A very fine rice vermicelli, called mee in Thailand, is used to make this dish. The vermicelli is first fried until it is crisp and then tossed with a hot, sweet, salty, and sour combination of pork, shrimp, pressed bean curd, and eggs. (I have eliminated the pork and shrimp.) This combination has to be cooked until it is quite dry, else the vermicelli turns soggy.
- 6 ounces mee (see above)
- Vegetable oil for deep frying, about 2 cups
- ½ cup very finely chopped, peeled shallots
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced garlic
- 1 to 2 fresh hot green chilies, minced
- 1 cake pressed bean curd, cut into julienne strips
- 5 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Peel from ½ lemon, cut into very thin, l-inch-long strips
- ¼ cup fresh Chinese (or other) chives, cut into ½-inch lengths
- ¼ cup fresh Chinese parsley leaves
- 1 cup fresh mung-bean sprouts, washed, drained, and patted dry
- Garnish: additional parsley sprigs
Soak the mee in hot, not boiling, water for a minute or until they soften. Drain immediately.
Line two large platters with paper towels and keep nearby.
Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame. When very hot, throw in a small handful of mee. Fry for about 30 to 40 seconds, then turn over what will look like a thin pancake of vermicelli. Fry for 30 to 40 seconds on the second side. The mee should turn a lovely reddish-golden color and be quite crisp. Remove it with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on the paper towels. Fry all the mee this way.
Take the wok off the flame and remove all but ¼ cup of the oil. Heat this over a medium flame.
Put in the shallots, garlic, and green chili. Stir and fry until the shallots are lightly browned. Put in the bean curd and stir for a minute.
Now break all the eggs into the wok. Stir for a minute, breaking up the yolks. Add the salt, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, cayenne, and lots of black pepper. Stir and fry until the eggs have solidified completely.
Turn the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring and frying another 15 to 20 minutes or until the mixture is completely dry, lowering heat if necessary.
Just before you are ready to eat, toss the mee with the egg mixture, the lemon peel, chives, and Chinese parsley leaves.
Arrange on a platter. Scatter the bean sprouts over the top and garnish with the additional parsley sprigs.
This recipe serves 6.