While traveling in northern Thailand, we ate versions of this ancient noodle dish everywhere from street carts to fancy restaurants.
Yield: serves 4
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp. palm sugar
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1-2 tsp. nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
FOR THE NOODLES:
- 8 oz. rice-stick noodles
- 2 oz. preserved pressed bean curd
- 3 tbsp. soybean or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp. dried shrimp, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup dried salted radish, finely chopped
- 20 fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1⁄2 cup chopped garlic chives
- 2 limes, cut in wedges
- Combine tamarind paste and 1⁄2 cup hot water in a small bowl. With the back of a spoon, press paste through a fine sieve into a small saucepan. Add sugars, nam pla, and tomato paste, and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until sugars dissolve, 10–15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with warm water. Soak until pliable, about 15 minutes, then drain.
- Cut bean curd into 1⁄4'' x 1 1⁄2'' lengths. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Stir-fry garlic with shallots for 30 seconds, then add bean curd, dried shrimp, and dried radish. Cook for 2 minutes, then add fresh shrimp. Continue to cook, stirring, until shrimp are firm, about 45 seconds. Add sauce and noodles and cook for 30 seconds more. Make a well in center of noodle mixture and add eggs. Cook, without stirring, until eggs begin to set, about 20 seconds, then stir in peanuts, bean sprouts, and chives, incorporating eggs. Serve with lime wedges, more bean sprouts, peanuts, and, if desired, Thai red pepper.