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A plate of a stack of sweet and sour crispy noodle treats
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Mee Krob - Sweet & Sour Crispy Noodle Treats

Crispy rice noodles coated in a sweet, sour, umami sauce. It's a popular Thai snack that keeps really well. Gluten-free.
Course Appetizer, snacks
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 pieces
Calories 114kcal

Equipment

  • Instant-read thermometer
  • An 8- or 9- inch square pan or casserole dish

Ingredients

The Noodles:

  • Oil for frying
  • 3.2 oz dry thin rice vermicelli see note 1

The Sauce:

  • ¾ cup shallots thinly sliced and cut in short pieces
  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 egg
  • 5.3 oz palm sugar roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (see note 2)
  • Grated zest of a lime

Optional Add-Ins

  • ½ cup roasted cashews split in half (recommended)
  • 2 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
  • A handful of fried dried chilies for garnish
  • A handful of fried makrut lime leaves for garnish see note 3

Instructions

For the noodles:

  • In a wok or a pot over high heat, add at least 1 ½ inches of frying oil, but leave at least 2 inches of room in the pot to accommodate puffing noodles. If you're also frying the chilies and makrut lime leaves for garnish, heat the oil first to 325°F/160°C. If only frying noodles, heat it to 450°F/230°C. Prepare a large mixing bowl or baking sheet lined with paper towel to put the noodles into after frying.
  • While the oil heats, pull the rice noodles apart into small bundles, then cut them in half with scissors. The smaller your frying vessel, the smaller the bundles need to be so they have room to expand. (Best to see the video for this part so you know how big the should be and how much they puff up.)
  • If you’re frying makrut lime leaves and dried chilies, make sure they are DRY, and once the oil reaches 325°F/160°C, fry the lime leaves until they stop bubbling, this takes only several seconds. *They may bubble aggressively so stand back a bit. Remove and drain on paper towel. Then fry the dried chilies just until they darken slightly, this also takes only a few seconds. Drain on paper towel.
  • Once the oil reaches 450°F/230°C, turn the heat down to medium to medium-low and add a small bundle of noodles into the oil; it should puff up immediately into fluffy, airy white noodles. As it puffs up, push the middle down slightly to make sure that everything has had a chance to completely fry. Once the noodles are puffed (this takes literally 2 seconds) remove with a slotted skimmer or tongs, shake off excess oil, and place it in the prepared mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining noodles.
    *Make sure the noodles always puff up immediately; if they’re getting slower, the oil temp has dropped too much. If the oil smokes, it's getting too hot; turn off the heat and fry a few bundles of the noodles with the heat off which will help drop the temp more quickly.

For the sauce:

  • Before you start the sauce, first prepare your mold which can be a cake pan, a casserole dish, or any kind of containers to shape the noodles. This recipe fits a 9-inch square pan perfectly, but you can use multiple containers or even half-fill a bigger pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment or foil to help it come out more easily, though this is not necessary as you can cut them right in the pan.
  • In a large non-reactive wok or skillet, saute the shallots in the oil over medium low heat until soft and caramelized, 5-6 minutes.
    *Ideally you want to use a large non-reactive wok (so not carbon steel or cast iron) so you can mix the noodles right in there. If you don't have it, you can make the sauce in a stainless steel skillet, and then toss it with the noodles in a large mixing bowl.
  • Once the shallots are done, add the egg and scramble into tiny pieces.
  • Add the palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind, sriracha, lime juice and lime zest; keep cooking on medium low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 240°F/115°C. I do not recommend you eyeball this; use a thermometer to be sure otherwise your noodles might not stay crispy after tossing with the sauce. See post above for more details.
  • Once the sauce is ready, turn the heat down to the lowest heat and add all of the noodles to the wok. Crush the noodles down so that they will fit into the wok, then use 2 spatulas to quickly but thoroughly toss the noodles with the sauce until they are evenly coated. If the pan you're using for the sauce is not big enough, drizzle the sauce over the noodles in a large mixing bowl, then toss.
    *IMPORTANT: Keep an eye out for any clumps of sauce and break it apart. These clumps will end up being overpowering bits that are too sweet, and it will take away sauce from the other parts of the noodles. This is another reason why ideally you want to toss noodles in the wok, so we can keep the heat on for a bit to keep the sauce from stiffening as it cools, making it easier to mix.
  • While still warm, put half of the noodles into the parchment-lined square cake pan or casserole dish and spread it out to fill the pan evenly. Sprinkle half of the cashews and pumpkin seeds over, if using, then spread the remaining noodles on top, followed by the remaining cashews and pumpkin seeds. Then use a measuring cup with a flat bottom to push the noodles down to pack them so they will hold together when cut, but without crushing the noodles.
  • Let cool completely, then either cut it in the pan or unmold it and cut it on a cutting board. Keep the pieces in an airtight container along with fried lime leaves and chilies, if desired. You can enjoy them now, but if possible wait at least half a day before serving to allow the flavours to settle into the noodles. You can eat the fried chilies if you like it spicy, but do not eat the dried lime leaves, they're just for aroma and garnish!
  • Storage: They will keep for at least a week in an airtight container at room temperature. Put them in the fridge if you're in a humid climate. See FAQ above for more details.

Video

Notes

  1. These are the super thread-thin rice vermicelli; not the thicker kind used in Vietnamese spring rolls. Typically two brands are available, "Wai Wai" and "Erawan", make sure they are made in Thailand to be sure it is the right kind.
  2. I use Thai sriracha (Sriraja Panich brand). If you use the Huy Fong (rooster) brand it will be a little spicier, but still works fine. For less spicy, you can use half ketchup and half sriracha.  
  3. The dried chilies and makrut lime leaves are for garnish, but if you keep them in the mee krob's container for a day or two, the aroma really does infuse into the noodles!

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg