Thai Noodles

My friend, Paul Goldstein, has become a maven in terms of Thai cooking. He's spent some time in Thailand, and its cuisine has really captured him. Which is great for me since I'm always in the market for some good recipes. And this is one of them. It's simply rice noodles in a sauce with chicken and broccoli added to it.

Noodles are ubiquitous in Thai cuisine. Some say there are over 300 varieties. The most commonly used are rice noodles, which come in three varieties: sen yai (wide flat noodles), sen lek (thin flat noodles), and sen mee or sen mi, which are thin and round and are called vermicelli in the West. There are also chicken noodles (gu-tiaw gai), and pork or beef noodles (gu-tiaw rua); as well as barni, noodles made from eggs and wheat floor and usually sold fresh. If you can get these fresh noodles, you are in heaven. Another dry variety are mung bean flour noodles called wunsen. They are very thin and are known to us as cellophane noodles.

The recipe, called Chicken Lard Nah, uses wide precooked rice noodles. They do have thinner pre-sliced, precooked rice noodles, but Paul prefers cutting the wide noodles to the size he wants. The dish calls for osyter sauce, but Paul admits he didn't get the sauce quite right so he experimented and came up with something else. In this case, sweet chili sauce, which Paul notes you can get at the local oriental grocery store for $1.89 or thereabouts. Chilies were introduced into Thailand by the Portuguese in the 16th century. And their cuisine has never been the same since. They love their chili.

The recipe is very easy and quick to make, quite tasty and healthy---except for the sweet chili sauce which has a high level of salt. But, as Pablo says, if you add it to the water in the pan, there's no problem .


3 tablespoons peanut oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
1 head fresh broccoli, cut into florets
6 separated strips (1 1/2-inch) precooked rice noodles
Sweet chili sauce to taste
1 medium to large ripe tomato, cut in half and then sliced into quarters

1. In a cast-iron pan or wok, add the oil and water, and mix.
2. Add chicken strips and broccoli florets. Cook for about two minutes. Cover the chicken and vegetable with the rice noodles.
3. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly, making sure there's enough water to steam everything or else the noodles will stick. If necessary, add a little bit more water.
4. Add sweet chili sauce and mix well with the liquid remaining in the pan or wok.
5. Garnish with tomato.
Yield: 4 servings.

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