Rice Noodles with Garlic and Herbs Recipe

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tamarind (from a pliable block)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (preferably naam pla)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 pound dried flat rice noodles (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4 pint vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves or Italian basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
  1. In an 8- or 9-inch skillet heat 1 cup oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and fry shallot, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer shallot with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Fry garlic in same hot oil and drain in same manner.
  2. In a small bowl stir together tamarind and warm water, mashing tamarind gently, and strain mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing hard on solids. Stir in fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and water.
  3. In a large bowl soak noodles in cold water to cover 15 minutes. Drain noodles and in a kettle of boiling salted water cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. In a colander drain noodles and rinse under cold water. Drain noodles well.
  4. In a large skillet cook onion and bell pepper in remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and add tomatoes, noodles, and sauce. Cook mixture, stirring, until heated through. Add herbs, garlic, and shallot and toss noodles well.