Asian Vegetarian Noodle Stir-Fry

China invented noodles more than 4000 years ago, and when I met the Zhao family in Dali, in China’s Yunnan province, I was in noodle heaven! They’ve been making rice noodles for four generations, but what makes theirs unique is that they use a mixture of jasmine rice and white glutinous rice, giving the noodles a wonderful ‘al dente’ texture.

This simple recipe for two combines many wonderful flavours and textures, making it a delicious and light meal for any day of the week.

Serves: 2


  • 1 tablespoon garlic water (see note below)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 sliced Chinese cabbage (or 1/4 regular white cabbage)
  • 50g bean sprouts
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 125g fresh round rice noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh chilli
  • 2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

Make the garlic water a day ahead. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large frying pan until smoking. Add the oil and sauté the garlic over medium-high heat until fragrant. Now add the cabbage and bean sprouts, and stir-fry for one minute.

Add one teaspoon of oil, soy sauce, a pinch of salt and stir-fry for a further minute. Next add the noodles, chilli, garlic water and half the spring onion. Stir-fry for another three minutes.

Transfer to a platter or individual plates, garnish with the remaining spring onion and serve.

Note: To make garlic water, simply combine one tablespoon of chopped garlic and two tablespoons of water in a bowl. Cover and stand overnight, then strain.

Recipe adapted from Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong by Luke Nguyen
Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong
is an evocative culinary adventure that explores Asia’s most famous river. Starting in south-west China and journeying through Myanmar, northern Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, before meandering down to the vast Mekong Delta in Vietnam, Luke immerses himself in the cultures and communities that depend upon this life-giving river. Along the way he discovers the local cuisines and learns the heart-warming stories from the people he meets. Filled with stunning photography and authentic recipes from each region, Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong captures the true essence of this magnificent river: its people, food, culture and beauty.

You can buy Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong at

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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