THAI STIR FRIED NOODLES WITH HOLY BASIL (KUAYTIAW PHAT KHII MAO)
I took a Thai cooking class earlier this month with my cousin Mitzi at the New School of Cooking in Culver City. I signed up for the class without a second thought but immediately right after I was a bit wary of my decision, thinking that whatever I learned in this class I could probably learn from some random recipe I found online but having a native Thai chef talk to us about the fundamentals and basic elements of Thai cooking supplemented the recipes with knowledge I wouldn’t have otherwise gained by simply following a recipe online.
I’ve developed a serious addiction to these noodles. While I love to cook and eat, I’ve never made anything before where I’ve had no intention of sharing the dish and I’m 100% serious when I say this. I do not want to share this dish. I’ve made this dish at least 4 times now and my boyfriend has only been lucky enough to have it once because I usually finish it even before he gets a chance – this never happens! I cook because I love to share but there’s something about these noodles that turn me into some fat kid eating cake and candy secretly in some dark corner hiding from the rest of the world. This noodle dish is so easy to make that if I had an Asian grocery store closer to where I lived I’d probably make this at least once a week.
1 lb of flat wide rice noodles – you can get rice noodles already cut into 3/4 inches or you can buy them in sheets and cut the noodles to the width you desire. These flat wide rice noodles can bought FRESH or DRIED, if you buy them dried prep them according to the instructions.
4 tsp of sweet soy sauce – the KWONG HUNG SENG SAUCE brand was recommended in class
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 green chilies, stems removed and minced
4 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/2 lb of thinly sliced chicken breast or thighs (I also like to substitute tofu)
2 tbsp of fish sauce (I use the Three Crab brand but the Squid brand is also good)
2 tbsp of palm sugar (brown sugar can be used as a substitute but palm sugar is commonly used in Thai cooking)
1/2 bunch of holy basil
2 handfuls of fresh bean sprouts (optional – the originally recipe doesn’t call for bean sprouts)
Note: Those who live in LA, all these ingredients can be bought at BANGKOK MARKET.
If you bought your noodles the day before and have been storing them in the fridge you’ll need to soften your noodles by steaming them. An easy way to do this is to wrap your rice noodles in two pieces of wring paper towel and microwave for about 2 to 3 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. You’ll notice immediately that your noodles are now more malleable. Cut your noodles to your desired thickness or if you bought the pre-cut kind start to separate the noodles. Place cut and separated noodles in a medium bowl and massage sweet soy sauce evenly throughout the noodles – separate any noodles that are still stuck together.
If you have a mortar and pestle pound together minced garlic and chilies. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle like me I simply grind them up finely in my food processor. If you have neither finely mince garlic and chilies.
In a wok, heat vegetable oil and lightly fry garlic and chilies until fragrant – do not brown. Add chicken and stir fry until cooked. If using bean sprouts add bean sprouts and stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add fish sauce and palm sugar stirring until dissolved. Add noodles and holy basil and stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. If noodles are stuck together, separate them as you add them to your wok. Plate and serve immediately.