These Cantonese noodles with mushrooms and ham from Grace Young contain noodles, shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ham.

Mama often makes this noodle dish for lunch. The Cantonese like using spare amounts of Smithfield ham; its flavor resembles that of a famous ham from Yunnan province in China. But for such a small amount, I use prosciutto to save time.–Grace Young


These Cantonese noodles stir-fried with shiitakes, soy sauce, and sesame oil are umami at its weeknight best.

A bowl of Cantonese noodles with mushrooms and ham topped with cilantro.

Cantonese Noodles with Mushrooms and Ham

5 / 2 votes
Rice noodles are quickly stir-fried with shiitakes, soy sauce, and sesame oil. An easy, satisfying weeknight meal.
Servings4 servings
Calories340 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes


  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 ounces flat dried rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded ginger
  • 8 ounces (about 4 cups) mung bean sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 ounces prosciutto julienned
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • 3/4 cup cold water


  • In a shallow bowl, soak the mushrooms in the cold water until softened, about 30 minutes. Soak the noodles in a bowl with enough warm water to cover until they’re soft and pliable, about 20 minutes.
  • Drain and squeeze the mushrooms dry, reserving the soaking liquid. Cut off and discard the stems and thinly slice the caps. Drain the noodles. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the vegetable oil, add the ginger, and stir-fry 10 seconds. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the sugar and stir-fry for 1 minute or until the sprouts are cooked but still crisp. Transfer to a shallow bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 2 teaspoons soy sauce.
  • Add 1/2 cup reserved mushroom soaking liquid, the remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the unwashed wok. Add the rice noodles and warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the noodles are just tender. Add the bean sprout mixture and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir-fry 1 minute until combined. Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with the shredded ham, scallion, and cilantro.
Breath of a Wok

Adapted From

Breath of a Wok

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 340 kcalCarbohydrates: 53 gProtein: 6 gFat: 12 gSaturated Fat: 5 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 9 mgSodium: 910 mgPotassium: 175 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 3 gVitamin A: 47 IUVitamin C: 8 mgCalcium: 23 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe © 2004 Grace Young. Photo © 2004 Alan Richardson. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

After eating Grace Young’s Cantonese Noodles with Mushrooms and Ham, my umami cravings were sated. I sometimes find it difficult to find good recipes using dried shiitakes, so I was pleased to find this.

We really enjoyed the crunch of the bean sprouts which, for some reason, are often absent from my grocery stores, so it was a treat. Though I regularly use mushroom “stock” in other things, I had not done so in a stir fry. It was a revelation.

The prosciutto was an interesting addition, too. In spite of the ginger, my first few bites were a little lackluster. The more I got into it, the more likable it became. By the end I was sad it was all over. My husband, finding it a bit dull, stirred in a bit of Sriracha sauce, which he exclaimed to really add more flavor.

However, next time I would be tempted to add more vegetables and a touch more sugar. The dish was simple and honest and had just the right amount of slurpiness factor to be satisfying.

I love how this dish met all my noodle cravings as well as an entirely satisfying balance of delicate ingredients and the lightness of a moist method that was just enough- enough salt, enough sauce, enough complexity, and the mushrooms were perfectly tender. I also was thrilled to have the rice noodles turn out just right – maybe the best result I have ever had. This all comes together in under an hour, making every bit of effort to assemble your mise en place worthwhile.

It was worth making sure I had the freshest mung beans I could find, bought the same afternoon, and the first thing I prep, so they could be well rinsed and drained (and you could pat them dry if necessary). Recently I have been choosing dried shiitake caps (no stems), and these were a bit smaller than I have seen before, so I added an extra one to make up for the bulk the stems would add to making broth, and the size of the caps. There was just over a half cup of soaking liquid, so I set aside the extra “just in case” (not needed after all).

To soak the noodles, I chose a long rectangular container which was about the same length as the folded dry noodles, and they were well covered in about 1 liter of warm water. Pliable but not completely soft after 25 minutes, I drained them, knowing they would get some additional time with liquid in the wok.

The whole dish was pretty much spot on to the recipe timing, and the only thing I was pondering after enjoying it was how much I wish I had some precious double smoked ham, or whether it would be fun to try some Jamón Ibérico or Serrano. I am pretty sure the answer will be YES! This is a delicate, Cantonese recipe, so there is not any ‘heat’ in the dish other than the ginger, and it was perfect for me (tho I will not fault anyone who can’t resist a bit of chile crisp or some special soy sauce at the table).

I found it difficult to find shiitake mushrooms, but they were worth the postage and packing. The instructions were good on how to rehydrate them, as the stalks remained quite hard and were best discarded.

The finished dish was easy to cook and had a fresh flavour from the grated ginger and the meaty mushrooms. I felt that this was a good overall method, although I wondered if the finished dish might lack sauce for most people’s tastes. If this was the case then a small amount of bought sauce could be folded through the finshed dish near the end of cooking.

I would make these again and feel like I have gained a cooking skill in preparing the shiitake mushrooms.

Originally published October 18, 2004

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious, very nice. I added some snow peas for color with the bean sprouts, just nice and simple. Thanks!