Threads of Time: Thai Pan-Fried Noodles

Music Pairing: Wieniawski Violin Concerto No 2, Igor Oistrach

Story

In early 2000s, we frequented Atlanta for a variety of reasons, but mostly driven by work.  The partnerships with some arts institutions there along with performances by our alumni created opportunities to explore the culinary scene, much to our joy. Among other genres, our love of Thai cuisine and introduction to many generous flavors originate from our experiences in Atlanta from that time period.  One of the discoveries was the beloved Pad Kee Mao.  A dish of thin rice noodles, prepared with mixed vegetables and protein was a game changer.  The bouquet of spices and the delicate balancing of the sauce opened up a whole new line of dishes that we began to imagine, adopt and taste at home.  This beauty is a time saver and a crowd pleaser: you may prepare it with ground chicken, pork, or our way, no meat at all.  While its origins likely hail from Thailand, varietals of the dish are also found in Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan and elsewhere in Asia. A common nickname for the dish is “drunken noodles”, though our noticeably modified version does not present so saturated with the sauce as to truly live up to the name.  But…you be the judge!  We since have tried this dish elsewhere around the world, but none truly resembled the taste we discovered in our beloved Tamarind in Atlanta, which is why we decided that home experimentation was the only pathway to recreate the taste and evolve it to our current preferences.  We pair this with, of all things, Wienawski’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, as it was the piece performed by one of our amazing artists with the Atlanta Symphony during that time.  Enjoy this comfort food with or without a nice Sauvignon Blanc and share with your loved ones!

Recipe

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes

  • 1 package of very thin rice noodles
  • 3 T of olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 1 oz cilantro
  • ½ C soy sauce
  • 4 T sambal oelek (or a similar chili-based sauce)
  • 3 medium chopped peppers (we favor orange and red)
  • 1 C chopped onions
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • 1 C cashews (toasted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t sugar (brown or palm)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Fill a large pot with cold water: add 1 T salt and bring to boil
  • Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for not longer than 5 minutes
  • Drain the water and rinse immediately with cold water.  Set aside for a few moments, as you follow the next steps.
  • In a separate sauce pan, toast the cashews for 2 minutes and set aside
  • Add to the same pan the oil, followed by onion, garlic, peppers: pan fry all of them for about 10 minutes
  • Add the egg, mix and cook through
  • Add the noodles (you might re-rinse them in cold water if they sat too long prior to adding)
  • Mix well, add the soy, the chili, the bit of sugar and the fish sauce
  • Pan fry well the entire mixture for another 3-5 minutes
  • Remove from heat, squeeze the lime, chop the cilantro for garnish and serve!

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