Vegetarian Chow Fun Noodles (Hu Tieu Recipe)

Vegetarian Chow Fun Noodles (Hu Tieu Recipe) Recipe

Chow fun is called hủ tiếu xào chay (literally "vegetarian rice noodle stir fry") in Vietnamese and consists of wide, chewy rice vermicelli noodles stir-fried with tofu and vegetables. I made the dish chay ("vegetarian") but you can certainly add meat, such as beef, which will make the dish all the more delicious.

I make these noodles very often at home. I could eat freshly made hủ tiếu by the platter! It's quick and simple, healthy and very tasty. Living in the Bay Area means that I'm lucky enough to have fresh rice noodles readily available. I just need to drive to downtown San Jose. San Jose has a large Vietnamese community so it's very easy to find all sorts of my favorite ethnic ingredients.

Ingredients

Yields: 8 servings

1 pound fresh wide vermicelli rice noodles (see tips)
¼ cup canola oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ cup baby carrots, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets and stems, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon palm sugar, freshly grated (or light brown sugar)
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (see tips)
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon black bean sauce
2 tablespoons vegetarian mushroom flavored stir-fry sauce (see tips)
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
½ yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped


Directions

Frying tofu:

Drain any liquid from the tofu. Pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the block of tofu into 1-½" thick pieces. and cut into cubes.

In a wok, heat about 4 tablespoons of canola oil for about 2 minutes. The key to good fried tofu is to get little bubbles when the tofu is in contact with the oil. Don't overheat the oil; otherwise the tofu will get too browned and chewy. Just stick to the slightly jumping bubbles. Add the tofu one piece at a time, making sure the tofu pieces don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip each piece and cook about a minute longer. Transfer to a cutting board and cut each piece into 4 long strips. Set aside.

Prepping the rice noodles: Separate the noodles.


Assembly time:

In the same wok, add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the onions, ginger garlic paste and carrots. Stir fry until they are slightly translucent, then add the broccoli. Drizzle with about ¼ cup water. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms. Season with salt. Toss well. Add the tofu, palm sugar, vegetarian mushroom flavored stir-fry sauce, chili garlic sauce and black bean sauce. Finish with the noodles and cilantro. Drizzle with soy sauce; this will add the final salty touch to the noodles. Stir well and allow the noodles to soften for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Adjust the seasoning with more salt (if necessary).

Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil.

Garnish with more cilantro.

Bon appétit!


Tips

You could add any other vegetables such as enoki mushrooms, straw mushrooms, bok choy, bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage, sugar snap peas or zucchini.

I use Thanh Son brand rice noodles as well as their tofu. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try them. The main shop is on 2857 Senter Road, San Jose. You also could use dried bánh phở rice noodles.

All the ingredients should be cut the same size for a more attractive presentation.

Make sure the temperature is always on high so the noodles don't become soggy and watery.

The soy sauce brings saltiness to the dish and a nice amber brown color. My favorite soy sauce is the Da Bo De brand. It has a good flavor and is not too salty. You can find this particular sauce, at Lion Supermarket, 1710 Tully Road, San Jose.

You can use store-bought chili garlic sauce, black bean sauce and vegetarian mushroom flavored stir-fry sauce such as the ones from Lee Kum Kee.

You can find all the ingredients listed in most Asian stores.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 7, 2012.


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