Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dry Phnom Penh Noodles


I find that I lose my appetite when it’s really hot and muggy out. Does it happen to you too? Right now, the Weather Network says that it feels like 35 degrees Celsius with the humidity. Hopefully the severe thunderstorms roll through and help cool the city off soon. Well, I always find myself out of ideas for a quick meal to make. But here's a solution. Dry Phnom Penh noodles (aka ka tieu Phnom Penh, hu tieu Nam Vang in Cambodian and Vietnamese respectively). You can read about the Phnom Penh noodle soup version here and here.

You’ll need to soak some rice noodles in cold water for at least an hour. Then bring out some oyster sauce, fried garlic and fried garlic oil, minced meat (ground pork, shrimp, garlic, oyster sauce, black pepper, and sugar), green onions, cilantro, and dark soy sauce.

Once the noodles become opaque and flexible, cook them in boiling water for about thirty seconds. The noodles should be cooked a bit softer than you would if you were eating Phnom Penh noodle soup. It’s the same idea with cooking pasta past al dente if you’re making a cold pasta salad, instead of cooking pasta al dente when it’s being served with a sauce.

Back to making the bowl of noodles; cook the minced pork in either simmering soup or water is fine as well. Add the cooked minced pork to the cooked noodles in a bowl. Regarding the proportions of the condiments, it really depends on who is making it. Everyone has a different way of making it. I personally like to add a few squirts of hoisin sauce in addition to the things above. If you're unsure, I'd start off with a bit of oyster sauce and enough fried garlic oil to loosen the noodles. Taste the noodles and season to your taste.


I also like to add a bit of this preserved vegetable. It's super salty. You might want to rinse it in some water beforehand.

That’s pretty much it. If the noodles are too sticky, add a bit of water or soup to loosen the whole thing. You don’t have to be in the kitchen very long, nor do you need to have the stove or oven on for very long. I like to wash this bowl down with a bowl of flavourful broth, but with this weather, a cold beverage would be better.

On a random note... I'd really like to try my hand at making naeng myun. It's a Korean cold noodle soup dish. Very interesting. It would make a perfect meal in this weather. In other news, there's actually a Korean song about the dish. It's sung by Jessica (from SNSD) and comedian Park Myung Soo. Here's a link to the naeng myun song on youtube.

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