The Famous Garlic Noodles recipe at Crustacean in Beverly Hills has been a heavily guarded secret for nearly 20 years. In fact, the dish is made every day behind closed doors, in a separate “secret” kitchen off the main kitchen. Many people, including famous celebrities, have requested access to the secret kitchen, but they all have been denied. Much like the secret formula for Coca-Cola or KFC’s original recipe of 11 herbs and spices, the recipe lives with a select few. In my opinion, the noodles are good, but the reason they’re “famous” is because of the intrigue surrounding the recipe, one which has become coveted by many. In fact, search the internet and you will find dozens of copycat versions of the dish, proving once again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Today I am adding my version to the group of imitators, which I created years ago for a friend. It may not be exactly the same, but it’s pretty darn tasty. Enjoy!
Garlic Noodles with Sautéed Shrimp
Serving size: 4 with other side dishes
1 package of Hakubaku organic wheat ramen noodles (9.5 ounces) or 12 ounces of fresh chow mein noodles
½ stick of unsalted butter
5 large garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce (Three Crabs or Red Boat brand)
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster-flavored sauce)
½ tablespoon of Maggi or thick soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
12 ounces of sautéed shrimp or 8 oz of sliced extra firm tofu
¼ cup of chopped scallions
Freshly grated black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped cilantro (optional)
1. Cook noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes (or 1 minute if using using fresh noodles).
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients and remove from heat. Set aside.
3. Once the noodles are cooked, drain but don’t rinse and reserve ¼ cup of the water. (If using fresh noodles, drain in cold water.)
4. Heat a large wok to medium heat. Add 3/4 of the garlic sauce. Add the noodles, scallions, cooked shrimp, and a few turns of the black pepper mill. Add a few drops of the reserved water to loosen noodles. Taste to see if you need the remainding garlic sauce.
5. Add the Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
6. Remove from heat. Divide noodles among 4 bowls and top with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
Sautéed Shrimp Recipe
12 ounces of large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 tablespoons of neutral oil (sunflower or vegetable)
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
½ teaspoon of paprika
½ teaspoon of salt
1. Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
2. Remove from the refrigerator.
3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat with oil. Add the entire shrimp mixture at once.
4. Sauté shrimp for roughly 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from heat. Set aside until ready to use.