Mee krob (crisp-fried noodles)

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
Stephen Ceideburg
2 tablespoons Fish sauce
2 tablespoons Dark soy sauce
2 Limes, juice only
3 tablespoons Vinegar
¼ cup Brown sugar or half brown and half palm sugar
Oil, for deep-frying
6 ounces Rice sticks
4 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium Onion, finely diced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1 small Red or green chile, seeds removed, finely minced
¾ pounds Minced pork, diced chicken, or peeled shrimp, or a mixture
2 Green onions, sliced, for garnish

This special occasion noodle dish is a favorite in many Thai restaurants. Some versions are extremely sweet and sticky; this version is less so, but the important flavors are still sweet, sour, and salty in that order. Be sure to use a large enough pan for saucing the noodles (step 5); a 14-inch wok is ideal.

1. In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, and sugar and set aside.

2. In a wok or deep skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees F. Drop approximately an ounce of rice sticks into the oil; they will puff up and rise to the top of the oil in only a few seconds. Turn them over once and fry until crisp, about 15 seconds in all. Transfer finished noodles to a pan lined with paper towels and continue frying the batter in small batches. Keep noodles warm in a low oven.

3. Dip a hand in the beaten egg and, holding your hand approximately 8 inches above the hot oil, drizzle egg over the surface in a random pattern. Continue with about half the egg mixture, forming a lacy network of egg. Fry until golden brown on underside, turn over once, and brown other side. Transfer to a plate and drain on paper towels.

Repeat with remaining egg.

4. Heat a second wok over medium high heat and add approximately 2 tablespoons oil from the first wok. Add onion, garlic, and chile and cook until they are fragrant. Add meats or shrimp and stir-fry just until done.

5. Stir sugar mixture and add to wok. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and add about a quarter of the fried noodles and eggs. Stir together and toss to break up noodle clumps and coat with sauce. Continue adding noodles and eggs in batches until all are coated with sauce. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with sliced green onion.

Serves 4 with other dishes.

From the California Culinary Academy's "Southeast Asian Cooking", Jay Harlow, published by the Chevron Chemical Company, 1987. ISBN 0-89721-098-0.

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