Glossy, flavour-packed thick noodles, tender juicy prawns (shrimp) cooked to just right and delightfully sweet, crisp fresh vegetables! This Chinese-style prawn noodle stir fry recipe is a complete joy to eat. It's easy, quick, healthy and an ideal weeknight dinner.
The key to a quick noodle stir fry is cooking the ingredients in a certain order that makes sense so that everything is cooked just right by the time it's done!
- Peeled and deveined prawns (shrimp) - easiest and most convenient way is using already peeled and deveined ones from your fish monger or local supermarket. They come in both fresh and frozen. Otherwise, you can buy whole prawns and peel and devein at home yourself - see my garlic prawn pasta post for how to do this. I find prawns peeled at home tend to be more flavoursome so it's worth the effort if time permits!
- Bean sprouts - these are fresh mung bean sprouts, cheap and used extensively in East and South-East Asian cooking. Can be found at Asian grocers (some supermarkets and fruit and vegetable grocers sell these too now!)
- Buying tip: look for the freshest sprouts. Bean sprouts are generally sold in bags, in the fridge section. Always look for crisp-looking ones without any liquid at the bottom of the bag. This is particularly important if you're serving bean sprouts raw such as in Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls.
- Sugar snap peas - sweet, crisp peas that are perfect in stir fries! Substitute: snow peas.
- Fresh Hokkien noodles - one of my favourite noodles to cook with, especially, in stir-fries! Fresh Hokkien noodles do not require any cooking, simply soak according to packet instructions, loosen then drain and you're good to go! Substitutes: udon (always use frozen udon - see my yaki udon recipe for why), Singaporean noodles and egg noodles.
Stir fry to success
The beauty of this prawn noodle stir fry is that it's quick, convenient and big on flavour.
There are 3 important elements to a good stir fry:
- Heat - cooking on high heat produces flavour and complexity through the caramelisation of ingredients. It's all about the 'wok hei' (air of the wok) as I explained in my pan fried soy sauce noodles recipe!
- Speed - one of the appeals of stir-fries is that they are quick to cook. Everything happens quickly and thus the timing of when different ingredients are added is important. The goal is to have everything cooked to just right at the end.
- Preparation - for a successful, stress-free cooking process, make sure to prepare everything before turning the stove on. Plates, spatula and ingredients washed, trimmed, chopped and laid out ready for use.
This prawn noodle stir fry recipe takes just 20 minutes to make from start to finish.
This means less prep time and dinner is ready quicker!
That is, 10 minutes to prepare the ingredients (chop, mince, soak etc) and 10 minutes to cook.
Prepare the ingredients
Whether you're using sugar snap peas or snow peas, it's important to peel the woody strings off these peas. Just like the below image marked #1. Nobody enjoys woody peas!
Then, chop carrots into thin matchsticks, resembling the thickness of the Hokkien noodles.
This is a handy technique when stir-frying - since everything cooks quickly, you want the ingredients to be of similar sizes so that they cook evenly.Good examples include my beef in black bean sauce and chicken cashew stir fry.
Cut spring onions (scallions) into 4cm/1½ inch lengths and separate the white and green parts. We'll cook the white parts similar to onions, at the beginning of the stir fry and finish off with the green parts to freshen up the dish with a pop of vibrant green.
Finely chop garlic cloves and rinse fresh bean sprouts (not pictured).
The beauty of cooking with fresh Hokkien noodles: no cooking required! Talk about quick and easy!
To get the noodles ready for cooking, simply follow the packet instructions. Usually, this involves soaking the noodles in boiling water for a minute or two then loosening.
Lastly, in a small bowl, combine dark soy sauce, soy sauce, sugar, shaoxing wine, sesame oil and umami powerhouse oyster sauce. This forms the seasoning/sauce of this recipe.
By combining these ingredients before cooking just makes the cooking process easy and smooth. You don't want to be fumbling about looking for a particular condiment when cooking!
Time to cook! Get the pan/wok nice and hot then add garlic, white parts of spring onions and carrots. Stir fry on high heat (keep the heat high the whole time for this dish).
After about 1 minute, add prawns and spread them out into a single layer so that each piece gets direct heat from the pan. Let the prawns sizzle away for about 1 minute then flip them over and sizzle the other side for 1 minute.
Direct heat from the pan on high heat creates caramelisation on the outer layer of the prawns and in turn, depth and complexity of flavour!
Now, add sugar snap peas and saute for about 1 minute. Cook out the rawness of the peas while retaining their crisp, sweetness. Don't worry if they look a bit too raw at this point, it'll cook to just right by the end.
Time for the exciting part - add in prepared noodles and seasoning.
Toss the noodles well for about 2 minutes. Let the sauce and noodles sizzle in the hot pan/wok - that's when the seasoning/sauce wakes up and get really delicious!
I like using both my hands - a spatula in each hand and get a thorough tossing going. Otherwise, a pair of chopsticks in one hand and a spatula in the other works too. Either way, get the noodles moving for even cooking.
To finish off, add bean sprouts and the green parts of spring onions. Toss for a final minute or so. Don't overdo it otherwise the prawns can overcook and peas and bean sprouts can lose their crispness.
That's it! Prawn noodle stir fry done in 20 minutes and fuss-free (because we prep the ingredients beforehand!)
Simple, easy and oh so yum! Fresh, flavour-packed and satisfyingly filling!
Useful tips and tricks
- Soak sugar snap peas in cold water to revive them - handy when the peas have turned a little limp from being in the fridge for a couple of days. All they need is some water to rehydrate (just like lettuce!) I find soaking after the woody strings have been peeled off works best (quicker result).
- Rinse and pat dry prawns/shrimp with paper towels - this is particularly important. Drawing excess liquids out of the prawns will ensure they sizzle nicely in the pan/wok. This brings me to my next point - defrost properly.
- Completely defrost prawns/shrimp before cooking - even slightly frozen prawns hold excess water. Excess water and pan searing do not go well together. The water will cool down the pan and instead of sizzling, the prawns will just kind of cook in a little pool of water. We want wok hei for flavour!
Good to know
Any type of noodles that hold their shape well such as Hokkien noodles, Japanese udon, egg noodles or rice noodles (thick or thin). I'd avoid thin, wheat noodles like the ones I used in my Chinese pork mince noodles. Those kinds of noodles are not suitable for stir-frying, they break easily when stir-fried. You can even use spaghetti if that's all you've got!
For this recipe and most recipes out there, they're the same thing! Here in Australia, we say prawns whereas Americans call the same thing shrimp.
This prawn noodle stir fry lasts up to 3 days in the fridge, stored in airtight containers.
Unless you're using super fresh prawns (that is, they've never been frozen before), I would not recommend freezing this dish for another day to eat.
Most prawns you buy from your fish monger or the supermarket have been frozen already so it's best just make enough so that you can consume this dish within a day or two. I find this article on how to store prawns very helpful in understanding what's safe and what the best practices are.
Made this recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you. 🙂
Happy cooking! - Gen
Prawn (Shrimp) Noodle Stir Fry
- 350 g (¾ pound) peeled, deveined prawns (shrimp) ~20 large, fully defrosted if frozen
- 450 g (1 pound) Hokkien noodles substitute: egg noodles, udon, Singaporean noodles
- 2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas, ~2 large handfuls
- 2 cups bean sprouts ~2 large handfuls
- 1 carrot cut into matchsticks
- 3 green onions cut into 4cm/1½ inch lengths
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon oil neutral-tasting or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon cooking rice wine
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Loosen fresh Hokkien noodles according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Pull woody strings off sugar snap peas (see video on how it's done below).
- Rinse and pat dry defrosted prawns with paper towels to remove excess liquids.
- In a small bowl, combine all seasoning ingredients. Mix well with a teaspoon and set aside.
- In a large wok or non-stick frying pan add oil, garlic, carrots and white parts of green onions. Stir fry on high heat for about 1 minute then add prawns. Keep the heat on high for the entirety of this recipe.
- Spread prawns out into a single layer to ensure each piece gets direct heat from the pan/wok which will maximum caramelisation (flavour!). Flip the prawns after 1 minute and cook the other side for 1 minute.
- Add sugar snap peas and toss well for a minute.
- Add noodles and seasoning ingredients. Toss noodles with ingredients in the pan/wok for about 2 minutes (best use two spatulas, one in each hand for even tossing).
- Add green parts of the green onions and bean sprouts. Toss through for 1 minute and serve.