I know we started off the last post with a story, but look, we’ve got another one for you. This one has its origins in Miami, taking place around late February, 2019 (for you future readers out there) when Kim and I were in Florida for a short tour with our good friend Dré Tamashi. Naturally, no trip to Miami would be complete without a visit to Wynwood, and no visit to Wynwood would be complete without exploring Miami’s all-Asian food hall, 1-800 Lucky.
While there was an abundance of options, we decided upon a poke bowl and some Thai noodle dish we’d never heard of before. The poke was great, but you know, it was poke—sticky rice, pickled vegetables, seared tofu, citrusy sauce, and all the usual suspects were there. What really had us shook was the Thai dish, which was savory, spicy, a little sweet, and bursting with umami. Angel hair rice noodles were tossed with some sort of garlicky black bean sauce, fried tofu, and broccolini, creating a bowl of noodles so unique and satisfying that we had to have more of it.
After scouring the web, looking for a menu on their Yelp page, and searching for a similar dish at other Thai restaurants, we found nothing. Our only idea of those heavenly noodles remained with our memories of Miami, but hey, that was good enough for us. If it’s something less people have had than Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, even better for us.
Although these noodz are different from other popular Thai noodles, they contain similar aspects: umami, heat, acid, earthiness, freshness, and a variety of textural elements. The star of this dish comes in the form of a thick, slightly lumpy, and extremely salty sauce known as black bean sauce. And before you immediately think of refried beans, Chinese black bean sauce is actually made from salted and fermented black soy beans, which lends a deep and complex umami flavor. It may sound exotic, but it can be found in most Asian markets for less than three dollars! Pro tip: if they carry a black bean sauce with garlic, that’s the one you want.
All in all, this dish is:
- Deep, balanced, fresh, and savory
- Tender, chewy, and crisp
- Easy, cheap, and only takes 30 minutes!
- Thai-Chinese fusion
- Vegan and gluten-free
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When in Miami, Seek Noodz
Thai Angel Hair Vermicelli with Savory Black Bean Garlic Sauce, Crispy Vegan Beef, and Roasted Peanuts (vegan & gf)
Tender, thin rice vermicelli in a pungent, salty, lightly acidic, and subtly sweet sauce tossed with garlic oil, cilantro, scallions, and vegan beef. Served with crushed peanuts, fried garlic, crisp bean sprouts, and fresh lime.
- 7 oz thin rice vermicelli (mai fun noodles)
- 6 medium cloves of garlic, roughly minced
- 5 oz vegan beef, cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 scallions, cut on the bias
- 2 tbsps roughly chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsps vegetable oil
- 2 tbsps toasted sesame oil
- 3 tbsps black bean sauce
- 1 ½ tbsps light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp chilis from chili oil, mostly drained
- 2 tbsps roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
- handful of bean sprouts
- lime wedges
- In a small bowl, stir together all of the sauce ingredients until mostly smooth. Set aside.
- Place rice noodles in a large bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Cook for 2 minutes (no more, no less). Use chopsticks to help submerge and stir them.
- After 2 minutes, drain out hot water and replace with cold water. Pour out water again and repeat until water comes out cold, ensuring the noodles have cooled down completely. Keep in bowl – without water – until ready to use.
- Heat a wok over medium heat with vegetable and sesame oil. Once oil’s shimmering, add in garlic and cook until lightly browned around the edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer as much of the garlic as you can to a small plate; 2-3 minutes. Set aside for now.
- Boost heat to high and add in beef pieces. Cook until golden brown on a few sides and lightly crispy; 3-4 minutes.
- While beef cooks, mix together peanuts and fried garlic. Set aside.
- Add in half the noodles, half the sauce, half the cilantro, and half the scallions. Toss a few times to lightly combine, then add in the rest of the noodles, sauce, cilantro, and scallions.
- To avoid breaking apart the noodles, don’t attempt to stir them up using a spoon or chopsticks. Stick with tossing for the best results. Also don’t worry about evenly incorporating the sauce; one minute of tossing will incorporate everything just enough.
- Distribute between two bowls and serve with peanut garlic mixture, some scallion slices, small handful of bean sprouts, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy while fresh!