Mee Krob (Thai Snack)
1 2 inch piece of tamarind pulp
Peanut or corn oil for deep-frying
1/4 pound dried rice stick noodles
6 ounces medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 Whole boned chicken breast, cut into slices
4 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 small Serrano chiles, finely minced
1 lime, zest only
3 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 green onions, trimmed, cut into 1 inch lengths, blanched
3 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
1/2 pound bean sprouts -- tails removed
Crispy egg lice:
Oil for deep frying
Eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Cover tamarind with 3/4 cup hot water. Crush and break up pulp with a fork and let it stand for 20 minutes.
2. Pour mixture through a strainer and press it through. Collect 1/2 cup tamarind liquid.
3. Pour oil into a wok or deep saucepan to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large paper bag pull rice stick noodles apart into small batches. Add 1 batch to the oil. If the temperature is correct, noodles should puff up within seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and drain on paper towel. Repeat with remaining noodles.
4. If you are making the Crispy Egg Lace, prepare it at this time (See below).
5. When the rice stick noodles and egg lace are done, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from wok. Reheat wok and oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add shrimp and chicken; stir-fry for 1 minute or until shrimp are bright orange and chicken is white. Remove and set aside.
6. Add shallots, garlic, minced chilis and half the lime zest to the hot wok; stir-fry until soft, but not browned (about 1 minute). Add tomato paste and sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar becomes a dark crimson red with a sticky consistency. It should pull away from the wok into a thick mass. This is just short of the caramelized state (about 3 to 4 minutes). Be careful not to burn the mixture.
7. Immediately add the reserved tamarind liquid and fish sauce, reduce to low heat and simmer together for 1 minute. Add lime juice, reserved chicken-shrimp mixture, green onion and remaining lime zest; toss just enough to heat through. Remove from heat.
8. Add 1/3 of fried rice stick noodles to the sauce. Gently crush noodles and toss with sauce to coat. Repeat with another third of noodles. Add last third of noodles only if there is enough sauce to coat. Toss in the coriander leaves. Mound noodles on a platter, Crispy Egg Lace (broken into smaller pieces) and bean sprouts.
9. Crispy Egg Lace: After frying noodles, skim leftover bits from wok. Keep oil hot. Beat eggs with salt in bowl.
10. When oil is 375 degrees Fahrenheit, hold a medium-fine-mesh skimmer over oil; gently pour half the eggs through. Let eggs drip into oil in circular fashion. Deep-fry for 30 seconds or until lightly brown and crisp. Turn over to brown. It should have an irregular lacy shape. Remove and drain on paper towels. Keep in a warm oven. Break into smaller pieces. Makes 2 crispy egg laces.