After pad thai noodles, the most famous Thai noodles that you can find is the mee grob or mi krop. “Mee grob” literarily means “crispy noodles”. In this recipe, the crispy fried noodles are coated with a sweet and sour sauce and are predominantly served with coriander leaves, pickled garlic and bean sprouts. The sauce is prepared by melting palm sugar discs and then by mixing it with other ingredients like fish sauce, tamarind juice and orange zest.
The distinct tangy flavor in authentic Thai mee grob predominantly comes from the usage of a particular type of orange, called the Som Saa orange. Mee grob can be eaten as a part of the main meal or even as a snack. So, you can cook huge amounts of mee grob at once and store it in an air tight container to munch on it anytime you want.
Difficulty level: Easy
Servings per recipe: 3-4
Preparation time required: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time required: 30-35 minutes
1 large wok
2 large plates
1 flathead spatula
1 spider strainer
4 oz. of rice vermicelli noodles
5 tablespoons of dried shrimps
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of orange zest
2 tablespoons of ketchup
½ cup of bean sprouts, for serving
1-2 red chilies, sliced
1 cup + ½ cup of hard pressed tofu, diced
3-4 coconut palm sugar discs
2 tablespoons of tamarind juice
2 tablespoons of green onions, chopped
6-8 cups of vegetable oil
Pickled garlic, for serving
Method of Preparation
1. First, take the tofu cubes and slice them very thinly so that they resemble matchsticks. Then either put the tofu under the sun for a few days to dry it out or else just warm up the tofu at a very low temperature in the oven until it becomes stiff and crispy. Once done, take a large wok and put 3 cups of oil in it. Place the wok on the stove and light up the flame. Adjust the flame to set it on high and let the oil become piping hot. Once the oil becomes piping hot, turn down the heat to medium high and then put the dried tofu pieces into the oil. Once the tofu pieces puff up and become golden brown, strain them out of the oil and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate.
2. Next, put the dried shrimps in the remaining oil and fry them until they become very crispy and golden in color. Stir the shrimps constantly to prevent them from burning. Once done, scoop out the shrimps from the oil and transfer them to the paper towel lined plate. Then add the remaining 5 cups of oil to the wok and turn up the heat to high. Wait for the oil to heat up. To test whether the oil is hot enough, just drop a few strands of noodles in it and if the noodles puff up immediately then it means that the oil is perfectly hot.
3. While the oil is heating up, take the noodle bundles and loosen them up by pulling the bundles of noodles carefully with your fingers. Loosening the noodle bundles ensures that the noodles can be evenly cooked. Once done, put a little bit of the noodles into the hot oil. They will immediately puff up and expand. Once that happens, flip them immediately and dip the other side in the oil to ensure that the noodles are evenly fried on both sides. Flip and dip the noodles a few times to fry them properly and then transfer them to another paper towel lined plate. The noodles will turn into a white color on frying.
4. Fry the remaining noodles in the same way and then turn down the heat to very low. Discard all the oil from the wok, by retaining about just 1 cup of oil in the wok. But make sure that the oil is cooled down a bit before you remove it from the wok. Then put the coconut palm sugar and the tamarind juice into the oil. Break the palm sugar discs to melt them quickly. Once the palm sugar discs melt, stir them with the tamarind juice and let the sauce cook on medium heat until it starts bubbling and becomes a little thicker. Once the sauce thickens up a bit, turn down the heat to medium low and then add-in the fish sauce, lemon zest and the ketchup.
5. Stir all the things together to incorporate and then cook the sauce for 1-2 minutes more. Once done, add-in the fried shrimps and the fried tofu and stir them together with the sauce. Once thoroughly mixed, add the fried noodles and start coating them immediately with the sauce.
Do not let the noodles sit over the heat for too long, or else they will burn. Once the noodles are thoroughly coated, they will turn into a beautiful light brown color. Then spoon out the noodles from the wok and serve with the pickled garlic, bean sprouts, green onion slices and the slices of red chilies.
1. Make sure that the flame is on very low when you try to coat the noodles with the sauce; otherwise, the noodles will burn easily.
2. Cook the shrimps on a very low heat because if they burn, they will impart a very bitter taste to the dish.
3. You can store mee grob in an air tight container at room temperature to keep it fresh for up to 2 weeks. But make sure that the noodles are cooled before you put the lid on the container. The noodles will become crunchy and will take up the shape of the container upon cooling. Mee grob will remain fresh for up to a month in an air tight container, if it is stored in a cool and dry place.
4. You can also use normal orange if you can’t find som saa orange.
5. Extra firm tofu can also be used instead of hard pressed tofu. But then the tofu will take longer to dry and fry, as extra firm tofu has more water content than hard pressed tofu.