Pink Saturday - Beverly, at the blog "How Sweet the Sound" hosts Pink Saturday. Let the color pink inspire you!
In my personal opinion, one of the most highly addictive substances known to mankind is the Thai noodle appetizer called Mee Krob.
Rice noodles are plunged into hot oil so they flash-fry, puff slightly and get crispy, and then are dressed in a sweet-salty dressing, tossed with bean sprouts, chopped cabbage, chunks of chicken or shrimp, and cilantro.
When you pick it up with your fork or chopsticks, it's a tangle of stiffly curled noodles, clinging together, and crunching between your teeth with a sweetness and a salty tang. It's like Thai Kettle Corn. It's that addictive.
The place I like to get Thai food is Cholada Beach, right on Pacific Coast Highway across from Topanga Beach. It's a little seaside shack, with seating in a screened-in porch and more seating outside in the back. When you come inside, there's usually a couple of kitchen helpers sitting at a table near the counter, pulling leaves off stems of fresh herbs from the market.
The way they make Mee Krob, it's a dusky temping pink, with big chunks of cooked chicken, and a couple of big succulent shrimp. The dressing is traditionally made with a mixture of something sweet - palm sugar - something salty - Thai fish sauce - and something sour. In some recipes it's vinegar and lime juice. In other recipes, they call for lime juice and tamarind juice. I think Cholada uses tamarind juice. It must be the reason the meat and shrimp are suffused with a deep pink stain from the dressing.
The combination of sweet and salty, and the wonderfully puffy crunch makes you want to keep on shoveling it into your mouth. This is the kind of dish compulsive eaters go for to soothe their wounded souls - after all, wasn't this a favorite dish of Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional heroine of "Sex in the City"?
After all that pink sweetness you need to refresh the palate with something else. I've just discovered a salad dish called Nam Sod Kao Tod.
This is made with with cooked rice, mixed with spices and egg and formed into patties, then fried until it's crispy. You can tell this is one of the great universal recipes for using leftovers.
After the rices is fried crispy and let to drain, ground meat, seasoned with garlic and mashed together with rice is steamed until just cooked. Traditionally, pork is used but here at Cholada Beach they use ground chicken breast.
The crumbly ground meat is tossed with red onions, bean sprouts, cabbage and slivers of ginger or galangal. Then the cakes of crispy fried rice are broken up and tossed with the meat and vegetables. It's all dressed with lime juice and fish sauce, and garnished with flaked red chile and roasted peanuts.
After the Mee Krob, it puckers your mouth refreshingly, and gives a nice chile bite.
Thai food is known for balancing the combination of sweet, sour, hot and salty all in the same dish. It's also known for it's visual appeal - a pretty presentation on the plate.
If you haven't tried Mee Krob, think about it for this Pink Saturday's dinner.