Fire Noodles

15–20 (or to taste) Thai bird chilies, stemmed and seeded

5–10 (or to taste) cloves garlic

1 pound presliced fresh rice noodles (available at Asian grocery stores and on the Internet)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons sweet black soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon white pepper

1½ tablespoons sugar

1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained

1½ cups loose-packed basil and/or mint

  • Place the chilies and garlic cloves in a food processor and process until thoroughly mashed together; set aside.

  • Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the noodles in a large colander and pour the hot water over them. Carefully unfold and separate the noodles; set aside.

  • Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, carefully add the reserved chili-garlic mixture and stir-fry for 15 seconds to release the aromas.

  • Raise the heat to high, add the chicken, and stir-fry until it begins to lose its color, about 30 seconds.

  • Stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, and sugar.

  • Add the noodles and continue to stir-fry for 30 seconds, tossing them with the other ingredients.

  • Add the bamboo shoots and cook for another minute.

  • Turn off the heat and add the basil.

Cooling Down

If you bite into a chili that is just too hot to handle, try sucking on a spoonful of sugar or sucking on a hard candy.

Serves 4–6

These noodles live up their name — they are not for the faint of heart! The thick, lush noodles somehow have the ability to stand up to the power of the superhot Thai bird chilies and their garlic sidekick.

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