Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 162! Singapore - Singapore Noodles - Up Next, Slovakia

It's a beautiful, cool New England night -- even the air smells like fall. The sun is notably lower in the sky now, which means I have to cook a little earlier (and faster) to photograph in natural light. Luckily, this evening's meal of Singapore Noodles was both easy to prep and cook, so I got some shots off before the sun set. This was such a delicious and perfect dinner for the end of a long week, I wonder why I don't stir-fry more often? So now a little more about this beautiful and interesting country that's on my top 10 list of places I'd love to visit.

Located in South East Asia off the southern tip of the Malay peninsula, Singapore is an island country made up of 63 islands and separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to the south. Singapore's earliest recorded history dates back to the 3rd century, but it was first settled in AD 1298-1299. During the 18th century, modern Singapore was founded. In 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford negotiated a deal to make Singapore a trading station, which attracted merchants from all over Asia, the Middle East and the U.S. When the Suez Canal opened in 1869, trade between the east and the west expanded even further, significantly increasing the population of Chinese, Indians and Malays. In 1941, Singapore was attacked and occupied by Japan during WWII, until Japan surrendered in 1945.  For a year, Singapore was a Crown Colony, but in 1959, it finally achieved with independence.

An extremely multicultural and diverse country, there are 4 major ethnic groups and accompanying languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. The language of the indigenous people is Bahasa Melayu or Malay. It follows then, that cuisine in Singapore is equally interesting, yet hard to categorize, with South and North Indian, Cantonese and Malay traditions and influences. Following is but a small sampling of some of the food, dishes and spices that make Singapore so interesting: Vegetarian thali, naan, bri yani, spring rolls, noodles, dim sum, roasted meat, soup, chicken,rice, steamed seafood, coconut milk, cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander  chillies, ginger, turmeric, galangal root (I have some in my freezer!), lemon grass, curry leaves, shrimp paste, peanut sauce, bean curd and satay. There's not one thing in this list I wouldn't love to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Shrimp cut into small pieces and beef sliced super thin across the grain

Shittake mushrooms, sliced thin (I added extra)

Scallions and green beans, sliced on the diagonal

Curry - with crushed, dried red pepper added (I didn't have Madras curry)

Onions, sliced thin and crushed garlic

Rice Vermicelli noodles, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes

Dry vermicelli noodles on a clean tea towel while heating the wok

 Stir-fry shrimp and beef first, then remove and set aside

Stir-fry mushrooms, onions and curry

Add vegetables, noodles and soy sauce - and that's it!

Singapore Noodles (Recipe Adapted from The Complete Stir-Fry, Edited by Helen Aitken)
(Serves 4-6)

150 grams (about 1/2 package) dried rice vermicelli
Oil for cooking
250 grams (8oz) beef, sliced super thin, across the grain
250 grams (8 oz) raw prawns, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. Madras curry powder (or regular curry powder with ground dried hot peppers added)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100 grams (3-1/2 oz) shittake mushrooms, thinly, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
100 grams (3-1/2 oz) green beans, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 Tbs. soy sauce
4 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

  1. Place the vermicelli in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 5 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a clean tea towel to dry.
  2. Heat the wok until very hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl it around to coat the side.
  3. Stir fry the beef and the prawn pieces in batches over high heat. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  4. Reheat the wok, add 2 tbsp. of the oil and stir fry the curry powder and garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and onion and stir fry over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion and mushrooms are soft.
  5. Return the beef and prawn to the work, add the beans and 2 tsp. water, and toss to combine. Add the drained noodles, soy sauce and spring onion. Toss well and serve.
Final Assessment: As I said before, I don't know why I don't stir-fry more often, especially when this meal was so easy and required very little prep. I didn't have Madras curry, so I used a mortar and pestle to grind some very hot dried red chillies, which I added into the curry. It gave the noodles just the right amount of heat. This might be the first time I used curry in a stir-fry, but it was excellent. I used shrimp and beef, but the recipe could easily omit meat or seafood altogether and add more vegetables. A great one pot  wok meal that my kids gobbled up with chopsticks.

© 2010-2011, What's Cooking in Your World? Sarah Commerford/All Rights Reserved


sheril benedict said...

I love to eat lots of noodles ..and this one is with shrimp so too good for me ..better u parcel it to india lol. Again u did a great job sarah . Photos ,dishes n they way u presented it everything is awesome .Keep up the good work ..u rock as always !!

Karen said...

Only one of my most favorite foods ever !! I get these for lunch sometimes from a place near my office, but I am SO gonna make them now !! Thank you !!

sadie said...

Thanks, Karen - I know you'll put your own special spin on them. Let me know how they turn out!! xoox

sadie said...

Thank you, Sheril! If I could send this dish off to you in India and not have be rotten by the time you got it, I would! You'll just have to make this one yourself :)

witchywoman said...

I absolutely loved cooking from Singapore, I did a chicken dish and I can't remember what else. I'm with you 100% about it being on my top 10 list of places to visit, right behind Thailand and Vietnam. A local restaurant here makes a version of the noodles, but they use spaghetti, I think I would prefer the rice noodles...that looks fantastic, rock! xoxoxo

sadie said...

Thanks, Laurrie - someday, when we hit the number, maybe we could go visit those places and eat our way through each country! Can you get rice noodles in your grocery store? If not, I can send you some! xox

Kitt said...

I've only recently discovered the deliciousness that is Sinagapore noodles (at a northeastern Chinese restaurant, oddly enough). I'll definitely have to try this! Thanks for the recipe.

sadie said...

You're welcome, Kitt - Glad you like the recipe, and even happier that you're going to try it!

Allison said...

I am sooooo going to make this one...looks like the perfect dish for a crisp, Autumn day! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sadie,

I'm from Singapore and came across your website completely by chance! I was very intrigued by your aim to cook a dish from each country and of course, I scrolled down to find Singapore. Not intending to disappoint, however, you won't be able to find Singapore noodles in Singapore (it is a sad misconception!)... but we have many other interesting dishes that you have mentioned in your introduction! :) My favourite is chicken rice!

sadie said...

Hi Anonymous! So aside from getting to sample food from all over the world, getting feedback from readers like you is the best part of this journey! So often I am forced to rely on the web for "authentic" recipes, unless, of course, I know someone in the specific country. I wonder if you'd be willing (or have the time) to send me a link to the chicken rice recipe? I'll make it, clear up the misconception and give you a shout out! Thanks so much for connecting. Sarah (Sadie)