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Thai Noodles from Thai Home cooking
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Yield: 6-8 servings. Soak the noodles for 20-25 minutes in enough warm water to cover them. They should be flexible and soft, but not so soft that they can be mashed easily with the fingers. Later cooking in liquid will soften them more. Drain them thoroughly in a colander while preparing the other ingredients. Traditionally they are left in full-length strands, but you may cut them into 8-inch lengths if you find it easier to stir-fry them that way. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact, or slice the chicken or pork across the grain into strips not more than 1/8 inch thick and 1 to 2 inches long. Mix the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and optional paprika, tomato paste, or catsup in a bowl, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set the mixture aside. Slice the green onions, both white and green parts, diagonally into pieces 1 1/2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Set aside. Heat a wok, add the oil, and swirl it over the surface of the pan. Add the garlic and stir-fry until light golden. Add the meat and stir-fry until the pink color disappears completely. If you are using shrimp, stir-fry until they turn pink. Add the noodles and toss lightly to coat them with oil and to distribute the meat and garlic. Add the fish sauce mixture and bring it to a boil rapidly, gently folding the noodles without breaking them. Reduce the heat to medium and boil the mixture, folding frequently, until the noodles have absorbed the liquid. Using a wok scoop or a stiff spatula, lift the noodles gently from one side of the wok. Pour a little oil along the side of the wok, then break 1 egg and slip it into the oil. Break the yolk, and cover the egg with the noodles immediately. Repeat this on the opposite side of the wok with the remaining egg. Allow the eggs to cook undisturbed, over moderate heat, until they are set and almost dry . Additional oil may be added if the eggs or the noodles begin to stick to the wok. When the eggs are set and almost dry, fold them gently but rapidly into the noodles. Try not to break the noodles, which will be soft and fragile at this point. An effective way is to insert the scoop under the eggs, lift it through, and fold the mixture over. Continue the lifting and folding motion until the eggs are broken up and well distributed. Add the bean sprouts and sliced green onions and toss the entire mixture quickly and gently, still avoiding breaking the noodles. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bean sprouts and green onions are crisp-tender. Place the mixture on a large warm platter. Sprinkle the ground chilies and peanuts over the top and squeeze lime juice over that, or serve these garnishes separately, for each diner to add according to taste. Variation: Omit the shrimp, pork, or chicken from the list of ingredients, and ignore any instructions for them. Substitute 1/2 pound tofu and 1/4 pound dried shrimp. Put the tofu on a triple layer of paper towels, cover it with another triple layer, put a plate on top of that, and put a 2-pound weight, e.g. a can of tomatoes, on top of the plate. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes to press out the excess water. Put the dried shrimp in a sieve, rinse them quickly under hot running water, and set them aside to drain. After the tofu has been pressed, slice it into 1/4-inch cubes. Add the tofu and shrimp to the noodles and proceed with the main recipe. Note: in Thailand, dried shrimp are available in a smaller size than is generally available in the United States. If you would like to simulate that, chop the dried shrimp very coarsely after they have been rinsed.
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