But Singapore, to my 13-year old eyes, was really foreign. I remember walking past Hindu temples in the Indian section of the city in awe of how it was unlike anywhere I'd ever been. We ate at hawker centers, filling up on steamed pork buns and noodles that cost startlingly little. I even tried durian for the only time in my life, holding my nose as I slurped up the sweet yellow flesh.
I loved Singapore, and I desperately want to go back soon. This recipe is a quick version of the fragrant curry noodles that are sold all over the city. In a temporary lapse in brain function, I completely forgot that I have a recipe for them in one of my cookbooks. I turned to google, which never lets me down, and found this recipe on the Sugarlens blog. I didn't have shrimp, so I used tofu instead. It was delicious!
(adapted from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen cookbook by Grace Young, seen at Sugarlens)
Singapore Rice Noodles:
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 8 ounces rice vermicelli
- 3 tablespoons thin soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 ounces extra firm tofu, thinly sliced and cooked in a frying pan until golden
- 1 cup cabbage, cut into julienne strips
- 1/2 cup carrots, cut into julienne strips
- 1/2 cup finely shredded scallions
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 ounces Chinese barbecued pork, store-bought or homemade, cut into julienne strips
In a medium bowl, soak the mushrooms in 1/4 cup cold water for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain and squeeze dry. Cut off and discard stems and thinly slice the caps.
In a large bowl, soak the rice noodles in enough cold water to cover for 20 to 30 minutes, or until noodles are limp and softened. Drain in a colander and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the vegetable oil and sliced mushrooms, and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add scallions, cabbage and carrots. Cook until tender. Add the curry powder and stir-fry 10 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir soy sauce mixture and swirl it into the wok. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add the drained rice noodles and return to a boil, stirring noodles to completely coat in curry mixture. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are just tender. Add the tofu and barbecued pork, and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed by the noodles. Serve immediately.