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i could get used to this

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

sticky geranium

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

pickled/preserved garlic

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)

noodle shreds

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

Mee Krob
[print recipe]
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.

32 nibbles at “i could get used to this”

  1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga says:

    that sauce looks STELLAR! I can just see the heat and flavor in it….wow, delish!

  2. tami says:

    i’ve had this dish once…and until now…i had forgotten about how much i loved it. thanks for sharing and reminding me. xo

  3. kathy says:

    Looks delicious!
    And I love your photos of your latest trip, especially the Hummingbirds.

  4. Kath says:

    I have been enjoying your photos from Crested Butte so much! Gorgeous!

    Your Mee Krob does look easy, and delicious! Forget about lunch…I’d like it for breakfast this morning. ;)

  5. Kristin says:

    mostly because you forgot…ha! I think my kids would love this if I could get over my aversion to frying. I need a better vent hood, one that vents outside. We are currently visiting colleges, & good Asian restaurants within walking distance of campus is high on my daughter’s list of requirements.

  6. TheKitchenWitch says:

    That little rufous is so adorable! Dang, you’re good. xo

  7. Bev Weidner says:

    I just fainted reading this. L.O.V.E.

  8. Bonnie@WhatAboutPie says:

    Your photos are absolutely stunning. Really, they inspire me to want to learn how to take better pictures. Crested Butte is so beautiful…I’ve never been there, I’m just going by what I see here and wow, I would love to visit there. My husband would LOVE the mountain biking! My favorite photo on this post is the one of the wildflowers with the fence…so beautiful!

  9. ailo says:

    Mmm, thank you for including gram weights!

    My boyfriend is traveling to Crested Butte next week for a “coding retreat” which really means lots of biking and coding when he’s too tired to move – is there anything in particular that you would recommend while he’s there? Any must-explore spots, or super good restaurants? (I am so jealous that work is keeping me here instead)

    Also, this post was funny to me because a friend of mine just started a physics blog, and this is the name he picked for himself: His tagline is “real science, reasonable rates” which cracks me up every time.

    You have such beautiful adventures, thanks for sharing.

  10. la domestique says:

    Wow, your photos from Crested Butte are wonderful! Love the hummingbirds and wildflowers. The Mee Krob looks tasty too!

  11. Andrew says:

    wow colorado is just gorgeous year round- I kinda wish we had real seasons in california

  12. Sil says:

    Jen, your photos are so good (as always)! Crested Butte is a fantastic place. And the recipe…. wow! Thank you for sharing.

  13. Margie says:

    I’m pretty sure this is a must-do. Actually, I’m darn sure of it!


  14. Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily says:

    Yeah. i could most def live here. *sighhh
    putting this on my ‘must go to’ list.
    love all Asian foods as well. I’m with ya. loving the thought of making this dish.

  15. Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily says:

    oh, pinned ya! ;)

  16. Mrs Ergül says:

    Now this is one Thai appetizer I have not had before! I love seeing the Thai food essentials in the last photo. Chili padi, lime and cilantro!

  17. deb says:

    Great pictures of Crested Butte. Hands down one of my favorite places…
    and your site is one of my favorites as well! All the best to you.

  18. Rachael @ Tokyo Terrace says:

    We usually make a trip to Crested Butte in the summer, but this summer we weren’t able to. Your photos make me miss it so much! So beautiful…

  19. Joy says:

    That looks great! I love the recipe.

  20. Meg says:

    Oh how I miss Min’s! This looks soooooo tasty!

  21. Bridget says:

    Funny rufous story – the first time my husband (boyfriend then) stayed at my parents’ cabin in Vallecito, he watched my mom shoo the aggressive rufous hummingbirds away from the feeder so that the other (broad-tailed? I don’t know) hummingbirds could drink too. Dave didn’t know it was a type of hummingbird, so he thought she had named the red hummingbird Rufus. “Go away, Rufus!”

  22. Kelly says:

    This makes me want to visit Crested Butte! Your photos are stunning.

  23. Puna says:

    My favorite! Our noodle place doesn’t carry it anymore. They said it was too hard to make. I’ll definitely have to try it!

  24. jenyu says:

    Averie – actually, it’s not hot at all – but it’s good.

    tami – anytime, sweetcheeks!

    Kath – it’s my idea of a great brekkie too

    Kristin – you raised your daughter so well!!

    TheKitchenWitch – AND he was fiesty :)

    ailo – ugh, did I miss him already? Well, I think LoBar and Secret Stash are a must. Good food (sushi and pizza respectively). He should drop by the visitor center and get a biking trail map. Lots of great trails of all levels of difficulty.

    Andrew – well, you’ve got TWO seasons at least, right? :)

    deb – thank you!

    Rachael – bummer you’re missing out this year, you’ll just have to visit 2x as long next year, right?

    Bridget – ha ha ha ;)

  25. Joyce says:

    That looks delicious. I love crispy noodles. And your photography is stellar as usual!

    (Also, I got the fun/粉 pun! (Woohoo, unintentional rhyme on top of a pun.))

  26. ailo says:

    Hi Jen – My boyfriend got back from his trip, and he loved Secret Stash – even brought me back a menu – so I think that was a good recommendation :) And now he wants to move there, so I guess you’re not alone!

  27. Jessica Sarrazin says:

    I tried this and it was delicious but my noodles got soggy by the time I had mixed everything in the sauce. Is there a wrong kind of noodle to use?

  28. jenyu says:

    Jessica – yeah, I don’t know how to remedy that. Mine got soggy too. I think you have to eat them right away.

  29. Janet says:

    I’m a chinese kid and when I read that I giggled too. If I don’t have pickled garlic can I make my own or can I just use real garlic?

  30. jenyu says:

    Janet – I think regular garlic would be way too strong for this. You can try to make your own (look up a good recipe)?

  31. Vivian Murphy says:

    Thanks for the receipt, do you also have a version that has chicken & water chestnuts (no red sauce)?

  32. jenyu says:

    Vivian – I do not. I have never heard of that before, but it sounds lovely!

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