This is a recipe for how to fry Singapore bee hoon. It is a healthy version of Singapore noodles with chicken and red rice vermicelli, high in protein and low in fat. Never again suffer through rice vermicelli that’s drowned in oil and fat!
Singapore noodles, as they’re known in the Western world are actually called “fried bee hoon” or “mee hoon” locally here in Singapore. That’s why when you visit Singapore and look for Singapore noodles, you won’t find one.
If you are new to bee hoon, it is rice vermicelli stir-fried with protein of your choice and vegetables with a delicious sauce and is a complete meal in itself. It is a local staple that is served in hawker stalls any time of the day as breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. (‘Hawker stall’ food is the Singapore version of street food.)
Why this is a healthy fried bee hoon recipe
- This recipe uses lean meat (chicken breast) instead of pork which is commonly used.
- I’ve used red rice vermicelli instead of the more common white rice variety. Red rice has more nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.
- If you want to shift to healthy carbs like red/ brown rice, this can be a good place to start because, unlike rice, red rice vermicelli is not much different from the white one in terms of taste and texture, but the health benefits are immense. Once you get used to this red rice vermicelli, you can try red rice recipes like Thai-style fried red rice or stir-fried chicken with red rice. You may also like brown rice recipes like lemon rice.
- The optional “ground dry mushrooms” is a healthy twist I’ve introduced into this bee hoon recipe. It increases the flavor as well as antioxidants, plant-based protein and other nutrients.
- I’ve used (and recommend) a non-stick wok instead of the traditional wok. Hence, the quantity of oil required to stir-fry is comparatively less.
If you’re worried about the vermicelli sticking together due to less oil, I’ve got you covered. The vermicelli is blanched in a lot of water to remove the starch which makes it less sticky.
- Soy sauce: You’ll need light and dark soy sauce for this recipe. If unavailable, use 3 tablespoons of regular soy sauce.
- Chilli sauce, chili flakes and pepper for the heat. This recipe is mildly spicy. You can adjust the quantities according to taste or completely omit the chili flakes.
- Oyster sauce is one of the main ingredients that give the characteristic flavor to this Singapore noodles recipe.
- Sesame oil for flavor, to bring the sauce together and give a final gloss to the dish.
- Ground dry mushrooms (optional): In some local hawker stalls, dried mushrooms are soaked overnight and stir-fried with the bee hoon, but this is an easier way to add dried mushrooms.
How to make dried mushroom powder
Take about 5 or 6 dried mushrooms, wipe them with a wet cloth to remove any dirt and let them dry on the kitchen counter. (Ensure that you buy good quality mushrooms that are free from grit.) Grind them to a smooth powder using a spice grinder or small blender jar. Store in a dry airtight jar in the refrigerator.
This recipe requires just 1 teaspoon but you can make this in bulk and store in the fridge. It stays fresh for about 3 months.
Use this mushroom powder in Chinese stir-fries, noodles and tofu and taste the difference! You can also use it in soups, stews, broth or even pasta sauce. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of this powder to the sauce in the scrambled tofu recipe and also the creamy pasta with spinach.
Red rice and brown rice vermicelli can be used interchangeably for this recipe. The white variety can also be used. It also tastes great but you’ll be missing out on those health benefits 🙂
I’ve used chicken breasts here, but any skinless, boneless chicken can be used for this recipe. Marinate in a little of the sauce for about 20 minutes.
Dried prawns are used for fried bee hoon but if not available, fresh ones can be used. Fresh prawns can be stir-fried as is, but if using dried prawns, soak in hot water for about 20 minutes before stir-frying.
Carrots and cabbage are usually added, but other stir-fry vegetables like bell peppers or leafy greens like bok choy and chye sim can also be used.
Additionally, garlic, onions, bean sprouts and spring onions are added for flavor and crunch.
Whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. Marinate the chicken with a little of the sauce and soak the dried prawns.
Blanch the vermicelli- boil water, add vermicelli and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into cold water. Drain again.
For stir-frying, use a wide wok so you can stir the ingredients with ease. Start by heating oil on high flame and stir-fry garlic, onions, marinated chicken, prawns, vegetables, beaten eggs, blanched vermicelli, sauce, and bean sprouts in the same order. Garnish with green onions.
Vegetarian fried bee hoon
This fried bee hoon can be easily made vegetarian by substituting the following:
- Use extra-firm tofu instead of chicken. Marinate and stir-fry the same way.
- Omit the prawns.
- Use hoisin sauce instead of oyster sauce.
- Add 1 teaspoon more of the dried mushroom powder in the sauce.
- For a vegan recipe, omit the eggs in addition to the above.
- Keep the flame on high throughout the cooking process. If you feel that something is getting burnt, add a splash of water and continue stir-frying.
- When you blanch the vermicelli, add a lot of water with a little oil (about 6 cups for this recipe) so that there is room for vermicelli to move around and they don’t stick to each other.
How do you cook bee hoon without breaking it?
1. Blanching the vermicelli helps hold its shape and texture. Plunging in cold water after cooking stops it from getting overcooked and breaking.
2. After adding the vermicelli, do not stir-fry for more than 2-3 minutes.
3. As soon as you turn off the flame, transfer the fried bee hoon to a serving dish so it doesn’t continue to get cooked in the residual heat.
Are rice vermicelli noodles healthy?
It depends on the protein you add and the amount of oil used for stir-frying. When you use lean meat and limited oil and salt, combined with the nutritious antioxidant and fibre-rich red rice vermicelli, you get a healthy fried bee hoon.
How do you soften bee hoon?
Bee hoon (rice vermicelli) cooks very fast. Add it to boiling water and stir well. The bee hoon becomes soft in 2 minutes.
How do you cook vermicelli without it sticking?
Add rice vermicelli to boiling water (about 6 cups per 200 grams) in a wide pan and cook for not more than 2 minutes. Drain and plunge in cold water. This blanching process helps remove the starch from the vermicelli making it less sticky. Adding oil to the water while boiling also keeps it from getting sticky and maintains a springy texture.
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