This is one of my favorite Thai noodle dishes. It requires a bit of prep and the ingredient list is pretty long, but the prep itself is easy and once you start cooking, it goes very quickly. I recently make this for one of my authentic Thai vegan cooking classes and it was the start of the show. I suggest making a double or triple batch of the curry paste and freezing the leftover portion for quick use later.
The Curry Paste
3 tablespoons of minced cilantro stalks
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground white pepper
5 cubes of fermented tofu
1 cup of mushroom or veggie stock
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of liquid from a jar of pickled garlic
2 tablespoons of sake
12 ounce of rice noodles, cooked and drained
3 tablespoons of sesame or peanut oil
2 cups of mushrooms chopped into big pieces (I prefer a mix of fresh shiitakes and oyster mushrooms)
6 to 8 cloves of pickled garlic, sliced thin
2 small stalks of celery, sliced thin
4 green onions, sliced thin
Freshly ground white pepper
IMPORTANT: Make the curry paste and sauce, cook the noodles, and chop all the stir-fry ingredients BEFORE you start cooking the stir-fry in the wok.
To make the curry paste: Puree all the ingredients until the paste is mostly pureed. If you need to ad water to your blender to get the paste to blend, add 2 tablespoons at a time. Remove the paste from the blender, place it in a small bowl, and set it aside.
“I know some people prefer to pound out this curry paste using a mortar and pestle, but I am not one of those people. The blender will do just fine for me. Speaking of the blender, one of the reasons I usually make an extra large batch of the curry paste is that it makes it easier for the blender blades to catch the ingredients and puree them.”
To make the sauce: Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set it aside.
“If you’re using fresh shiitakes in the stir-fry, you can boil the woody stalks to make your own home-made mushroom stock.”
To make the noodles: Boil them according to the instructions on the package, which should only take a minute or so. They should be just slightly under-cooked. Immediately drain them and set them aside.
“I like a thick rice noodle for this stir-fry to give it some depth. It’s important to under-cook them a bit because they’ll finish off in the wok.”
To make the stir-fry: Heat a wok to medium-high heat. Add the oil, then add the curry paste and cook it, slowly stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook them until they are no longer raw, about 2 more minutes. Add the sauce and quickly stir until it combines with the curry paste. Add the noodles, pickled garlic, celery, and green onions, toss, and cook 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and garnish.
“I really love the different textures and flavors that come with this dish, from the crunchy celery contrasted with the soft noodles to the acidity of the pickled garlic combined with the pop of the fresh cilantro stalks.”
Shopping for This Crazy Recipe
There are a few specialty items in this recipe. The biggest one is the fermented tofu. This typically comes in a small glass jar filled with little fermented tofu cubes. The tofu is pretty stinky, but don’t be put off by it. It ends up being well-balanced in the finished dish. I always have to go to an Asian market to get this. If you don’t have access to it, skip it in the recipe and add an extra shallot to bulk the curry paste back up.
Pickled garlic can be found in several stores, but most commonly in an Asian market. It’s really just a jar of whole, peeled garlic cloves sitting in vinegar with a touch of sugar. You can easily make these yourself by taking loading up a small jar with whole cloves of garlic, adding about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the jar, and covering the garlic with a mild white vinegar. Let it sit for a couple days in the refrigerator and you’ve got pickled garlic that you can use for a variety of recipes.
The soy sauce used in this recipe is a special type of light Thai soy sauce, again available at most Asian markets, but you can use a low-sodium soy sauce in place of it.
2 small bowls