Don’t let the plainness of this white bee hoon recipe fool you. This white bee hoon recipe is deceptively pale but it is anything but plain. White bee hoon is a seafood dish created by a small local business owner in Singapore.
The main ingredients center around seafood and rice vermicelli noodles, making it a healthy and great low fodmap dinner option. Today, we’ll teach you how to make this delicious seafood bee hoon at home and more:
The best place to start any journey is at the beginning. So, if you’ve been wondering what’s the difference between bee hoon, vermicelli, or glass noodles, then you’re in luck! That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in the next section.
Bee Hoon, Vermicelli, Or Glass Noodles?
We love carbs. Who doesn’t? But most carbs have some form of gluten and although neither of us has any issues with gluten *knock on wood* not everyone can say the same. Luckily, bee hoon, vermicelli noodles, and glass noodles are made from either rice starch or other vegetable starches, they are IBS-friendly low fodmap foods and fit right in with a low fodmap diet!
Bee hoon is essentially rice vermicelli noodles. This rice noodle dish can be found in dry or wet stir-fries and in soups. It’s commonly paired with vegetables and meat or fish. Variations of this rice noodle-based dish can be found all throughout Southeast Asia.
What is the difference between bee hoon, vermicelli, and glass noodles? These rice noodles have different names depending on who you ask. Bee hoon is the same as bihun and mee hoon. Bee hoon, bihun, or mee hoon is also known as vermicelli noodles in English. Vermicelli noodles are thin noodles made from rice starch.
However, glass noodles and vermicelli noodles are not the same things. They’re made from different ingredients, have contrasting appearances and textures when compared side-by-side.
We try not to be too repetitive, so, if you want to learn more about the differences between glass noodles and rice noodles, have a look at this post. Onto the more important topic at hand, why is this dish called white bee hoon?
Why Is It Called White Bee Hoon?
This popular Singapore bee hoon dish is known as white bee hoon in English, bee hoon putih (white) in Bahasa, and 炒白米粉 (chao-bai-mi-fen) in Chinese, which essentially means stir-fried white rice noodles.
Traditionally, bee hoon goreng is a stir fry noodle dish that is flavored with sauces that taint the white color of the noodles.
This dish -although pale and plain in appearance- is actually simmered in a seafood chicken broth that flavors the dish without staining the noodles. Thus the name white bee hoon.
The original recipe for seafood white bee hoon was created in Singapore at a local coffee shop called White Restaurant located in Sembawang. Since its creation, there have been dry and wet variations (almost like a bee hoon soup situation). Our version is a take on the dry variation and can be made in 10 minutes.
In the next section of this post, we’re going to share some inside tips on how to master cooking bee hoon so you can make it at lightning speed too.
Tips To Master Cooking Bee Hoon
Making white bee hoon is easy and is similar to making a fried bee hoon or fried mee hoon dish. But one issue many seem to have with these noodles is their fragility. There’s a reason they’re often confused with noodles. Aside from the obvious nod to their appearance, much like glass, these noodles are easy to break.
Want to keep those beautiful threads of noodles intact? Try following these tips:
- SOAK not boil noodles
These noodles are very thin and don’t need a lot of time in the heat. Boiling them before cooking them will result in mushy noodles and a stir fry that resembles couscous instead of bee hoon. To avoid this, soak your noodles in warm water for 10 minutes before cooking.
- Prepare your ingredients before cooking
Stir-frying means everything comes together quickly. Preparing your ingredients ahead of time when making any stir fry is important because it’s done on high heat and fast. There’s no time to chop or measure out your ingredients at this time. You can but you may run the risk of burning your dish.
Timing is key because the cooking process is so quick. It’s important to know which ingredients to add when. Always start by adding ingredients that need longer times to cook first and the ones that need the least time last. In this case, the noodles are the last ingredients you should add.
Now that you’re armed with tips and tricks to make the cooking process a breeze, let’s get into the good stuff and finally learn how to make this white bee hoon recipe!
How To Make This White Bee Hoon Recipe
This white bee hoon recipe is made in 3 easy steps. First, we begin by soaking all the dry ingredients, preparing the fresh produce, and then bringing it all together in the wok. It’s as easy as pie. To make this low fodmap breakfast (yes, this is a breakfast dish in Malaysia and Singapore) let’s start with the first step, soaking all the dry ingredients.
Soak Your Dry Ingredients
There are 3 dry ingredients in this dish; the bee hoon vermicelli rice noodles, dried shrimps, and anchovies. All of these ingredients need to be soaked before we can start cooking. Remember: soak your noodles, do not boil them.
Soak your rice noodles in WARM water for 10 minutes. The dried shrimps and anchovies need to be soaked in HOT water. This will reconstitute and soften them before we add them into the blender.
If you live in Europe like us, you’ll know how hard it can be to find dried anchovies sometimes. Tinned anchovies in oil are a great substitute for this ingredient. If you use wet anchovies, you don’t have to soak them.
While everything is soaking, this is the perfect time to get all your other ingredients prepared.
Have Everything Prepared
Our other ingredients for this white mee hoon dish are fresh shrimps, squid, bok choy, ginger, and garlic. To make sure the cooking process goes swimmingly -see what we did there?- have all of these ingredients prepped and ready to go.
Devein your shrimps (read about how to clean shrimps to avoid eating shrimp poop here) and slice your squid into thin rings. Chop your bok choy or vegetable of choice and separate the leafy greens from the thick stocky parts. The stocky parts of the bok choy take a longer time to cook and will go in before the leafy greens.
Peel and chop your ginger and garlic. When all the ingredients are prepared, add the ginger, garlic, chicken stock cube, anchovies, and rehydrated dried shrimps -water and all- into the blender and mix until smooth. Set the paste aside and drain your rice noodles over a sieve.
We can finally start the cooking process now that you have all your ingredients prepared!
Cooking The Noodles
Here’s the order of ingredients for how to fry bee hoon:
- Paste and sauces
- Seafood of choice
- Stocky vegetables
- Leafy greens
Have all of your ingredients ready in that order and let’s begin. Add some oil to a hot wok on medium-high heat. Remember the ginger, garlic, dried shrimp, anchovy, chicken stock cube paste? Add that into the pan with the oyster and soy sauce and saute for 5 minutes.
When the paste has darkened, add in the seafood of your choice and saute for a few minutes. Throw in the stocky vegetables and add 100ml of water. Finally, add in your leafy greens and your noodles.
Cover this with a lid and let everything simmer for a few minutes. Just until the noodles have absorbed all the liquid.
Toss everything together and voila you are done. We whipped up some egg ribbons to jazz up this dish and use as a garnish but that’s not mandatory. Lightly beat eggs and cook them in a pan. Roll the thin omelet into a log and slice thinly to make egg ribbons.
Lisa and I love our noodles on the spicier side so we had a jar of our favorite homemade chili oil on the table too.
What do you think of this white bee hoon recipe? Do you think this is a dish you would try to make at home? Or does the lack of color have you on the fence about this dish? If you’re looking for more noodle dishes?:
Or try this sardine fried rice recipe if you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive seafood fried rice recipe:
White Bee Hoon Recipe
This white bee hoon recipe is packed with seafood goodness, an abundance of umami flavor, and it can be cooked in 10 minutes.
- 250g vermicelli rice noodles
- 200g shrimps
- 150g squid
- 10g dried shrimps (soaked in hot water)
- 10g anchovies (ikan bilis)
- 100ml water
- 1/4 chicken stock cube
- 1 tbsp soy
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 cloves garlic (or 3 tbsp garlic oil)
- 1 piece of ginger (20g)
- bok choy
- salt to taste
- Optional: eggs to make egg ribbons
Start by soaking your rice noodles in warm water (NOT HOT WATER) for 10 minutes. Make sure the noodles are submerged in water completely.
Soak your anchovies and dried shrimps in hot water. If you're using anchovies from a tin, skip this step.
While the noodles and dried seafood is soaking, chop your bok choy into bite-sized pieces.
Devein your shrimps if necessary and cut the squid into thin rings.
Place the soaked dried shrimps, anchovies, 1/4 chicken stock cube, garlic, and ginger in a blender and mix until smooth.
Place a large wok on medium-high heat and add oil and the blended mixture.
Saute the mixture for 5 minutes and add 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce and soy sauce.
After 5 minutes, add the fresh seafood and saute for 3 minutes.
Add 100ml of water and turn the heat up to high. Add the bok choy and noodles. Cover with a lid and let simmer for about 2 minutes. Mix everything together and you're done!
Serve with chili oil and garnish with egg ribbons!