Hi folks! Sorry for my long absence – I was out-of-state with no access to a decent camera or lap top, so haven’t been able to post. I travelled to two of the farthest points of our country over the past few weeks – from Hawaii to Georgia. I have some material from my recent trip to Hawaii that I need to get to once I get my photos in order. Don’t have too much to offer from Georgia, but if you ever find yourself in Brunswick (about an hour north of the Florida border), craving some authentic Japanese food, you’ll find it in the most unlikely place … a little restaurant in a strip mall near a Goodwill store, called Kyoto Express. The verdict is in – this place could pass as a local Japanese take-out place in Hawaii. Try the teriyaki chicken bowl – at under $5 a pop, you can’t go wrong.
While travel is good sometimes to break the monotony of daily life, don’t you find that, once you get home, what you really feel like eating is something so obviously homemade? Something you simply could not get at a restaurant even if you paid extra for it? It was for precisely this reason that I whipped up a batch of fried saimin this past Sunday night. When I was in intermediate school (“middle school” as they say in California), a lunch truck pulled up to the parking lot near the basketball courts each morning to sell every snack a young teenager could imagine. But the hands-down favorite that most of the student-patrons walked away with? Fried saimin.
For the uninitiated, fried saimin is just that … a little bit of meat, vegetables, and seasonings, fried up with al dente saimin (a kind of ramen) noodles. As you probably know, if you’ve been following this blog for some time, I’m all for the easy way of cooking things – particularly if it’s a weeknight meal. This is a recipe for easy fried saimin from my Grandma B. It’s perfect for using up leftovers. Also, if you wind up with extra chopped yellow or green onions, store them in a Ziploc in the freezer for next time. The quantities below are by no means hard and fast rules – use as much or as little as you like, depending on your own personal taste.
Easy Fried Saimin (serves two)
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced on the diagonal (no need to peel the celery)
1 carrot, grated
1 can of Spam, sliced into short strips
2 packages of your favorite brand of instant saimin (Grandma B. and I like the Sapporo brand, shrimp-flavor)
1 block of kamaboko (fish cake) (optional)
2 stalks of green onion, chopped
vegetable oil for pan-frying
2. First, slice the Spam lengthwise, then cut them into smaller pieces like this:
4. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add the dried blocks of saimin. Warning: do not cook the saimin for the full three minutes! You will end up with fried saimin that is dreadfully soggy. Instead, cook the dried noodles just until they start to become pliable and separate. Drain well. Reserve the seasoning packets.
5. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium saute pan. Pan fry the yellow onions, celery, and grated carrots until the onions start to turn translucent, about five minutes.
6. Add the Spam to the sauce pan, and fry until heated through. Repeat with the kamaboko.
7. Add the drained saimin noodles, plus the seasoning packets, and continue to cook for a few more minutes, tossing everything together with a set of tongs.
P.S. What’s the perfect dessert to finish off a bowl of fried saimin? Why, matcha Kit Kats, of course! Many thanks once again to my cousin J who brought us back a sack full of jumbo-sized matcha Kit Kats direct from Japan!
AboutI like Zip mins, spam musubi, and the butterfish misoyaki at The Cal. I've never been a fan of the loco moco but, now that I'm 3000 miles from my hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii, nearly everything from the islands makes me salivate. I currently live (and cook) in the San Francisco bay area, and have inevitably fallen in with "buying local" and organically-grown foods. I enjoy recreating the foods I grew up with - recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation in my family. And, as a working home cook, I try to prepare a lot of fast and healthful meals. Part recipe book, part cultural memoire, and travel journal, here is where I document all of my gastronomical experiences. I think of my kitchen as a blend of past and present, and I believe that where we call home is what we serve on our plates.