Monday, February 3, 2014

Mee Ka La cold rice noodle vermicelli

Mee Ka La Noodles
My friend Soklim introduced me to this dish a few years ago.  Growing up, my mother made all sorts of cold noodle dishes served with fish sauce but I never had Mee Ka La.  Soklim tried to explain it to me, telling me there were noodles, fresh herbs, etc. and I kept asking her, "Are you sure you're not talking about banh hoi?", another cold noodle dish usually served with meat and fried eggrolls.

We went over for dinner one night and she
had prepped the noodles for us.  The noodles were not the same as banh hoi and it was topped with hard-boiled eggs.  After a bite, I a was a fan of the light noodle dish.

Banh Hoi Rice Vermicelli Noodles
I was planning on making fried lo mein for one of my dishes to bring to a Superbowl potluck but I thought I would make something on the lighter side.  Then it dawned on me, I can try to make Mee Ka La!  This recipe slightly varies and the noodles are different.

Mami-Eggroll's Mee Ka La

This makes a large party size tray

  • 3 packages of fresh banh canh noodles (in the refrigerator section of any Asian store)
  • 1 strip of pork belly (the Cambodians call it "3 layer pork meat") 
  • fish sauce
  • 6 hard boiled eggs (or more if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons of fried garlic
  • Sweet fish sauce Dip, recipe here  or you can buy it pre-made from any Southeast Asian restaurant or fast food place  (I stock up on homemade sweet fish sauce every time I visit mom in CT)

Side Vegetables

  • 2 cups of beansprouts
  • 4-5 Baby cucumbers- sliced
  • jalapenos - sliced
  • fresh mint (one bunch)
  • fresh scallion (one bunch)
  • fresh cilantro (one handful)

Prepare at least 2 hours prior to cooking the noodle dish
Cut the pork belly in thirds and marinate the pork belly with a dash of dish sauce, salt, sugar and optional MSG
Raw Pork Belly
Slowly roast the pork belly in the oven on 250 degrees for an an hour and half ( I used the countertop Nuwave oven to converse energy because I'm so "green" JK)

Roast Pork belly 1/2 way there
Once the skin is crispy and hard, remove the pork from the oven and slice into strips

These steps can be done once you are about to serve the noodles
Wash all the vegetables and herbs and set aside to drain.
Slice scallions and set aside
Slice the hard boiled eggs

Boil a large stock pot filled 3/4 of the way with water
Add fresh noodles to the boiling water one package at a time
Fill another stock pot of cold water
Once the noodles float to the top, use tongs to remove the noodles and place into the other stock pot with cold water
Was the noodles a couple of times to remove the "slime" of the noodles and to cool the noodles
Place a new package of fresh noodles into the boiling stock pot on the stove
Repeat the above steps
Drain the cold noodles, you can use a paper towel to remove excess moisture

Once the noodles have completely cooled, add the chopped scallions and fried scallions and carefully fold it into the noodles without breaking the long strands

When the dish is ready to be served, add the garlic tossed noodles to the bowl and layer it with your favorite vegetables and meat/egg toppings.  Top of the bowl with a few tablespoons of sweet fish sauce and chili paste for a kick!  I love adding extra mint and extra sweet fish sauce!  Enjoy!

I had to make the noodles "transport-friendly" so I packed the noodles separate from the fresh vegetables and herbs on aluminum trays

Cambodian Ba Baw Kroeung Rice Porridge

Mee Ka Thung Recipe