy! With lots of veggies, not much oil and protein, we think it's a pretty healthy dinner option. You can even reduce the amount of oil to suit your diet.
Rice vermicelli noodles are the classic noodles to use in this dish.
🍛 Serving suggestions
🥡 More recipes to try
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Easy Singapore Noodles
- 200 g vermicelli noodles
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- ½ cup light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 400 g firm tofu – pressed and chopped into small chunks
- 1 onion – finely sliced
- 5 cloves garlic – crushed
- 175 g baby corn – sliced in half lengthways
- 175 g sugar snap peas
- 2 peppers – finely sliced
- 8 spring onions – chopped into 1.5" chunks
- Soak the rice noodles in boiling hot water (straight from the kettle) in a large bowl for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water once they're done. Set aside.200 g vermicelli noodles
- In another small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, the lime juice, brown sugar and soy sauce until the sugar dissolves.3 tbsp sesame oil, ½ cup light soy sauce, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp brown sugar, 4 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok over a medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the tofu chunks into the wok and sauté until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them.400 g firm tofu
- Add the onion and cook until soft, then add the crushed garlic and stir for a minute.1 onion, 5 cloves garlic
- Drop in the thinly sliced peppers, baby corn, spring onions and sugar snap peas and stir fry on high for two minutes or so.175 g baby corn, 175 g sugar snap peas, 2 peppers, 8 spring onions
- Move the vegetables to one side of the wok and add the rice noodles into the space.
- Pour in the sauce and add the curry and turmeric powder to the wok and then stir well.4 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Stir everything together with tongs until the noodles turn yellow and everything is well coated.
- Give it a quick taste and see if any more curry powder is needed – it really varies depending on the type you're using, so add a teaspoon more if needed.
- Serve with extra spring onions, sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
- The tofu can be omitted but it adds a great bite and protein hit.
- We usually use madras curry powder, but you can use whatever type you have – hot or mild.
- Try other veggies – this recipe is great for a fridge clear out!