Prep Time: 5 Mins
Ipoh horfun is a common hawker dish in Malaysia / Singapore that is kinda nothing special but at the same time super comforting. The hawker version usually offers up only slivers of mushroom, so in our home-cooking version, we are going to gift ourselves with three big fat mushrooms. Because we’re worth it and we can do what we want.
Tofu sticks, or fuzhu (腐竹), are a great replacement for the shredded chicken breast that usually comes with this dish. Tofu sticks don’t have a lot of flavour of their own, so we boil them in a flavourful stock to impart some flavour. I have two favourite vegan chick’un stock powders: Vigor & Health Vegetarian G Seasoning (sadly not as kinky as it sounds) and Massel Premium Stock Powder Chicken Style.
I love this Ipoh mushroom horfun dish so much. The sticky braising sauce combined with the silky smooth rice noodles brings back memories of slurping noodles in foodcourts after school. The mushrooms are so juicy and full of flavour, and the tofu sticks and green veggies are just mild and firm enough to create a nice contrast.
I used 3mm rice noodles, which is usually what they use at the hawker stalls, but you can use any width you like. I didn’t count the soaking time, so the prep time is just for cutting stuff. If you are not sure about prepping and cooking rice noodles, check out How to Cook Dried Rice Noodles Without Despair.
Rehydrate the dried mushrooms and the tofu sticks. Soak the dried rice noodles until soft. Important: Keep the mushroom soaking water for later!
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Cook the spring onion whites until they go golden.
Add the ginger, star anise and cinnamon, and fry until you can smell the aroma.
Add the mushrooms, and pour in the mushroom water. If there is not enough water to cover the mushrooms, just top up until the mushrooms are covered.
Add the five-spice powder, Chinese cooking wine, vegan oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar. Bring the boil, then turn the heat down to low and braise for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the tofu sticks diagonally. Fill a second pot with just enough water to cover the tofu sticks and add 1 tsp of vegan chick'un stock powder. Boil the tofu sticks over medium-high heat until cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside.
Top up the pot and blanch the green leafy vegetables. Drain and set aside.
Turn the heat down so the water is boiling gently without bubbles. We don't want a rolling boil for rice noodles. Soak the rice noodles in this hot bath until they are cooked al dente.
Remove the braised mushrooms and strain the braising sauce, removing the spices.
Mix 1 tbsp of corn starch well with some cool water and add to the braising sauce and reduce to your desired thickness. It should be fairly sticky!
Place the rice noodles in a bowl and cover with the sticky sauce.
Top with green vegetables, braised mushroom, and shredded tofu sticks. Garnish with spring onion greens and fried shallots.