Garlic Noodles are an oft written about Asian noodle dish. It is a simple noodle dish, just noodles enrobed in a shiny, brown soy sauce dressing with some garlic. What is the big deal?
Garlic Noodle Folklore
In San Francisco, these noodles gained a near cult status from, Crustacean, a Euro-Asian fusion restaurant, that accompanies them with a whole Dungeness crab. The recipe for their garlic noodles has never been revealed, and the restaurant has kept it to near trade secret status.
Recipes for garlic noodles abound on the internet, but this one gives you a little more to chew on by adding green garlic.
What is Green Garlic?
It is the younger, milder version of garlic before it erupts into a fully shaped bulb. Think Joe Biden in his 20s before he became the aged senator and ex-VP as we mostly have seen him. Garlic in its prime so to speak.
Green garlic comes with tender green stalks that look almost like a skinny leek. It is available in early spring and a harbinger of the asparagus, peas, and fava bean harvest to follow.
Look for bright green stalks. The green garlic shown in the picture is a little past its prime with its wilted leaves, but we’re happy to have found it nonetheless.
Because it is a rather gentle and mild form of garlic, this recipe stir-fries the noodles with just dark soy sauce, brown sugar, and a hit of grass-fed butter.
A whole steamed Dungeness crab on top is optional if you need some protein or want to emulate the Crustacean dish.
Step 1: Boil noodles
Cook according to the package. Ideally, they would be a fresh Chinese chow mein type noodles rather than dried Italian spaghetti. Use what you can find.
Pictured at the top of the post are fresh Shanghai noodles sourced from 99 Ranch Market in CA.
While the water pot is boiling, you can prep the green garlic.
Step 2: Chop green garlic
Snip of the root end and slice 1/4 to a 1/2″ thick on the bias. You will just use the bottom 2/3 of the stalk.
Step 3: Drain noodles and make sauce
A non-stick pan works best, and if you boiled the noodles in a large non-stick wok or cooking pot, you can use the same one after the noodles have been drained.
Heat the pan to medium heat and stir-fry the green garlic with butter, preferably grass-fed for its additional health benefits. Cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. If it’s too hot, the butter may brown, and that’s not quite the same sauce we’re looking for.
Add the noodles back to the pan, along with dark soy sauce and sugar. The dark soy sauce is key to the recipe because it will make the sauce a bit thicker. If you don’t have it, regular soy saue can be used.
Stir for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are heated through and the sauce is evenly distributed.
Step 4: Serve
Serve hot from the pan, and perhaps with wine like any good pasta dish?
Biographie Cotes du Rhone, France ($15)
55% Grenach, 35% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre
This certified organic wine, from Paul Jaboulet Aine, has a horse on the label that represents the actual horse is used to plow many of the vineyards. Aged in stainless steel tanks for 9 months, it displays freshness from the Syrah and a relatively light character.
The soy sauce in the garlic noodles calls for a wine that is heavier than a white. This balanced red wine with notes of white pepper and bright red fruit answers the green-garlic-noodle-pairing challenge with aplomb.
Whether you drink it with wine or not, do try adding some green garlic to your life if you see it.
Green Garlic Noodles
- 1 lb fresh Chinese noodles Shanghai noodles preferred
- 5 stalks green garlic
- 1/4 c grassfed butter
- 1/4 c dark soy sauce
- 3 TB brown sugar
- Cook Shanghai noodles or other noodles according to instructions.
- Wash and slice green garlic on the bias. Discard leafy stalks up top.
- Heat butter over a medium high heat. Saute green garlic until beginning to turn translucent 3-4 minutes.
- Add cooked noodles. soy sauce, and sugar. Cook until noodles are heated through another 2-3 minutes.
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