If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant before you may be familiar with family meal. In our restaurants, family meal is always served between lunch and dinner shifts so the whole staff can eat together. Ideally family meals are filling, quick to make so they can still crank out food for diners, and makes use of things we already have on hand (or maybe need to use up soon). Additionally, since we are a melting pot of people, it’s important to me that everyone enjoys the hot meals that we provide. We always try to impress the trifecta of a successful employee meal onto our cooks: cheap, fast, and tasty.
Enter Makanai Noodles. Makanai means in-home in Japanese and some form of these noodles or other appear weekly and are always greeted enthusiastically. (Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t LOVE noodles?) This dish is packed with protein from eggs and beef which helps fuel everyone through a busy shift. Makanai Noodles are also super versatile. Want a vegetarian version? No problem, just substitute the beef for tofu or other vegetables and use vegetable stock in place of chicken. Have some ground turkey or leftover roast chicken that needs to be used up? Awesome, that will be a delicious variation. As much as our staff loves them, these noodles are a favorite for the cook too; easy and fast to prepare so let’s get into it!
I start making Makanai Noodles by soaking the noodles. They need to soak in cool water until they are pliable, which takes about 20 minutes. Today, I’m using a type of Japanese noodle called Malony. They are made from potato starch, which means they are gluten free. Sometimes, they are marketed as glass noodles and they have a delightful chewy, bouncy texture. You can substitute rice noodles, sweet potato noodles (like for japchae), or bean thread noodles as well.
I like to put dry noodles in zip top bags for soaking. I can never find a bowl that can fit long strands so this trick allows for even soaking without having to fuss with positioning your dry noodles.
While the noodles are soaking, I prep everything else, starting with whipping up a very fast and deeply flavorful sauce. It may seem like it makes a lot, but the noodles really soak it up.
Once the sauce is done, I prep the veggies. Makanai Noodles is a stir fry dish which comes together very quickly when I start to cook, so I get every thing ready and within reach.
I wipe and slice the shiitake mushrooms, mince the garlic and ginger, and whisk the eggs.
Then I gather everything together by the stove so that once that cooking starts, it’s super fast and seamless.
Start by heating a pan until it’s good and hot and then adding the oil. Swirl the oil and pour the egg in. The egg should be cooked for only a minute because it will finish cooking with the noodles. You want soft, pillowy eggs that are not tough or rubbery because they are overcooked.
This dish yields a dry noodle so you should not have much liquid in the pan once the noodles are cooked. If you are using a different noodle than I am, you may need to cook them longer or you may find that there is still some liquid in the pan once the noodles are fully cooked. Tasting the noodle is the best way to know if it is cooked through. Taste a strand after the stated cooking time and if it has a core or tastes too firm, cook the noodles for several more minutes, adding a little extra water to the pan if needed. On the other hand, if you’re using very thin noodles, your pan may still have a good amount of liquid in the pan. Turn up the heat and stir regularly until the sauce has cooked down.
Now these delectable Makanai Noodles are ready to be served family style! Dig in and hope there’s enough for seconds.
I hope our restaurant’s family’s favorite noodles become a favorite in your house too. Let me know what you think, leave a comment on the recipe and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 3 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 8 ounces ground beef
- 7 ounces dried malony noodles
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 5 stems scallions, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch segments
- ½ large onion thinly sliced
- 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
- 4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 ounces chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Soak the noodles in a bowl of cool water for 20 minutes or until the noodles are pliant.
Make the sauce:
- Combine all sauce ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Make the noodles:
- Drain the noodles and set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Scramble the eggs with a fork or whisk.
- Heat a large skillet or wok pan over medium high heat for several minutes until the pan is hot and you see some wisps of smoke. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and add the egg, gently scrambling for a minute until the egg is half cooked. Transfer the egg to a plate.
- Add the remaining oil and swirl to coat the pan. Next add the ground beef and onions and let it sit untouched for a minute and then break it up with a spoon or chopsticks continuing to stir fry for another minute.
- Then add the minced ginger, and garlic and stir for a couple seconds.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms, the drained noodles, and the sauce.
- Stir fry for 5-7 minutes until the noodles have soaked up most of the sauce and are cooked through, but are still chewy and bouncy.
- Add the scallions and egg back into the noodles and cook for another minute until the scallions are wilted and the egg cooked. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Transfer the noodles to a platter and serve immediately.
*To make this gluten free, look for gluten free versions of soy, oyster, and hoisin sauces.
*You can substitute any protein for the ground beef and any leftover meat like roast chicken is fine too.
*You can use different noodles like rice, bean thread, or sweet potato as well, adjusting the cooking time depending on the thickness of the noodle. Increase the cooking time and add a little more water if you find the pan too dry and your noodles still firm. If you use very thin noodles and have too much liquid once the noodles are cooked, raise the heat and cook off some of the residual sauce.
*If you don’t have all three sauces (hoisin, oyster, and soy), you can use just 2 but one should be soy sauce. Double up on the other sauce.
*Store any leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or on the stove top for a several minutes on moderate heat until the noodles are hot and regain the original chewy texture.
Keywords: noodles, makanai, gluten free, eggs, beef, veggies