If you’re a regular around here, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m Filipino. I’m assuming all the Filipino inspired recipes have probably tipped you off by now. What you may not have caught is that I’m also part Chinese.
Pause for dramatic effect.
Yeah, you really don’t care, huh?
Anyway, my grandfather is Chinese, but while I am part Chinese, I wasn’t raised with a lot of the traditions or home cooked food that a Chinese heritage would normally include. Tiger Dad? Now that I did have. 😉
We lived continents away from the rest of my Chinese family, while my mom’s (Filipino) family was 5-10 minutes away. As a child surrounded mostly by my Filipino relatives I didn’t really appreciate the Chinese side of my heritage. As I grew older I regretted not learning more about my dad’s culture or my grandfather’s recipes. I’m told that he was a great cook, but no one learned his recipes before he passed.
As an adult, I noticed that I immediately gravitate towards anything labeled Hokkien or Fujian (my grandfather’s province). If Hokkien xyz is on a menu, I’m ordering it. I guess it’s my way of learning more about my grandfather’s culture now that he’s not around.
One day while at the Asian market I saw a big pack of instant noodles that said “Fujian” on the label. I had no idea what it was because the rest of the label was in Chinese characters, but I bought it. Crazy, right? I had no idea what I was buying, but just because it had my grandfather’s province name on it, I bought it…and I cooked it…and I gave it to my kids…and they loved it!
Even though I couldn’t read the labels, I was easily able to figure out the ingredients just by tasting the packets included with the noodles (there were no flavored powders, if you were wondering) – soy sauce, sesame oil, chives, chili oil (which I don’t add to my girls’ servings) and the mildest peanut butter I’ve ever tasted. It was so mild that I could barely tell it was peanut butter.
The problem was, I had no idea what it was called. I googled around “Fujian noodles” and came up with Hokkien mee, which I was familiar with and knew this wasn’t. My Taiwanese friend told me about a dish her mom makes that they call dan dan mien. Googling it brought up a completely different dish (a spicy pork noodle), but what she described was a lot closer to what I was looking for.
Then one day, I found it. Ban mian – Fujian street noodles. Street food is always simple but delicious, and that’s what these noodles are. They’re super quick to throw together, so they make an awesome weeknight meal. I’ve switched out the peanut butter for sesame paste (can easily be found in Asian stores or you can use tahini) and the soy for coconut aminos. The coconut aminos add a bit of sweetness that makes this dish even yummier than the original (granted, the original was instant :P).
Don’t have a spiralizer? Try the sauce with your favorite noodles or even my almond flour pasta!
- 3 medium zucchinis
- ¼ cup sesame paste or tahini
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup coconut aminos*
- salt to taste (about 1-2 tsp)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- green onion, sliced thinly
- hot sauce or chili oil (optional)
- Combine the sesame paste, sesame oil, vinegar, coconut aminos, salt, garlic and hot sauce (if using) in a bowl. Mix well.
- Spiralize or julienne peel the zucchini into "noodles"
- Place zucchini noodles in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until al dente in texture, about 5 minutes.
- Pour sesame sauce over noodles and garnish with green onion.
Do you have any recipes from your ancestors? I love to hear how heritage can be passed down through food.
So I’m guessing you like noodles…