I came across Mee Kati when hunting for lesser-known Southeast Asian noodle dishes. See, I’ve already blogged my favorites–Pad Thai, drunken noodles, and Pad See Ew–around here. (Do me a favor and please don’t look for them, though; some of those photos were taken at a weird time in my life, i.e. when I thought I could make do without succumbing to the whims of natural light–and who knows what else was going on because BOY, talk about a white balance only a mother could love. I HAVE CHANGED, I swear.)
Mee Kati, though.
It has definitely become a favorite, if not the favorite. This dish is a dream come true if you’ve ever sat in a Thai restaurant, paralyzed by having to decide between a creamy coconut curry and a noodle dish, i.e. what happens to me every single time.
That is to say: this is a have-your-coconut-milk-and-eat-noodles-too situation. Mee Kati is creamy, savory, tamarind-tangy, and incredibly flavorful. It isn’t spicy, and I didn’t even find myself wishing it were–it’s that good. Because there’s no fish sauce in the mix, it is easily vegan-fied if you skip the meat and egg. Flavorwise, you can certainly afford to.
Mee Kati is made possible by your typical Thai cuisine ingredients, for the most part–the only one that was new to me was yellow soybean paste. You can’t see it really well, but it’s the bottle next to the coconut milk can, yeah? Fairly recognizable.
First thing we do is make the cutest little omelet for garnishing purposes. This is off to a good start.
This is what the above-mentioned yellow soybean paste looks like. Nobody said the road to noodle bliss was pretty, okay?
Tamarind (well… Now that I think about it, just tamarind concentrate) is more fortunate in the looks department. Dark and smooth and tangy.
Everything comes together quickly, but you want to take some time to toss this whole thing well–there always seem to be little pockets of noodles that want to be left unsauced.
…And we’re plated and garnished.
…is how the burning question of “is it easier for me to take photos or use chopsticks with my left hand?” was answered.
A: Both are impossible.
Anyhow! I hope your weekend is the most swell, your beer the most frosty, your food the most messy.
- 6.75-oz (approximate amount is fine) package thin rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 can (15 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
- 10 ounces extra-firm tofu, cubed
- 8 ounces ground pork or cleaned, deveined shrimp (or a combination; I just used pork)
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 3 tablespoons Thai yellow soybean paste
- 4 stalks green onion, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 3-4 keffir lime leaves
- 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar (brown sugar will work too)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground dried Thai red pepper
- 6 ounces fresh bean sprouts, roots removed
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- Fresh red Thai chilis, julienned, for garnish
- A handful fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Soak the rice noodles in room temperature water for 20 minutes to soften while you prep the other ingredients.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over medium-high heat. Beat egg, pour onto the hot pan and cook until set enough to flip; flip and keep cooking until you've made yourself a little omelet. Remove from pot with a spatula and slice into strips. Set aside.
- Heat the coconut milk in the same wok or pot over medium-high heat. When it boils, add the tofu, pork and/or shrimp, shallot, yellow soybean paste, and green onion. Bruise (that is, squeeze to release the lovely aroma and flavors) lime leaves and add those, too. Stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the pork, until the mixture comes to a boil and pork is cooked through.
- Stir in the tamarind, palm sugar, and dried red chili pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Stir in the softened, drained noodles, mix well, and continue cooking until the sauce is absorbed. Add a little water and cook for a bit longer if you'd like to thin out the sauce, or if the noodles aren't quite soft yet.
- Transfer to individual serving dishes and top with bean sprouts, sliced omelet, fresh red pepper, cilantro, and lime wedges.