Aug 10, 2009

family recipes: fried noodles

Another project under my belt: veganizing family standards. As all vegans do. My grandmothers each had their own recipes that I cherished as a kid. So far I've veganized, like, two of them. That's all going to change.

At home, my parents did what they could. Neither of them were foodies nor did they know much about nutrition. My mother knew a little, but could only do so much. We ate instant ramen and Hamburger Helper, but God forbid we keep white bread in the house. We rarely kept candy or chips around because Mom opted for pretzels, fruit and peanut butter crackers. She did what she could. One of the few things she would make from scratch was my favorite of her mother's (my Oma) specialties. Fried noodles.

The gist of my Oma's fried noodles is this: Cooked macaroni and bits of bacon pan fried together with scrambled eggs in bacon grease. Don't let the bacon and eggs fool you, this is a dinner. As a vegan, thoughts of eggs and bacon make me feel pukey, but when I look back to my childhood I don't see eggs, bacon and noodles. I see Fried Noodles. One of my most challenging projects since going vegan (5 years ago) has been to veganize it.

The recipe here is really good and the closest I've gotten. Does it taste exactly like what everyone else in my family blindly enjoys? No. But it is delicious, cruelty free and more than enough to satisfy my cravings. Oh yeah....and it's AMAZING. Make it.

Fried Noodles:
(makes one big serving)
  • 2 rounded tablespoons bacon bits/tvp bacon bits/chopped up tempeh bacon
  • 4 oz tofu egg (recipe follows)
  • 2 oz (about 1/2 cup) dry macaroni (or bite size pasta), cooked
1. Pan fry "bacon" with the smallest amount of oil as possible. It's important to use little oil in this recipe because it can get greasy really fast. I use canola oil spray.
2. When bacon is almost browned, add the tofu egg. Add a little more oil* to give the tofu something to cook in, but remember: minimal oil!
3. When tofu is pretty golden, add pasta (and a little more oil if needed.) Pan fry until pasta is slighty browned.
4. Season with black salt (or sea salt) and lots of pepper.

* It seems like it would be easier to add enough oil in the begining to fry everything, but it's really not. It gets really greasy that way. With this way, you can control the oil. It doesn't take but 30 seconds or so to heat up as it's such a small amount of oil that you're adding at a time.

Tofu Egg:
(slightly modified from Native Foods Cookbook)
  • 4 oz firm tofu, lightly pressed and crumbled
  • 2 pinches tumeric
  • 1 generous pinch black salt (Kala Namak*) or sea salt if you don't have black salt
1. Gently add tumeric and black salt to tofu. Save until ready to pan fry.

* The black salt really takes this dish from awesome to REALLY REALLY awesome. Regular salt is fine and still good. It just won't have that eggy, sulfury taste.