MEE KROB (Bangkok and Central Thailand)
We made this epic dish alongside the ruins of Ayutthaya, which was once the capital of old Siam as Thailand used to be called. The place was hot and exotic, just like this fine luxury salad. You can prepare everything in advance but keep the noodles, herbs, prawn and crab mix separate and put them all together at the last minute. The noodles are just dropped straight into the hot oil – no blanching needed. Bear in mind, though, that they do expand, so it’s important to cook them in batches as we suggest.
© 2023 Hairy Bikers · Reproduced with permission. · Recipe from THE HAIRY BIKERS’ ASIAN ADVENTURE published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in hardback at £20 (eBook £10.99)
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You Will Need
First make the dressing. Mix the palm sugar and fish sauce until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lime juice, then set aside.
Pour enough oil for deep-frying into a wok or a large deep saucepan and heat to 180–190°C. Don’t allow the oil to overheat and never leave hot oil unattended. To test the temperature, add a small cube of bread. If the oil is hot enough, the bread will turn crisp and golden and float to the top in a few seconds. Fry the noodles in batches – each batch will cook in seconds. Add a batch to the pan and cook until the noodles are puffed up and turning a pale golden colour. Carefully remove the noodles with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. They’ll look a bit like a giant haystack!
Wipe the wok and add 3 tablespoons of fresh oil, then fry the shallots until crispy. Remove them from the wok, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Put the wok back on the heat and add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the prawns and stir or toss them until they are slightly opaque. Add the ginger, garlic and galangal and sauté for a couple of minutes. Continue to cook and stir until the prawns are cooked. Tip the contents of the wok into a large bowl and add the crispy shallots.
Now add the spring onions, bean sprouts, lime leaves and crabmeat, then the dressing and the herbs. Mix everything together, but be gentle so you don’t crush the herbs. We find that using our hands is best for this.
To serve, take a large bowl and layer the salad, starting with a layer of crispy noodles, then alternating layers of prawn and crab mixture and noodles. Garnish with slices of chilli and lime wedges and serve straight away.