Make Ahead

Spicy State Fair Fried Noodles

August 11, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 2 generously, 4 as part of a meal
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • For the spicy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon kochujang (Korean chili pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon wheat free tamari
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • For the fried noodles
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 French breakfast radishes, ends trimmed, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into 1 ½ inch lengths and then cut into matchsticks
  • 4 leaves of Napa cabbage, ends trimmed, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 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)
  • 1 package (5.5 ounces) fully cooked Yakisoba noodles (I use Sun Noodle brand – check your Japanese market in the refrigerated or frozen section)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • Shichimi togarashi for sprinkling on top
  1. For the spicy sauce
  2. Place ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
  1. For the fried noodles
  2. Spin all of your washed and cut vegetables in a salad spinner to get them as dry as possible. Set near your stove.
  3. 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.
  4. Add noodles and toss, to get them loose and incorporated into the mixture.
  5. 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.
  6. Remove wok from heat. Add sliced green onions. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with shichimi togarashi, if desired. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lapadia
  • mrslarkin
  • wssmom
  • cookinginvictoria
  • Lizthechef

Recipe by: gingerroot

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.

27 Reviews

lapadia August 16, 2011
A sumptuous feast, gingerroot!
gingerroot August 17, 2011
Thanks so much, lapadia!!
mrslarkin August 15, 2011
i would love a big ol' bowl of this right now.
gingerroot August 16, 2011
Wish I could send you a big bowl right now! Thanks, mrslarkin! xx
wssmom August 14, 2011
I want to come to this fair!!!
gingerroot August 15, 2011
Thank you, wssmom! A food52 county fair tour might be interesting...though with creations like fried butter, also short-lived! Lol.
cookinginvictoria August 14, 2011
Yum -- these noodles sound and look really delicious. I wish Canadian country fairs sold these noodles, LOL. Love the fact that these are pretty much vegetarian. If I cannot source kochujang, is there an acceptable substitute? Sriricha or maybe Thai chile paste?
gingerroot August 15, 2011
Thanks cookinginvictoria! I think Hawaii might be starch heaven, with all the noodles and rice we consume, lol. I think sambal oelek and a touch of dark miso might make a good substitute if you cannot find kochujang.
Lizthechef August 14, 2011
Save me a place in line...Got my sticks in my back pocket - thumbs up! ps I will skip the fish sauce, knowing that less salt will still allow your recipe to shine.
gingerroot August 15, 2011
Thank you, Liz! I really appreciate your comment.
aargersi August 13, 2011
Love everything about this! Easy! Delicious! Healthy!
gingerroot August 15, 2011
Thanks so much, a!
EmilyC August 12, 2011
Yum! I'd definitely stand in line for a bowl of your fried noodles!
gingerroot August 13, 2011
Aw, thanks, EmilyC!
boulangere August 12, 2011
Aaaaah, fried noodles. I can practically taste your sauce right out off the screen.
gingerroot August 13, 2011
Thanks so much, boulangere! Scratch-n-taste screens would be the ultimate.
Sagegreen August 12, 2011
Thanks for this recipe!
gingerroot August 13, 2011
You're welcome, Sagegreen! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you try it.
TiggyBee August 11, 2011
I love your balance of flavors!! <3
gingerroot August 12, 2011
Thank you TiggyBee! Unbelievably, when I made the noodles with only agave, tamarind, kochujang and tamari, they tasted like they needed salt (and I'm not one to over salt my food by any means). The fish sauce and Worcestershire round out the other flavors.
hardlikearmour August 11, 2011
Yum, gingerroot! This sounds fabulous.
gingerroot August 12, 2011
Thanks, hardlikearmour! It is quite flavorful and relatively speaking, healthy fair fare (lol).
lorigoldsby August 11, 2011
I wish we had these at our state fair!
gingerroot August 12, 2011
Thanks, Lori! It really is a Hawaiian fair/carnival staple.
healthierkitchen August 11, 2011
Yum! sounds great! I recently bought a tub of kojuchang in anticipation of some experimentation. Look forward to making this!
gingerroot August 12, 2011
Thank you, healthierkitchen! Lately I have been reaching for the kochujang over the sriracha when in need of some spice – I really love how it has a rich, almost earthy flavor. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you try this.
healthierkitchen August 12, 2011
While at the Fancy Food Show earlier this summer, I tasted Annie Chun's Korean Sweet and Spicy Sauce. I think this homemade version will be much better!