Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thai Crispy Noodles with Beef

Rice vermicelli are very fine, dry, white noodles bundled in large fragile loops and sold in packets. They are deep-fried before being added to this dish, and in the process they expand to at least four times their original size. Recipe serves 4.


About 1 pound (500 g) rump or sirloin steak
Teriyaki sauce, for sprinkling
6 ounces (175 g) rice vermicelli
Groundnut oil for deep-frying and stir-frying
8 spring onions, diagonally sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4-5 carrots, cut into julienne strips
1-2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely sliced
2 small zucchini, diagonally sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger
4 tablespoons white or yellow rice vinegar
6 tablespoons light soy sauce
About 2 cups spicey stock


1. Beat out the steak,if necessary, to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Place in a shallow dish, brush generously with the teriyaki sauce and set aside for 2-4 hours to marinate.
2. Separate the rice vermicelli into manageable loops and spread several layers of kitchen paper on a very large plate. Add the oil to a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm) in a large wok and heat until a strand of vermicelli cooks as soon as it is lowered into the oil.
3. Carefully add a loop of vermicelli to the oil. It should immediately expand and become opaque. Turn the noodles over so that the strands cook on both sides and then transfer the cooked noodles to the plate. Repeat the process until all the noodles are cooked. transfer the cooked noodles to a separate wok or deep serving bowl and keep them warm while you cook the steak and vegetables.
4. Strain the oil from the wok into a heatproof bowl and set it aside. Heat 1 tablespoon groundnut oil in the clean wok. When it sizzles, fry the steak for about 30 seconds on each side until browned. Transfer to a board and cut into thick slices. The meat should be well browned on the outside but still pink inside. Set aside.
5. Add a little extra oil to the wok and stir-fry the spring onions, garlic and carrots over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes until the carrots are slightly soft and have a glazed appearance. Add the chilies, zucchini and ginger and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes more.
6. Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce and stock. Cook for about 4 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the steak and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
7. Pour the steak, vegetables and all the mixture over the noodles and toss lightly and carefully to mix. Serve at once.

Tip: As soon as you add the meat mixture to the noodles, they will soften. If you wish to keep a few crispy noodles, stir some to the surface so they do not come into contact with the hot liquid.

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