Update 3/21/14: I think I realized why I couldn’t get my vermicelli noodles cooked right! Must have been the brand or type of noodle I bought. I tried another brand and just boiled them and they were great. No soaking, just boil, drain, rinse with cold water. There are so many different kinds at the Asian market so my best advice is to try a few to see which one you like! They should turn white and not be gooey at all.
I recently ran into a recipe for Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon (spicy, sweet and sour noodles) on Season with Spice. In my quest to learn how to cook Southeast Asian food, I decided to give it a try last night. It was quite a process, with having to cook the noodles twice (I cannot get rice vermicelli right!), dropping the fried onions all over the floor on accident, and basically using WAY too many pots and pans. Tejas asked why why why do I try out complicated recipes on a weeknight? I think he ended up sweeping up after me 2-3 times. I am not the most careful cook with things flying everywhere…
Anyways, I debated whether to post my recipe because the rice vermicelli still wasn’t cooked right (I gave the instructions that are all over the web; I think I just have bad luck), but the flavors turned out outstanding! And really, it isn’t that complicated, it’s just that there are quite a few ingredients that get cooked separately. I used another recipe from Dinner Lately for help with making this vegetarian. I would really like to find some vegetarian belacan powder, but I am not having much luck. Last night I used chili paste with fermented soy beans which seemed like a good alternative to vegetarian belacan powder (which uses fermented soy beans) and fresh chilis which I didn’t have. All measurements are approximate, so adjust to taste.
200g rice vermicelli
1/2 package firm tofu
A little oil, chili paste with fermented soy bean, and salt to marinade the tofu
1/2 onion very thinly sliced (if you have shallots, use those instead)
Oil for frying
1/2 cup roasted peanuts (always better to buy raw and roast them yourself)
1/2 cup grated coconut (I use frozen and thaw in microwave)
chili paste with fermented soy bean
sambal oelek (to taste)
maggi (or soy sauce) (to taste)
rice vinegar (to taste)
fresh lime juice (to taste)
palm sugar or brown sugar (to taste)
1/2 red onion very thinly sliced (if you have shallots, use those instead)
3 stalks lemon grass finely chopped (take out all the harder outer leaves)
2 cloves garlic minced
6 lime leaves center trimmed out and chopped finely
Mint choppped (we only had cilantro so I used that instead)
- Soak the rice vermicelli in warm water.
- Slice tofu into strips, press dry and marinate in a little oil, chili paste and salt.
- Deep fry the thinly sliced onions in oil until brown and crispy. Watch them carefully because they go from brown to burnt fast!
- If you have raw peanuts, roast the peanuts on a cookie tray in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes rolling the tray occasionally to evenly cook peanuts. If you have store bought roasted peanuts, roast them for a few minutes anyways (makes for better flavor). Let cool.
- Toast grated coconut until lightly brown.
- Blend the sauce (chili paste, sambal oelek, maggi, vinegar, lime, sugar).
- Prep the red onion, lemon grass, garlic, lime leaves, and mint (or cilantro).
- Fry the tofu in a little oil until a little toasty on each side.
- Cook the rice vermicelli in boiling water for 1-2 minutes and drain.
- Mix everything together!