Yesterday was my Mom’s and my Aunt’s birthday. They are identical twins who are both very successful and are role models of mine. Though my Mom lives close to me in Southern California and my aunt lives in the Philippines, they sometimes see each other at family events (last time was at my wedding!) or when my aunt visits us. Since they are twins, It’s cute to see them together and it’s fun to joke and laugh with them.
Like many Asian cultures, we also celebrate birthdays with a noodle dish to represent a long life. In the Philippines, we have pancit for birthdays and also for special occasions where we feast with lots of food. When we cannot all be together to celebrate, we still have pancit, or at least some type of noodles.
To celebrate their birthday, I made a dish called “ya mein”. I don’t know exactly how to spell it and couldn’t find anything when searching on google, so I just have to go with that. I first had ya mein while staying at a friends house when we were in high school. She is Chinese and her mom made the very tasty noodle dish that I had to learn more about. My friend told me that her mom cooked some angel-hair pasta, but also that spaghetti could be used as the noodles. It was stir fried a little bit with a sauce made out of soy sauce, salt & pepper, peanut butter, and some sesame oil. Very simple! Only six ingredients! Shortly after I first tried the dish, I made it at home. My mom really enjoyed it and still asks me to make it at times.
For the birthday twins, I made a ya mein with some Philippine influence by adding some vegetables and sahog (protein ingredients). I stir-fried onion, garlic, carrots, leeks, and a seafood mix (available in the frozen section) as the sahog. The result was a seafood ya mein similar to pancit. Though it may seem that a peanut sauce with seafood would be odd, the flavors really came together in this dish.
Seafood and Vegetable Ya Mein (stir-fried peanut noodles)
- 8 oz. angel hair pasta or spaghetti, cooked (I used gluten-free pasta)
- Dash of cooking oil (use your favorite)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced onions-in thin strips
- half a leek, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Seafood mix, if frozen, thaw it
- 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon peanut butter (I used powdered PB2 peanut butter)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Whisk peanut sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.
- In a saute pan, heat some oil on medium, then cook the seafood mix for about 5 minutes when seafood start to curl, but still tender . Season with salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In another pan, heat some oil on medium and once it is hot enough sauté the garlic and onion until soft. Add the carrots and stir-fry until slightly tender (still want some crunch). Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add leeks, cooked noodles and stir fry for a minute more.
- After you stir-fry the noodles and veggies, turn the heat off and mix in the peanut sauce. If you find that you want more soy sauce, you can add that now too. Put the cooked seafood on top of the noodles and serve!
To my mom and my aunt, I hope you enjoy this birthday dish to you!