This spicy noodle dish from Bangkok is traditionally eaten in the middle of the night to help one continue to the end to the party. Even milder versions are delicious, so if your spice-o-meter tends to stay near mild, not to worry - this noodle recipe is delicious with or without chilies. And it can be made vegetarian or with shrimp or chicken, according to your taste. As a bonus, the addition of lots of vegetables means these noodles are healthy as well as delicious.
- 8 to 10 ounces dried Chinese-style wheat noodles
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (sliced very thinly, or cut into thin strips with scissors (remove stem))
- 2 shallots (thinly sliced and diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 piece galangal (or ginger, sliced thinly)
- 1 red chilli, sliced finely (and de-seeded if milder noodles are desired)
- 1/2 package firm tofu (if non-vegetarian, you can substitute shrimp or bite-size pieces of chicken)
- 3 tomatoes (cut into bite-size pieces)
- 1 head broccoli (cut into florets, OR 1 cup bok choy or other Chinese-type cabbage)
- 1 to 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh basil (roughly chopped if leaves are large)
- vegetable oil for stir-frying
- For the Stir-fry Sauce:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground bean sauce (also called "yellow bean" - actually a soy bean sauce found in Asian food stores)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce OR 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Optional for serving:
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or 2 fresh red chilies, minced
- fresh basil, chopped
Place noodles in a pot of boiling water over medium-high heat and stir to separate. When cooked "al dente" (chewy - not too soft), drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
Place all sauce ingredients in a cup and stir well. Do a taste test (Note: this stir-fry sauce will be very strong at this point, but will be diluted later when added to the noodles). If too sour, add a little more sugar. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce.
In a wok or large frying pan over medium to high heat, add a few Tbsp. oil plus the lime leaves, shallots, garlic, galangal (or ginger), red chili, and tofu. If you are using chicken or shrimp, add them at this point as well. Stir-fry 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir-frying tip: When wok/pan becomes too dry, add a little water, white wine or sherry (or cooking wine), or broth 1 Tbsp. at a time (instead of more oil).
Add the broccoli and stir-fry another 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until broccoli has turned bright green. Then add the stir-fry sauce plus the noodles and tomatoes. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, turning the noodles as you fry in order to incorporate sauce.
Remove from heat and add the bean sprouts and coriander leaves. Toss in the wok to combine. Do a taste test for salt, adding more fish sauce (instead of salt) if needed. If too salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lime juice. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with Thai chili sauce or minced chilies. Enjoy!