Visit any fair or carnival in Hawaii and the longest line is often at the fried noodle booth. Fried noodles are a beloved favorite; dressed in a flavorful sauce, they are filled with fresh vegetables and or meat, and hot from the wok, irresistible. Fried noodle recipes are varied and it is not a stretch to imagine that every household on the island has their favorite. This is my interpretation of fried noodles, including two ingredients I have been using a lot lately, tamarind paste and kochujang. I’ve found that tamarind paste adds a sour-sweet note that enhances soy based sauces. Kochujang adds heat, but in a rich, earthy way. It may seem like there are many vegetables in proportion to the noodles, but they cook down quite a bit, while the noodles seem to expand, as they are heated and loosened. I did not include meat, although feel free to add 8 ounces of lean chicken or pork if desired. A note on traditional fried noodles: One ingredient that you will usually find in Hawaiian fried noodles is kamaboko, the pink and white fishcake. I have never cared for kamaboko and so left it out (subbed matchsticks of French breakfast radishes). However, if you are a fishcake fan, by all means, add it in. This can also be made vegetarian by replacing the fish sauce with more tamari - start with 1/2 teaspoon more tamari and add to taste. —gingerroot
2 generously, 4 as part of a meal
For the spicy sauce
kochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)
wheat free tamari
For the fried noodles
French breakfast radishes, ends trimmed, cut into matchsticks
medium carrot, peeled, cut into 1 ½ inch lengths and then cut into matchsticks
leaves of Napa cabbage, ends trimmed, thinly sliced crosswise
stalk celery, trimmed, thinly sliced on the bias
2 1/2 ounces
mung bean sprouts
1 1/2- 2 ounces
aburage (deep fried bean curd), cut into thin slices and then halved (I used two pieces)
package (5.5 ounces) fully cooked Yakisoba noodles (I use Sun Noodle brand – check your Japanese market in the refrigerated or frozen section)
Place ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
For the fried noodles
Spin all of your washed and cut vegetables in a salad spinner to get them as dry as possible. Set near your stove.
Place a wok on the stove and crank up the heat. You want it almost to the point of smoking. Add sesame oil. When the oil is glistening and you can smell it, with one hand begin to add vegetables by the handful, using your other hand to stir (I use long cooking chopsticks for this) and toss the vegetables as you add them. Continue until you have added all your vegetables. Toss and cook until cabbage and bean sprouts begin to wilt.
Add noodles and toss, to get them loose and incorporated into the mixture.
Add spicy sauce. Continue to cook; toss and stir until noodles are evenly coated and combined with the vegetables, and mixture is hot, a few minutes more.
Remove wok from heat. Add sliced green onions. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with shichimi togarashi, if desired. Enjoy!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.