Pan-Fried Rice Vermicelli with Vegetables and Eggs

A real kitchen sweep of a dish, Cafe Drake HRV's pan-fried rice noodles aren't so much a recipe as a guideline, a spring board for the individual cook's creativity and a chance to use up whatever may be lingering in the fridge. We always keep Asian rice noodles in the pantry, both the thin (vermicelli) and wide varieties, and urge you to do the same. As they only need a brief soak in hot water to "cook", rice noodles may be the hurried, harried home cook's best friend. So let's start with 8 oz. of thin rice noodles. Now bring a large pot of water to boil and place the noodles inside. Cover, remove from heat and let rest for about 10 minutes. Any longer than 15 minutes and the noodles will become too soggy. Drain in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain well and set aside while you chop about three cups of any veggies you like. Above, we used green cabbage, green bell peppers, onions and carrots. As much as possible, cut the veggies in shapes and sizes that allow equal cooking time for each type. Again, refer to photo above.

Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over a high flame. Add the vegetables, sprinkle lightly with salt and stir fry with fury. After 4 or 5 minutes the veggies should be cooked al dente. Make a clearing in the center of the pan by pushing veggies to the sides. Crack in two cage-free eggs and don't touch them for 30 seconds. Then, quickly scramble the eggs in the pan, creating large curds. The eggs will dry a bit and this is appropriate here as we're not creating a creamy sauce.

Once the eggs have set, incorporate them into the veggies via a quick stir. Scrape up any and all bits of egg stuck to bottom of the pan. They're delicious!

Add the drained rice noodles to the pan along with: 1/4 cup fish sauce, 2-3 T. tamarind paste (or 3 T. lemon or lime juice), 2 T. light brown sugar and as many crumbled dried red chilies as you can handle. Toss very very well, remove from heat and serve hot. The non-optional garnish should be plenty or minced cilantro and/or mint leaves. Vegetarians can substitute tamari or soy sauce for the fish sauce.


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