Rice Noodles With Shrimp, Chili, and Lime

Uncooked Thai noodles
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Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings

This delicious rice noodles recipe is simple to make while bursting with the essential flavors of Thai cuisine. Use dried rice noodles, roughly the width of Italian linguini noodles. The key to cooking rice noodles is not to over-soak them. Take them out of the water before they're al dente, as they need to be quite firm in order to finish cooking them in the wok. This rice noodles recipe features shrimp (small scallops would work too) fried up in a delicious chili-lime sauce. You'll love it!


  • 16 oz./454 g dried Thai rice noodles (linguini width)
  • 12 to 16 medium raw shrimp (shells removed, tails can be left on)
  • 3 Tbsp. oil, such as peanut, canola, or sunflower
  • 3 cloves/1 tsp. garlic (minced)
  • 4 tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian food stores)
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 6 makrut lime leaves (available frozen at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (= medium spiced noodles; reduce to 1 tsp. for milder noodles)
  • 4 tbsp. chicken stock
  • 2 additional lime leaves
  • handful of fresh basil OR sliced spring onions
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (ground or chopped fine)
  • Optional: lime wedges to serve

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a near-boil. Remove from heat and add the rice noodles, pressing them down into the warm water.

  3. Allow noodles to soak while you start preparing the other ingredients. (As soon as they are soft enough to eat but still firm and chewy (firmer than al dente), drain them.) Rinse with cold water.

  4. Cut the 6 lime leaves away from their central stem and place them in a mini-chopper or food processor/blender. Add the oil, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and cayenne. Blitz to make a thin sauce (the lime leaves should be reduced to very small pieces).

  5. Place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp. of the sauce you just made, plus the shrimp. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, adding the chicken stock when your wok/frying pan becomes dry. Shrimp should be nicely cooked, pink and plump.

  6. Add the noodles and the remaining sauce, plus the 2 extra makrut lime leaves. Using 2 wooden spoons or spatulas, "turn" the noodles in the pan to fry them (as if you were tossing a salad). Note that the noodles may stick a little to the bottom of the pan - this is normal.

  7. Continue turning the noodles until sauce is well distributed. Taste-test the noodles as you go. When cooked, they will be soft but still firm and delightfully chewy.

  8. Add up to 1 more tbsp. fish sauce (if not salty enough), plus another sprinkling of cayenne pepper if you'd like your noodles spicier.

  9. To serve, portion out the noodles onto individual plates. Top with a generous sprinkling of ground peanuts, plus fresh basil or spring onion. Lime wedges can be added to the side of each plate. 

  10. Enjoy!


Rice Noodle Tips: With rice noodles, it's better to under-soak than to over-soak them, as they will finish cooking in the wok. If you over-soak them, they will turn out mushy instead of chewy and will break apart when you try to fry them. How quickly your noodles soften depends on how thick they are, and also how warm or cool the water temperature is.