Fideo, which technically means “noodle” in Spanish, holds another special place in our hearts here at Back Porch Paleo. It’s another one of those staple meals that was on rotation quite often since it comes together so quickly. It was also one of those meals that we haven’t had in so many years because of the obvious reason, it’s made with pasta. So, “b’bye fideo” several years ago when we altered our meal routine as Paleo Mexican food was hard to come by.
Enter the noodle that seems to go by so many names: sweet potato noodles, japchae noodles, glass noodles, dangmyum, Korean vermicelli. From what I’ve found, they’re all the same noodle and are easily found in most Asian markets as well as online. Basically a one ingredient noodle made with sweet potato starch. This is the brand that I’ve used over and over again and the package conveniently comes with 3 .5 lb bundles which is what you’ll need for this recipe. Ironic that they’re used in a Paleo Mexican food dish, but we make due right!!
So back to the FIDEO! In a simple explanation, it’s Mexican spaghetti! So hello Paleo Mexican food! Traditionally the noodles are browned up in oil to lend some flavor, since traditional pasta can handle that. These sweet potato noodles do not however and only puff up and splatter hot oil all over the place when placed in hot oil! Learned that the hard way and only encountered a couple oil burns, but didn’t need to try it again!
The best part about this recipe is that, with the exception of the noodles, you may already have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry. It’s a wonderful pantry meal, so in a pinch you can have dinner ready in no time. I’d suggest you start keeping these noodles on hand. They are wonderful as a base for stir fried veggies, can be added to chicken soup as the noodles and also make for a great base for Nom Nom Paleo’s Kaula Pig. Which has become our new Christmas day tradition instead of a huge meal. The Kalua pig cooks in the Instant Pot, we chop up veggies for garnish and then toss the noodles in when we’re ready to eat.
Couple tips here for success. Make sure the pan you use has a lid that fits on top, as keeping the pan covered helps the noodles soak up all the tasty sauce it’s bathing in as it simmers. Also, make sure you use a large pan, 12″ minimum, as it’s a hefty family size dish and you don’t want red sauce boiling over onto your stove top! Also learned that from experience!
On occasion, we’ve browned up some ground beef with the onions in the first step to add some protein to the meal. You can also customize this and add some warmed up shredded chicken as a topper along with the other garnishes. We definitely always serve with some cassava flour tortillas, but it’s also wonderful served with some plantain strips or cassava flour chips. We also indulge sometimes and enjoy organic corn chips from Trader Joes.
The “sour cream cheese” sauce truly adds so much to this dish – seek out the Kite Hill almond milk based cream cheese and give it a try. Adds such a nice smooth element to every bite of this dish.
Please be sure to tag us over on Instagram if you give this a try – we truly feel like it will be a winner and on your meal prep for weeks to come since Paleo Mexican food is delicous.
Links to our favorite items used in this recipe:
paleo fideo, a rendition of cultural favorite dish
- 1tbl avocado oil
- ½ cup diced sweet onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 28 oz of organic diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 8 oz of organic tomato sauce
- 2 tsp Redmond Real Salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp oregano, rubbed
- ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
- ¼ tsp fresh black pepper
- 1 7 oz can Herdez salsa casera
- 2 cup chicken broth
- 14 oz canned diced green chilies
- juice of 3 limes
- .5 oz japchae noodles, (aka: sweet potato noodles)
- handful of cilantro, roughly chopped (opt)
- “cream cheese” sauce*
- In a warmed large 12″ skillet over medium heat, add avocado oil, swirling to coat bottom. Add onion and cook stirring occasionally until soft and edges are just getting browned and caramelized. Add chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, making sure not to burn.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, pepper, salsa, chicken broth, green chilies and lime juice. Carefully stir together till well combined.
- If you like a smoother sauce, at this point you can use an immersion blender to purée until smooth. Otherwise, simply place japchae noodles in the sauce. Depending on the brand, they may not fit into the pan, so as they initially soften you will need to work them into the sauce with a wooden spoon or spatula. Work slowly as your pan is quite full at this point.
- Once the noodles are all tucked in the sauce, bring to a slow boil, then reduce to a low heat, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid and give it all a quick stir and move those noodles around in the sauce. Now that they’re all soft it will be much easier to get them evenly distributed in the sauce. Replace lid and simmer an additional 2-3 minutes or until noodles are done to your liking.
- Remove from heat, stir in chopped cilantro if using and serve. Garnish with additional cilantro, sliced green onions and a dollop of “cream cheese” sauce & serve with your favorite tortilla or chip. *to make cream cheese sauce, place about 3 tblsps of dairy free cream cheese (we prefer Kite Hill) in a small bowl add a little coconut milk (or milk of choice) stirring to combine until a sour cream like consistency is reached.
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can you just make the japchae noodles?
Hi Joni – of course! You can boil those up following the directions on the bag and use for all sorts of fun meals! Enjoy!!! ~Michelle