Chinese Five Spice Vegetable Noodles

'Five Spice' is a seasoning regularly used in Chinese food. It should be available in most supermarkets (and some health food stores), just ensure it contains only spices, not additives. This recipe is very versatile and you can add almost any vegetable to it and still tastes nice. It is one of my favourite "clean out the vegetable shelf in the fridge" recipe.

Note that the preparation takes a while as you will need to slice and dice quite a bit. I often make this recipe on a Saturday or Sunday evening when I might have some time to myself. To save time you can prepare the vegetables the day before. Keep the vegetables in separate containers in the fridge and ensure they are well covered.

I prefer to use a wok to stir fry the vegetables although a large frying pan will do.

Great noodles with a distinctive taste

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Nut free but includes seeds/oils from seeds
  • Vegan

Chinese Five Spice Vegetable Noodles

Serves 3-4


  • 225 grams (7¾ oz) flat rice noodles (or any other noodles you prefer)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced very finely like matchsticks
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced very finely like matchsticks
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced very finely like matchsticks
  • 2 courgettes, thinly sliced (like large coins)
  • 1 chilli (red), chopped very finely
  • 3 spring onions, cut in small diagonals
  • A small piece fresh ginger (similar to a large grape in size), chopped very finely
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped very finely
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and boil the 225 grams noodles according to instructions on the packet. Drain the noodles and place under cold, running water for 10 seconds. Drain and set aside.
  2. Note: Before preparing the vegetables ensure you have plenty of containers or bowls for keeping the vegetables separate. About 8 small containers/bowls will do.
  3. Peel the 2 carrots and slice very finely (like matchsticks).
  4. Slice the celery stalk very finely (like matchsticks).
  5. Cut off the leafy fronts of the fennel bulbs. Trim off the green shoot by cutting diagonally to make a V-shape. Then slice off the root part at the other end, keeping the bulb intact, and remove any tough or brown outer layers. Slice across each bulb to cut it in half. Then slice very finely (like matchsticks).
  6. Halve the chilli, remove the seeds and membranes and chop finely. You might want to use plastic gloves if you have sensitive skin.
  7. Wipe each courgette, trim off the ends and cut into halves. Then slice into fairly thin slices (like coins).
  8. Cut the 3 spring onions in small diagonals. Discard the very ends of the onions.
  9. Peel the small piece ginger and chop very finely or grate.
  10. Peel the garlic clove and chop very finely.
  11. Place the vegetables nearby your wok (or large frying pan).
  12. Heat the ½ tablespoon coconut oil in the wok or frying pan until it is very hot.
  13. Add the ginger, chilli and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Ensure you stir the pan around the whole time so it won't burn.
  14. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon coconut oil to the pan and add the spring onions. Heat for 1 minute and stir the pan around often.
  15. Add the celery stalk, carrots and fennel. Heat for 2 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons water if you need to the pan (instead of more oil).
  16. Add the courgettes and heat for 1 minute.
  17. Add the ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder.
  18. Add the noodles and heat everything for two minutes, giving the pan a good stir.
  19. Add the 1 tablespoon sesame oil.
  20. Serve with chopsticks (of course forks will do just fine as well).


  • You can use other ingredients such as bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, green peas, water chestnuts and so on instead of the ones listed.    
  • If the coconut oil is cold (in which case it becomes solid), place the jar in a bowl filled with hot water for a couple of minutes.