I’ve been testing this recipe non stop for a couple weeks and finally came to a final product that I’m obsessed with. After about 8 tries, these noodles are finally on par with how I remember them. These noodles are inspired by an old sushi spot back in my hometown, Corpus Christi. My friends and I would frequent Sushi Bar in high school and always order the ninja noodles. What are they exactly? It’s a cold noodle dish with spicy mayo, crab, herbs, mango, avo and a few other things. It’s such a simple dish but it’s also so unique and holds my heart in such a special way. It’s the perfect appetizer or light meal.
I’ve oddly been dreading writing this post. Mainly because I knew it would involve a lot of typing and be super time consuming lol. Also, because this isn’t a super straightforward dish. Yes it’s simple, but in order for it to be impressive you have to get all the elements right. Below I’ve listed some of my tips when preparing these noodles. Please read them and take them into consideration before starting this recipe.
TIP #1: The type of noodle matters
The few things I noticed while testing this recipe is that it’s all about the noodles. You’ll want to use a vermicelli rice noodle. I tried multiple noodles and none of them measured up to the vermicelli rice noodle. Unfortunately this type of noodle isn’t super easy to find in your average grocery store. I find mine at the Buford highway farmers market here in Atlanta, which is a huge international market that holds pretty much anything you’d desire. You can also probably find them at smaller asian markets and amazon. I found a few links on amazon that would work. I’ll link them below. Just remember that the noodle is the most important part and it will not taste the same if you substitute a different kind. Another thing to take into consideration is how the noodle is cooked. Be sure to cook the noodle according to the package. Do not over cook it and do not undercook it. It’s a very fine line but it makes a huge difference in the texture. Over cooked noodles are too mushy and under cooked noodles are hard to chew. Just be mindful of these few things when handling the noodle portion of this recipe!
Vermicelli Rice Noodles – Amazon
TIP #2: Be mindful of slicing and dicing
The way you use your knife matters. You don’t want huge chunks of mango and avocado. You want them to be 1/2 -1 inch chunks so that they incorporate with the noodles well. Texture is so important in food and that is sometimes unknown or forgotten by many. So be sure to take your time to cut everything to proper size so that the texture is on point!
Another item that needs to be prepared properly? The imitation crab stick. Do not buy the chunks, you must buy the sticks and shred it into long noodle like pieces. This is going to take some time but it’s worth it in the end. This way the noodles and the crab are similar in shape and can flow together when mixed.
TIP #3: Don’t skimp on the spicy mayo
If spicy mayo isn’t your thing, this might not be your dish. If you love spicy mayo? This is a must try. You want the noodles to be coated but not gloopy…if you know what I mean. Add enough to get the noodles wet, but not too much to where it’s drowning in the stuff.
TIP #4: If you can find sushi grade tuna, add some chunks in!
I love raw tuna more than anything, but unfortunately I’m pregnant and cannot eat it at the moment. Raw tuna adds a fresh poke bowl type vibe to the noodles and it’s soooo good. I know Whole Foods has sushi grade tuna…. but that’s the only place I’ve ever been able to find it. Ask your butcher to be sure. You could also seer the tuna and cube it. Trust me, if you aren’t pregnant then you should absolutely add this in!
TIP #5: It’s all about the toppings
By toppings I mean eel sauce, sriracha and soy sauce. You might have to take a trip to your local sushi spot to find eel sauce. Sometimes if the sushi chef at the grocery store is nice, he will slide you some eel sauce for free. For whatever reason, eel sauce is hard to come by… which is extremely annoying. Do your best to find it because it really does complete these noodles and give it a sweet umami flavor. If you can’t find it, then don’t worry about it. Top with sriracha and soy sauce instead and it will still taste really good.
TIP #6: Use fresh and ripe ingredients
A sweet mango versus and unripe mango will change this dish completely. The sweet juicy mango is so necessary to make this bowl of noodles sing. The avocado also needs to be perfectly ripe. Not too soft and not too firm. It needs to be just ripe enough. This will make or break your noodles I promise. Pick your fruit thoughtfully when shopping for the ingredients!
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2 appetizer portions
- 8 oz. vermicelli rice noodles
- 6 crab sticks, shredded into thin strips
- 1/2 cup sushi grade tuna, cubed (can omit)
- 1/2 cup mango chunks
- 1/2 large avocado, cubed
- 2 tbsp shelled salted edamame
- 3 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
For spicy mayo: whisk everything together
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp sriracha, more or less to taste
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 dash soy sauce
- Eel sauce
- Soy sauce
- Black and white toasted sesame seeds
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Break the noodles in half before cooking. (This will result in shorter noodles that are easier to eat.) Once cooked to al dente, drain and rinse with cold water until noodles are cooled. Drain the noodles on paper towels until completely dry.
- Add noodles, crab stick, tuna, edamame, half the mango, half the avocado, half the cilantro and half the mint to a large bowl. (The other half of these ingredients will be used as toppings). Add in a about 3 tbsp of spicy mayo to the bowl. Use tongs to mix everything together thoroughly until the ingredients are well combined. If the noodles are not completely coated, add in another tbsp of spicy mayo to your liking. (The noodles should be slippery but not drowning in the sauce.)
- Top with the remaining mango, avocado, mint and cilantro. Also top with a drizzle of eel sauce, sesame seeds, extra sriracha (if preferred) and soy sauce to your liking.