A bite of this vegan mee rebus immediately brought me back to my time in Malaysia. The spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors all meld together in this slurpilicious bowl.
Most of the recipes I share are inspired by food that I missed the most from home, either at kopitiam, restaurants, or street food. This vegan mee rebus is no different and it’s one of my husband’s favorite meals to get every time he visits home. In Malay, mee rebus translates to boiled or blanched noodles. While the name may seem simple, the taste is multidimensional—yellow noodles drenched in a spicy, tangy-sweet potato gravy. It’s just perfect for lunch or dinner.
It’s made from a blended spice paste that is then sizzled with lemongrass to deepen the flavors. Although some recipes call for the making of your own curry paste, I opt for curry powder—the yellow one, to be exact—to save time. Ketchup adds tang, while fermented bean sauce (taucu or doubanjiang) brings an umami savoriness.
Traditionally, this is not a vegan dish. Many cooks use belacan (shrimp paste) in the gravy and top the noodles with a hard-boiled egg. Other common pairings include fried tofu, fritters (I used youtiao, the Chinese crullers), herbs and greenery (like cilantro and scallions), fresh chiles, and crispy shallots. Let’s see how to make this delicious dish at home.
How to make vegan mee rebus
Part 1: Prepare the sweet potatoes
Boil the sweet potatoes in a small pot until fork-tender. Drain out the liquid into a jug for the gravy later. Using a potato masher, mash sweet potato into a paste until no large lumps appear, then set it aside. Don’t worry if it’s not fine enough, it will be blended later.
Part 2: Make the spice paste and gravy
Combine shallot, garlic, galangal, and ginger in a high-speed blender. Add enough water to keep the blender running, then blend into a fine paste.
Heat a large wok over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the paste along with bruised lemongrass until fragrant and the paste starts to dry up.
Now, add doubanjiang or taucu (fermented bean sauce), curry powder, and sauté for a few seconds. Then, pour in the vegetable stock and bring it to a boil. Add in the mashed potatoes and season with palm sugar, salt, and ketchup. Adjust the taste accordingly.
Part 3: How to serve
While the gravy is cooking, blanch mung bean sprouts in another pot. Sieve it out and set it aside. Using the same water, cook the fresh noodles as directed.
Arrange the noodles in a bowl, add the blanched mung bean sprouts and ladle the hot gravy over. Top with youtiao pieces, pan-fried tofu, chile, cilantro, and fried shallots. Serve warm.
Vegan Mee Rebus Cooking Tips
- Potato vs Sweet potato – If you love a less sweet gravy, feel free to substitute a portion of sweet potato with regular potato. Since regular potato is lighter in color and may contain more starch, the gravy will look less orange and will be thicker.
- Curry powder – Yellow works the best or you can use Baba’s Malaysian curry powder that’s used for meat curry. This curry powder is a blend of spices that’s used to cook meat, but doesn’t actually have any meat in it.
- Youtiao or Chinese crueller is available at any well-stocked Asian market in the freezer section. To warm it up, I like to cut the cruller into pieces, then toast at 375°F for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Yellow fresh noodle is often used and I found that this works the best for this recipe. I got it from Ranch99 market. If you can’t find this brand, other soft noodles would work.
Other Malaysian recipes to try
- Curry Chee Cheong Fun
- Curry Mee/Curry Laksa
- Seremban Siew Pau
- KL Hokkien Mee – made from thick chewy noodles
This vegan mee rebus is
- Simple and easy to make
- Filling and scrumptious
- Easily customizable
- Spicy, tangy, with a touch of sweetness
- DELICIOUS and definitely satisfy my street food cravings
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Vegan Mee Rebus
- 1 pound [453g] sweet potatoes peeled and roughly chopped (about 2 medium)
- 5 ounces shallots peeled and finely chopped (about 2 large)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 5 slices galangal
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 lemongrass stalk white part only, bruised
- 2 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder
- 1 tablespoon fermented bean paste taucu or doubanjiang
- 2 palm sugar rounds 15 grams each
- 2 tablespoon ketchup plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon Yondu or another vegetable umami seasoning
- 1½ teaspoons salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon mushroom seasoning/buillon
- 1 pound mung bean sprouts cleaned
- 2 pounds fresh yellow noodles
- 8 ounces fried tofu cubes I used store-bought, seasoned with salt
- 1 youtiao Chinese cruller, see Author Notes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Red or green jalapeño slices
- Fried shallots
- Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Chopped scallion
- Lime wedges
- To make the gravy, place the sweet potatoes in a 1½-quart pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes and bring it to a boil. Cook the potatoes until fork-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Set a colander or sieve over a heatproof measuring cup, then drain the potatoes, reserving the water in the measuring cup. Note the amount. Mash the potatoes into a fine paste.
- Place the shallot, garlic, galangal, and ginger in a high-speed blender. Blend into a fine paste, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if needed.
- Heat a large wok over medium-low heat. Add the oil, then slowly pour in the spice paste and add the lemongrass stalk. Cook the paste until it’s aromatic and starts to dry up, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the curry powder and fermented bean paste. Add the sweet potato blanching liquid from above, plus enough water to get 7 cups of liquid total (so, if you had 4 cups of blanching liquid, you’d add 3 cups of water).
- Add the mashed sweet potatoes and increase the heat to high. Stir in the palm sugar, ketchup, Yondu, salt, and mushroom seasoning. Cook the mixture until the flavors meld and the sugar has dissolved, 8 to 12 minutes. Taste and season accordingly. Remove the lemongrass stalk. (Note: If you’d like a smoother gravy, at this point you can transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender and blend.)
- Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Blanch the mung bean sprouts for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are as crisp as you like, and use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl. Now, using the same water, cook the noodles according to the package instructions, then strain and rinse.
- Divide the noodles between 4 bowls and ladle the hot gravy on top. Top with the mung bean sprouts, tofu, cruller, jalapeño, shallots, cilantro, and scallions. Serve right away with a squeeze of lime juice.