Lest my friend M think that he’s the only one knowing how to turn the odds and ends in the fridge into a hit among friends, Nam Prik Pao Fried Rice with Pineapple and Shrimp, I thought I’d share my latest kitchen improvisation.
This fried noodle dish has no name. You can called it spicy Thai fried noodles with beef and broccoli, if that makes sense. I always call this “noodles with no name” just because it sounds like the American song, A Horse with No Name — the song that constantly reminds me how little I actually understand the English language.
Thai-Style Fried Noodles with No Name (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวผัดนิรนาม)
8 ounces dried rice sticks (the kind you use to make Pad Thai)
1 pound chuck eye steak (or beef tenderloin, if you’re rich)
1 tablespoon light or dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons baking soda
4-5 bird’s eye chilies (Your mileage may vary.)
5 medium cloves garlic
1/2 large yellow onion or 2 small ones
1/2 pound broccoli florets
1 1/2 tablespoons salted/salted soybean paste
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup Thai basil leaves (Italian is fine too), packed
- Before doing anything else, soak the noodles. It will be a while before they’re ready, so allow time accordingly (see tips on how to prepare dried rice noodles).
- Slice the beef thinly across the grain, put it in a bowl, add the dark soy sauce and baking soda to it, mix thoroughly, and let it marinate while working on the other ingredients.
- Peel the garlic and remove the stems from the bird’s eye chilies. If you have a mortar, pound the two ingredients into a paste. If not, mince them finely with a knife. Set the mixture aside.
- Peel and slice the onion(s) into 1/4-inch slices; set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the salted/fermented soybean paste, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar,and water; set aside.
- Drain the noodles.
- Set a large saute pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the vegetable oil, followed by the marinated beef. With the tip of your spatula, separate the beef pieces from each other. Allow the beef the brown, undisturbed, on one side. Flip the beef pieces and let the other side brown.
- Add the garlic-chili paste to the pan; stir. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add the onion slices; stir until they are somewhat translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Now decide whether you like your broccoli (a) tender crisp or (b) somewhat soft in a stir-fried noodle dish like this. If (b), add the broccoli florets to the pan now and cook until they’ve softened up a bit. Then add the drained noodles followed by the pre-mixed sauce. Stir-fry until the noodles are soft and chewy (it may be necessary to add a bit more water to the pan).
- If (a), add the drained noodles and the pre-mixed sauce to the pan; stir-fry. Once the noodles are almost done, add the broccoli florets and continue to fry until the noodles are done and the broccoli is tender-crisp (more water may be necessary).
- Once the noodles are ready, turn off the heat and stir in the basil leaves.