It’s a week for comfort food. For me, those are dishes that remind me of being a child in Hawaii. Of bright blue skies and beautiful blue oceans, of the long, curving path decorated with hibiscuses that took me from our small house to my little Kanoelani Elementary School.
And the most eminent of those dishes is saimin, a quintessentially everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Hawaiian dish that just delights you with heady umami.
1 lb. saimin noodles (ramen can be used) 1/2 lb. char siu* 1 cup dashi 1/4 cup bonito flakes 2 cups chopped spinach 1/3 cup chopped scallions 2 - 8 slices of kamaboko 1 sliced tamagoyaki** Set a pot of water to boiling and prepare the noodles. Once they're ready, turn off the heat and add the dashi, bonito flakes, spinach, and scallions. When serving, arrange the char siu, tamagoyaki, and kamaboko as desired on top. *Char siu is a recipe for Chinese barbecued pork that's commonly found in Hawaiian cuisine. The easiest way to make this is to take two lbs. of pork shoulder and marinate it in a plastic bag with 1/2 of a diced onion and 2 tbsp of Chinese five spice overnight. Then, throw the pork into a slow cooker with several centimeters of soy sauce and the remaining onion and another tbsp. of Chinese five spice, turning the meat over about once every two hours and dusting with sugar each time. Cook for 8-9 hours on low. **Tamagoyaki is a layered Japanese one-egg omelet. Although most households use a special pan, you can make it in any small non-stick pan. Take one egg and whisk it with 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. water, and 1/2 tsp. sugar. Pour the mixture into your pan. When it starts to set, fold the omelet in on itself in half. Repeat process until you have a nicely layered rectangle.