Good noodles needed for excellent fried saimin
POSTED: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Fried saimin is the Hawaii cousin of Japanese yakisoba, and a second cousin once removed of Chinese chow mein.
All these dishes involve stir-frying noodles in a toss-up with vegetables, sliced meats, seasonings and a bit of oil. They are quick, weeknight meals of eminent flexibility: Use whatever veggies or proteins you have on hand. As with fried rice, the recipe is a moving target. Familiarize yourself with the seasonings and the basic cooking technique, buy the right noodles—the rest is up to you.
"I am looking for a good/excellent fried saimin recipe," wrote Ann Loo. "I have been hunting through local cookbooks and the Internet, and haven't really found anything."
To make good/excellent fried saimin, start with, of course, saimin noodles. This basically means the made-in-Hawaii brands of S&S (normally sold frozen) or Sun Noodle (fresh), both of which come with their own packets of dry seasoning. You use those seasoning packets to flavor the dish. This might seem like cheating and like I'm not really giving you a recipe, but if it tastes good, fills you up and makes for wholesome eating (use plenty of vegetables), why argue?
Now, if you live in a part of the world where saimin noodles aren't easy to find, substitute 1 pound chow mein noodles, preferably fresh, and use a mix of 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon oyster sauce to replace the packaged seasonings. It might not be good/excellent, however.
5 4-1/2 ounce packages fresh or frozen saimin noodles
Seasoning packets from saimin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, cut in thin strips
2 stalks celery, cut in thin strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 8-ounce package bean sprouts
4 large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water, squeezed dry and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup thinly sliced char siu (see note)
Sliced green onion, for garnish
If noodles are frozen, add to pot of boiling water, stirring for about 30 seconds to separate the strands. Do not let water return to boil. If noodles are fresh, run under hot water to rinse off extra starch. In either case, let noodles drain well. Reserve seasoning packets.
Place vegetable oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, carrot and celery. Stir-fry about 2 minutes, then sprinkle with contents of 1 seasoning packet. Toss.
Add onion and another seasoning packet. Stir-fry 2 more minutes. Add bean sprouts and mushrooms, plus a third seasoning packet. Stir-fry until well mixed. Remove vegetables to a serving platter.
Heat sesame oil in pan. Add noodles and sprinkle with contents of 1 or both of the remaining seasoning packets. Toss well. Add vegetables in batches to noodles, tossing to mix between additions. Turn everything onto serving platter. Top with char siu and green onion. Serves 8.
Note: Other sliced meats may be substituted for char siu, such as thinly sliced Spam, ham, kamaboko (Japanese fish cake) or any combination. If using Spam, cook along with carrots at the beginning of the process.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving, using all seasoning packets and char siu: 230 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1,000 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 9 g protein