This sour tomato noodles recipe doesn't represent one specific Thai dish. The seasonings, however, are modelled on those used to flavour a local Chiang Rai favourite called khao raem fun or khao raem kun, which is comprised of dressed rice tofu. My preference is for silky, wide, fresh rice noodles but you can use dried rice noodles if you wish.
And now for a brief digression. I rue and cheer in equal measure how little of Thailand's Northern foods make it past provincial borders, let alone onto our plates in Europe. This is food I want everyone to experience, but another feeling accompanies this sentiment; I am grateful every so-called influencer isn't wantonly inventing it as a cheap giveaway from the vapid to the unimaginative.
The range of ingredients and flavours in this region is no surprise given the diversity of its population. This convergance of local ethnic groups descended from Burmese and Chinese migrants has resulted in a brilliant cultural commingling of foods. These sour tomato noodles bring some of those flavours together, with heavy inspiration and borrowing from Shan Thai, or Tai Yai, cuisine.
Sour tomato ginger noodles
- Pestle and mortar
- 230-250 grams tomatoes
- 80 millilitres water ⅓ cup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 15 grams young ginger sliced
- 15 millilitres water 1 tablespoon
- 80 millilitres water ⅓ cup
- 60 millilitres apple cider vinegar ¼ cup
- 30 grams shaved cane jaggery 3 tablespoons
To dish up (per bowl):
- 125 grams fresh rice hor fun noodles see notes
- 75 millilitres prepared tomato sauce approximately
- 1-3 tablespoons sour water 15-45 millilitres
- 2-3 teaspoons ginger water 10-15 millilitres
- 2-3 teaspoons finely ground toasted sesame seeds
- 2-3 teaspoons finely ground toasted peanuts see notes
- 1-2 teaspoons prik bon jeow or chilli oil see notes
- 1-2 teaspoons fried garlic + oil Gratiem jeow – see notes
- ½-1 teaspoon black soy sauce see notes
- Handful shredded cabbage
- Handful blanched bean sprouts
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped coriander and spring onion mix
- Extra salt and MSG to taste
- To make the tomato water, blend the tomatoes and water to a thin consistency. Pour into a small saucepan, add salt, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes.
- To make the ginger water, pound the ginger with a pestle and mortar until broken down into a paste. Add the water and muddle around until combined.
- For the sour water, add the water, vinegar, and jaggery to small saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- If your noodles are not completely fresh (i.e. made that day and never refrigerated), you will need to cook them briefly. To do this, bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Use a noodle basket or a mesh strainer to dunk the noodles in the boiling pot before tipping into the serving bowls. Do this one portion at a time. If you haven’t already blanched the bean sprouts, you can do so using this same pot of boiling water.
- Distribute the tomato water, sour water, and ginger water over the noodles. Add ground sesame seeds and peanuts, along with the prik jeow, fried garlic, and a slight drizzle of the black soy sauce. Top with the cabbage, blanched sprouts, and herbs.
- Serve with additional salt and some MSG.