Friday, June 22, 2012

Drunken Noodles

The origins of drunken noodles are no longer known. Some people believe that these noodles got their name because they are so spicy that they're impossible to eat without drinking a shitload of beer during the meal. Others contend that the combination of ingredients is so strange that the name came about because only a drunkard would have thrown these things all together. Either way, the combination of sweet, spicy, and salty is deliciously balanced in this classic!

As with the other Thai recipes, some of these ingredients (such as fish sauce, the rice noodles, and Thai peppers) seem pretty exotic, but can all be found at a good Asian grocer. Keycap manis is a type of sweetened, fermented soy sauce. Also, remember Thai and Italian basil are very different. Stick with Thai basil ONLY.

Prep time: 2 cocktails

1/2 of a 14-ounce package wide, flat rice noodles
3 TBSP fish sauce
½ cup keycap manis
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
3 TBSP vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 Thai chilies, chopped into 1/8‖ thick wheels
1 pound package extra firm tofu, cut into ¾-inch cubes
1-2 cups sliced, mixed vegetables (optional) (you can use tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, etc.)
½ cup Thai basil leaves, tear biggest ones in half
A handful of peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts
1-2 limes, cut into wedges

Put the noodles into boiling water. Cook until still fairly al dente. Remove, strain, then plunge into an ice bath. After a few minutes in the ice bath, you can re-strain and set aside.

While noodles are cooking, combine fish sauce, keycap manis, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar in small bowl. Whisk very well and set aside.

Heat oil in wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once wok is hot, add garlic and chilies. Stirring a couple times, sauté for about 45-60 seconds (but don‘t let garlic brown). Then add sauce mixture and tofu. Stir frequently for 3-4 minutes.

Add noodles and vegetables and cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in Thai basil and peanuts and continue stirring frequently another minute or so. Remove from heat and serve hot with bean sprouts on top and squeeze a few lime wedges over the whole mess.

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