Spicy Prawn & Tofu Noodles

There are a few ingredients in this simple dish, reminiscent of the street-side noodle dishes you can get in Malaysia or southern Thailand.

Ingredients

  • 6 large cooked king prawns (shrimp), peeled
  • 1 block firm tofu, cut into 6 pieces and deep-fried until golden brown
  • 300 g (10½ oz) rice vermicelli, soaked in boiling water for 1 minute and drained
  • 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) coconut milk
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) tamarind water
  • 100 g ( oz) bean sprouts
  • 125 g ( oz) garlic chives, cut into 3 cm ( inch) lengths
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 2 limes, quartered

Spice Paste

  • 10 dried red chillies, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 12 red shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves removed, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and roasted until fragrant
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 heaped tablespoons salted soy beans, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Method

To make the spice paste, pound the chillies, shallots, lemongrass and shrimp paste in a mortar with a pestle until fine. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot and gently stir-fry the paste for 3–4 minutes. Add the soy beans and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Sprinkle in the salt and sugar and stir-fry for another minute. Remove and reserve half of the paste, and leave the rest in the pot.

To make the sauce, put the reserved spice paste into a clean pot with the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then add the tamarind water. Continue to stir and simmer for 2–3 minutes.

Reheat the spice paste, add the bean sprouts and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Add the prawns and chives and cook for 30 seconds, stirring in the vermicelli a little at a time. When heated through, put into a serving dish with the eggs and tofu on top, then pour over the sauce and squeeze the limes on top.