Another noodle dish featuring many of the same flavors that go into Pad Thai (see page 8), but the texture is different because of the noodles used. These are the fine vermicelli, which are fried crisp and should be served soon after they are combined with the other ingredients. Mee grob works better as a taste teaser rather than a main dish.
- 125 g (4 oz) rice vermicelli
- 500 ml (16 fl oz/2 cups) oil for deep-frying
- 200 g (7 oz) firm bean curd, diced small
- 100 g (3½ oz) minced pork or chicken
- 100 g (3½ oz) chopped raw prawns
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 whole bulb pickled garlic
- 1-2 finely sliced hot chillies
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Separate the rice vermicelli into small handfuls because it puffs and increases in size when it is fried. (It helps to first put the noodles into a large plastic bag and work inside the bag, otherwise bits of noodle will scatter over your kitchen floor.) Heat the oil in a wok and when a haze rises from the surface, test the heat by frying a few strands of noodles, which should swell immediately. If not, wait until the oil heats up a bit more, then fry a handful at a time. The noodles should turn pale golden in a few seconds. Immediately lift out of the oil and drain on several sheets of absorbent paper. Leave to cool. Fry the diced bean curd until golden. Lift out on a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.
Strain the oil into a heatproof bowl. (It may be re-used.) Return 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok and stir-fry the minced pork or chicken on high heat until the colour changes. Add the prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute longer. Stir together the vinegar, sugar and fish sauce until the sugar dissolves. Add the bean curd and the vinegar mixture to the wok. When the liquid boils, add the eggs and stir until the eggs set. Return the noodles to the wok and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving dish. Slice the pickled garlic across the bulb and arrange around the noodles. Scatter sliced chillies and chopped coriander over and serve at once while the noodles are still crisp. Note: Pickled garlic is sold in jars at Asian stores.