The combination of crispy noodles, prawn and crab makes a delicious dish that the whole family can tuck into. This Thai-infused meal is bursting with flavour thanks to the ginger, garlic and spring onions. The trick for getting perfect crispy noodles according to the Hairy Bikers is to drop the noodles straight into the hot oil – no blanching needed. Make sure you remember that they do expand, so it’s important to cook them in batches.
- Vegetable or groundnut oil
- 125g thin rice noodles
- 5 Thai shallots (or 1 banana shallot), thinly sliced
- 400g raw, peeled tiger prawns, deveined
- 20g fresh root ginger, finely grated
- 3 garlic cloves, grated or crushed
- 20g galangal, finely grated
- 3 spring onions, cut lengthways and thinly sliced
- 150g fresh bean sprouts
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced and cut into matchstick strips
- 200g fresh picked white crabmeat
- Big handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Big handful of mint, leaves picked from the stems (do not chop or the leaves will go brown)
- Big handful of holy basil
- For the dressing:
- 2 heaped tbsp grated palm sugar
- 5tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 3tbsp fresh lime juice
- To garnish:
- 1 large red chilli, sliced at an angle
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
First make the dressing. Mix the palm sugar and fish sauce until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lime juice, then set aside.
Pour enough oil for deep-frying into a wok or a large deep saucepan and heat to 180–190°C. Don’t allow the oil to overheat and never leave hot oil unattended. To test the temperature, add a small cube of bread. If the oil is hot enough, the bread will turn crisp and golden and float to the top in a few seconds. Fry the noodles in batches – each batch will cook in seconds. Add a batch to the pan and cook until the noodles are puffed up and turning a pale golden colour. Carefully remove the noodles with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. They’ll look a bit like a giant haystack!
Wipe the wok and add 3 tablespoons of fresh oil, then fry the shallots until crispy. Remove them from the wok, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Put the wok back on the heat and add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the prawns and stir or toss them until they are slightly opaque. Add the ginger, garlic and galangal and sauté for a couple of minutes. Continue to cook and stir until the prawns are cooked. Tip the contents of the wok into a large bowl and add the crispy shallots.
Now add the spring onions, bean sprouts, lime leaves and crabmeat, then the dressing and the herbs. Mix everything together, but be gentle so you don’t crush the herbs. We find that using our hands is best for this.
To serve, take a large bowl and layer the salad, starting with a layer of crispy noodles, then alternating layers of prawn and crab mixture and noodles. Garnish with slices of chilli and lime wedges and serve straight away.
Top tip for making Hairy Bikers’ crispy noodles with prawn and crab
You can prepare everything in advance but keep the noodles, herbs, prawn and crab mix separate and put them all together at the last minute.