Recipe: mee krob
It’s taken me a few years to figure this out, but I think I have finally turned a photo roadtrip into a nice mini vacation for Jeremy as well. This basically means I’m learning to chill out a little. Just a little. And that’s hard to do in a place like Crested Butte when hillsides are bursting with colorful wildflowers while snow still lingers on the high peaks. I’m getting a lot better at knowing when to call it good, put the camera gear away and grab the bike to go exploring with Jeremy. We helped a fellow who broke his shoulder (he went over the handlebars on the trail) down the trail to get help. We even hit the bike park!
not a bad place to live – at the base of mount crested butte
and the town serves up some creative martinis (red raspberry)
cruising the lupines
it’s mind-blowingly beautiful
All of the snaps from the trip are on the photo blog.
Everywhere we went, there was a constant buzzing – that high-pitched whistle of hummingbirds zipping from flower to tree to chasing off another hummingbird and back to the flowers. They are territorial little guys. I spied two kinds.
the broad-tailed hummingbird
and the rufous
More hummingbirds here.
There aren’t a lot of places that make me question how much I love living where I live, but Crested Butte is certainly one of them. I’m not the wistful type and yet that place makes me point to random plots of land and ask Jeremy, “Is there any way you could be a freelance astrophysicist?”
wild iris and yellow paintbrush
delphinium, golden eye, and mule’s ears
lupine, scarlet gilia, and golden eye
See the whole set on the photo blog.
Realistically, I’m doubting I could make the move to Crested Butte because I need to get my Asian on. We’re not just talking about Asian restaurants, I’m referring to Asian groceries. I need to feed my addiction for all things Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Malaysian so I can make favorite dishes like mee krob. I had no idea what preserved garlic was (it’s really pickled garlic), but found it at my local Asian grocer, much to my delight!
rice vermicelli, fish sauce, vinegar, pickled garlic, tamarind, shrimp, sprouts, paprika, sugar
I first had mee krob at Min’s in La Cañada, California and was hooked ever since. It’s a sweet, tangy, crunchy, savory appetizer of rice noodles (deep fried) with shrimp. It is unclear at what point a dish goes from seeming inaccessible to suddenly doable in your own kitchen. I never thought that I could make mee krob until recently when I looked at the recipe (which I’ve perused in the past) and it just sounded simple and easy.
break up the noodles (take care, they will go flying everywhere)
The biggest drawback to making mee krob is the frying. I hate to fry stuff. It makes a mess and the oil is hot and I always manage one or two burns. I have to admit though, frying the rice noodles is totally fun (get it? fun? the Chinese kids will get it) because they puff up into this mess of squiggly crunchy fried things. It helps A LOT to have a mesh skimmer dealio with which to scoop and strain the crispy squigglies.
heat some oil
watch the noodles sizzle!
delicate, fried noodles
From there, the rest is straightforward and quick. Although the recipe calls for pouring a beaten egg into the hot oil to fry into shreds, I skipped that part – mostly because I forgot. Stir fry the shrimp (butterfly them before cooking to make them pretty) and dump everything else into the pan and you’re all set.
mix up the sauce
add it to the stir-fried shrimp
mix in the noodles and everything else
Dare I say it? I think this is as good as Min’s. The first time I made it, the noodles sogged up a bit while I was photographing the process. The second time (yeah, it was that good) it was a good balance of crunchy and chewy with that whole spectrum of flavors square dancing in my mouth. Even though it is generally listed as an appetizer, we had it for lunch both times. Phew! Saved me a trip to Southern California – but I won’t stop going!
if you’re nice, i might share
from Thai Cooking Made Easy by Sukhum Kittivech
1 1/2 oz. (40 g) rice vermicelli
oil for deep-frying
1 beaten egg (I omitted)
1/3 lb. (150 g) raw shrimp, shelled (but leave tail on), deveined, and butterflied
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsps vinegar
2 tbsps tamarind juice
5 tbsps sugar
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsps preserved garlic, minced
1/4 lb. (115 g) bean sprouts
Break the rice vermicelli apart by hand so that they are separated and not some tangle of a mess. Heat the oil for deep frying (about 2 cups in a medium saucepan). It’s ready when you drop a rice stick in and it floats to the top. Place a handful of rice vermicelli in the hot oil (not all at once!) and remove them as they float to the top and set aside on paper towels. If the noodles are burning then reduce the heat. Fry all of the noodles this way until you are done. Reduce heat to medium. If using egg, slowly pour the egg into the oil and fry until the shreds become golden. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. In a frying pan or wok, heat a tablespoon of the oil and stir-fry the shrimp until they begin to turn white. Add the fish sauce, vinegar, tamarind juice, sugar, paprika, preserved garlic, rice vermicelli, egg, and bean sprouts. Stir until everything is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve.