Chow fun is called hu tieu 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 hu tieu 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.
1. Info for Hu Tieu Chay Recipe
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
- Servings: 8
- Calories: 200kcal
2. Ingredients for Hu Tieu Chay Recipe
- 1 pound fresh wide vermicelli rice noodles (see tips)
- 1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu
- store-bought vegetarian sausage, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 King mushroom, thinly sliced
- 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 boiled carrot, sliced
- 1 cup cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
- 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)
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian mushroom flavored stir-fry sauce (see tips)
- 1 teaspoon salt
3.1 Frying tofu
Drain any liquid from the tofu. Pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the block of tofu into 1½” 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. Repeat the same procedure with the vegetarian sausage.
3.2 Prepping the rice noodles
Separate the noodles.
In the same wok, add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the ginger garlic paste and carrots. Stir fry until they are slightly translucent, then add the broccoli and cauliflower. Drizzle with about ¼ cup water. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add the king and shiitake mushrooms. Season with salt. Toss well. Add the tofu, palm sugar, vegetarian mushroom flavored stir-fry 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).
Garnish with more cilantro.
4. Tips and advices:
- You could add any other vegetables such as enoki mushrooms, straw mushrooms, bok choy, bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage, sugar snap peas or zucchini. I used store-bought bánh pho rice noodles.
- 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.
- You can use store-bought chili garlic 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.