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Sour tomato ginger noodles

This recipe, which is based on some of my favourite aspects of Shan-Thai cuisine, serves three for a snack or two for a filling meal. The steps sound complicated. Why not just bung everything together in a saucepan and pour it over? Do that if you’d like. I prepare it this way so diners can dress their bowls to taste. You may have some of the sour water leftover, depending on how much you choose to add to the noodles. My seasoning measures are suggestings based on my preferences, but you can amend quantities to suit.
Cuisine: Thai


  • Blender
  • Pestle and mortar


Tomato water

  • 230-250 grams tomatoes
  • 80 millilitres water ⅓ cup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Ginger water

  • 15 grams young ginger sliced
  • 15 millilitres water 1 tablespoon

Sour water

  • 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.


Fancy making your own rice noodles (kway teow sen yai in Thai)? You can find my recipe for homemade rice noodles here.
You can make the peanuts by frying them, sans all other ingredients, like in my Thai herbal fried peanuts recipe.
Prik bon jeow is effectively prik bon fried in some oil until a shade or three darker. Add a dash of sesame oil too, if you'd like.
Gratiem jeow, or crispy fried garlic in oil, is a condiment you will use over and over. Make plenty.
Black or dark soy sauce through a Thai lens is not the same as Chinese dark soy sauces you may see on supermarket shelves. You can read my Thai soy and seasoning sauce primer for more information.