Who doesn’t like fried noodles? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t and, in case you’re among those who say they don’t, maybe you didn’t find your noodles so far ? . I cook this very simple vegetables fried noodles recipe when I want a quick lunch or dinner. Since they’re so popular in Asia, they come in many varieties. And the diversity is not given only by the used ingredients, but also by the way they are cooked, which varies from one region to another.
The beginnings of my “affair” with fried noodles
I didn’t manage to cook these noodles perfectly from the beginning. Sometimes I’ve even ended up with some vegetable noodle soup on my plate… Quite far from what I had in mind. But hey, I kept trying and I figured out some things over time.
I noticed that in the Chinese restaurants there isn’t any salt or pepper on the table. Just small bottles with soy sauce and wine vinegar in general. Furthermore, they add sugar to almost every dish!
In many restaurants customers can see how the chefs cook the food. So, I noticed the cooking flame was really high. Therefore, high temperature is a key player here.
To make a long story short, when I gave up the salt in favor of soy sauce, added a sweetener and turned the heat to the max…boom! My noodles were just perfect!
Ingredients for this fried noodles recipe
What noodles should I choose?
I used thin dried wheat noodles with egg. Chow mein noodles are perfect for this recipe. If you want to make it vegan, use rice noodles. I even used soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) a few times and they worked fine.
What vegetables should I choose?
I used broccoli and carrot, but you can replace them with other vegetables of your choice like baby corn, bok choy, green beans, mushrooms, there are no rules. You can consider it a “fridge clean out” action?. Just try to keep it simple and don’t add more than two vegetables to this dish. There’s also the tofu so two vegetables are more than enough.
- Tofu – use firm tofu and fry it to add more crispiness to your dish. Tofu is a very good source of iron and calcium and it has no cholesterol; therefore, it’s a very good choice for replacing meat.
- Garlic and ginger – this is such a nice blend of flavors which is used in so many Asian food and it’s definitely a must in any fried noodles recipe.
- Sesame oil – another essential ingredient in Asian cooking, especially for fried noodles. Although oil made from toasted sesame seeds tastes better, I’d rather avoid it when it comes to deep frying. It would be like cooking it for the second time and it would taste quite bitter. But if that’s all you have, then use vegetable oil to fry tofu and vegetables and then add the toasted sesame oil only at the end to fry the noodles.
- Soy sauce – use light or all purpose soy sauce. It will make your dish salty enough (at least for my taste). But, if you must, add a bit of salt at the end, after the soy sauce releases its saltiness. For a gluten free recipe, replace the soy sauce with tamari sauce or coconut amino. You can find these sauces either in the bio products area in big supermarkets or in shops specialized in bio / eco products.
- Sweetener – as I said, sugar is present in almost all Asian dishes. But I prefer replacing it whenever possible with a healthier substitute, like agave syrup, in this case.
- Spices – I used red chili flakes, but you can skip it if you don’t like spicy food. Not all Asian dishes have to be spicy ? And I also added a pinch of Chinese 5 spices powder for it’s flavor, but it’s not mandatory. It’s a mix of spices where star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel are the most common ingredients.
Tips for making fried noodles
- Use a wok – when I cook fried noodles, I prefer using a wok, but a non-stick pan works as well. Just use a big one to not let the noodles fly over while tossing them.
- High heat is a must – the vegetables should be sizzling instantly when you put them in the wok. So, make sure your wok (or frying pan) is well heated before adding the ingredients.
- Prepare the ingredients in advance – since you’ll use high heat and the cooking time is very short, it’s better to have all ingredients ready to use when you start cooking.
- Keep it simple – don’t crowd your wok with too many ingredients! The high temperature won’t spread evenly and you will end up with a plate full of mushy and under cooked ingredients at the same time. That’s why I don’t recommend cooking more portions of these noodles at once (I usually cook 2-3 servings maximum). So, remember, less is more ?
- Don’t overcook your vegetables – if you want nice and crisp vegetables, don’t cook them for more than 30 seconds. And if you choose to replace broccoli and carrots with other vegetables, you might need to adjust the cooking time.
Fried noodles with vegetables and tofu – cooking steps
- Prepare your ingredients in advance.
2. Prepare the sauce.
3. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and then drain over a sieve. Save some water for later.
4. Fry the tofu cubes (if you prefer it fried) and set aside on a plate.
5. Stir fry the vegetables and set aside on a plate.
6. Fry garlic and ginger.
7. Add noodles and fry over high heat.
8. Pour the sauce and saved water over the noodles and stir in the vegetables and tofu.
Can I store fried noodles?
I recommend serving the noodles right after they’re cooked. Once they get cold, they tend to become mushy and flavorless.
This being said, I hope you’ll enjoy these very easy vegetables fried noodles as much as I do! I’m looking forward for you to share your impressions and some photos with your noodles cooked after this recipe 🙂
Fried noodles with vegetables and tofu
- 2-3 tbsp sesame oil
- 150 g firm tofu cut into 1 cm pieces
- 150 g dried thin noodles
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 small ginger piece 1 cm
- 100 g carrots thinly sliced (ribbons)
- 130 g broccoli florets
- 50 ml water saved from boiling noodles
- 1 pinch Chinese 5 spices powder
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp soy sauce light or all purpose
- 1 tbsp agave syrup or another sweetener
- 1 tsp red chili flakes add more if you prefer spicy
- spring onions only the greens
- toasted sesame seeds
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside;
- Put water into a large pot and bring it to a boil; when the water is boiling add the noodles in; when they’re almost done (al-dente), drain the water, rinse them with cold water (to interrupt the cooking process) and set aside; don’t forget to save for later 50 ml of the boiling water;
- In the meantime, place a wok over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of sesame oil; when the oil is hot, add the tofu; fry until all pieces turn golden and crispy (5-6 minutes); then take the tofu out of the wok and set it aside on a plate;
- Add carrots and broccoli and fry for 30 seconds over high heat then set them aside on a plate;
- Add 1 tbsp of sesame oil and fry the garlic and ginger for about 1 minute over medium heat until they turn golden and the favors blend together; stir continuously to not let them burn;
- Set your stove heat to maximum and add the noodles (make an evenly spread layer on the bottom of the wok); fry them for 2 min minutes then toss on the other side (using chopsticks or a pair of tongs) and fry for another 1-2 minutes; if needed, add 1 tbsp of sesame oil around the perimeter of the wok;
- Add the sauce, the 50 ml of saved water, 5 spices powder (if using) and give it a stir;
- Quickly add in vegetables and tofu and allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes; stir from time to time;
- Turn off the heat; serve the noodles on plates or bowls and garnish with spring onion and sesame seeds.
- Keep all ingredients in handy(prepared in advance) at handy so that you can move fast;
- I used raw (not toasted) sesame seeds oil, but you can replace it with peanut oil;
- Soy sauce – use light soy sauce for this recipe or “all purpose” soy sauce;
- I add the 5 spices powder because I like the flavors, but it’s not mandatory to use it;
- If you want nice and crisp vegetables, don’t cook them for more than 30 seconds; if you choose to replace broccoli and carrots with other vegetables, the cooking time might need to be adjusted;
- Serve it immediately; the longer you keep the noodles, the mushier and flavorless they become.