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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tom Yum Fried Vermicelli 冬炎 炒米粉

Life is getting much more hectic! I started taking a writing class just recently and that has taken so much of my time! But as much as I find it hard to believe it myself, it has been fun so far! There is so much to learn, plenty to share and even more to brush up and work on. Anyway, that explained why I have been missing in action for such a good while. The bad news? Now that I have got the class rolling (despite just one single course), this rather messed-up routine of mine will be tagging me for now... at least until the class officially comes to an end.

The bad bad news? It has really siphoned almost all of my time and energy in me. I have less time for house chores, less time for grocery shopping and almost no time left for any action (big or small) in the kitchen. Baking has altogether ceased, the kitchen can go untouched for days at times and all that I have now is probably just enough time to make a quick bite on especially days with classes and others with a due date to meet. Lunch and dinner have become exceptionally simple - they are whatever that I can make out of the few ingredients that I can find sitting in the pantry and fridge.

This - the blogging - is one that I'm not entirely willing to forgo. In order to make this workable for me, I believe what's being blogged about from now will be a whole series of real simple cooking. It probably is time anyway to think and get serious about filing those 30-minute meals recipes that everyone can benefit from at some points or another (in my case, almost all the time now).

Here's the first one on the list! Tom yum fried vermicelli! It wasn't that long ago when I first had this. Mom was the first to discover it in the morning market that she frequented. It definitely was a love at first taste for her. Sure enough, she soon recommended that I tried that too and that was... WOW! Pretty unique, honestly! It is far different from the usual soup version of tom yum that we are so accustomed to. This is a real great variation to cooking using the tom yum paste. Words, however, won't do justice. You have to try it for yourself!

Here's a list to what I would think as essential to whipping up this dish - vermicelli, meat and/or seafood (any of your preferred choice), bean sprouts (that will be the main source of fiber!), a carrot (for an extra hue and crunch) and of most importance - the tom yum paste. Find a real good brand that you like because that ultimately will be the key that unlocks every potential this tom yum fried vermicelli has. Just one last thing capable of adding a little magic to the dish - a few leaves of kaffir lime. It always is a huge plus if you have them but worry not if you don't - it's still gonna be fine. You won't need a bunch, just a couple should suffice in giving you that hint of lime and fragrance.

the trusted brand

On a separate note, here's a totally random quote that so aptly describes what I have been feeling of late...

"The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”  
― Michel Legrand

Lets get cooking!

Tom Yum Fried Vermicelli 冬炎 炒米粉 
Serves 4-5

(A) Tom yum fried vermicelli
200g vermicelli, soaked to soften then drained
1 large piece chicken breast, excess fat trimmed
1 lb beansprouts, ends trimmed and rinsed
1 medium-sized carrot, rinsed and peeled
1 red onion, peeled and halved
5 kaffir lime leaves, rinsed
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsps tom yum paste
25ml water
light soy sauce to taste
few pinches of salt and white pepper powder
3-4 tbsps cooking oil

Chicken marinade
few dashes of white pepper powder
1½ tsps light soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn starch

1. Thinly sliced the chicken breast.

2. Marinate with the chicken marinade and leave marinated for at least an hour or two in the refrigerator.

3. Julienne the carrot and slice the red onion. With the kaffir lime leaves, remove the midrib and stalk and discard. Stack the leaves together and julienne crosswise. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a wok over high. Once well heated, add in the minced garlic and stir fry until aromatic and slightly browned. Add in the julienned kaffir lime leaves next. The fragrance from the kaffir lime leaves should be instantaneous. Add in the red onion. Toss until the onion looks slightly wilted.
5. Add in the tom yum paste followed by water. Smoothen the paste using the spatula. Add more water if you find that the paste is still way too dry (likewise you can add water to the paste in a bowl prior to adding them into the wok).
6. Pushing the content in the wok to one side, add in the chicken next. Break the chicken pieces up as you stir fry. Mix them up with the paste and keep stirring until the meat color changes.
7. Add in the vermicelli next. Toss to mix evenly (best done with a pair of chopstick). Be sure to keep tossing to make sure that the bottom does not get burnt. Sprinkle in some water (do it sparingly) if it appears to be too dry.
8. Again pushing everything to one side of the wok, add in the beansprouts followed by some salt and white pepper powder. Scoop the vermicelli over the beansprouts and let cook for about a minute or two (the steam trapped beneath will work its way up and cook the beansprouts). Toss and mix everything together well after that.
9. Add in the julienned carrot. Drizzle in a round or two of light soy sauce. Toss to mix well. Have a taste at it and if necessary, add more light soy sauce to taste. Keep tossing with each addition until everything in the wok in well mixed.

10. Remove from heat and it's good to be served.

(B) Shredded omelet
5 eggs (I used 3 whole eggs plus 2 with just the whites)
1/4 tsp light soy sauce
few dashes white pepper powder
cooking oil to oil the pan

1. Break the eggs in a bowl. Add in light soy sauce and white pepper powder and beat to mix well.

2. Lightly oil a non-stick large skillet with a little cooking oil, wiping off the rest with a paper towel. Bring to heat on high. Once well heated, turn the heat down to medium-low. Ladle in a portion of the beaten egg to form a thin layer throughout the skillet. Swirl to coat the entire skillet evenly. Leave undisturbed to let set. The thin rims will be slightly detached from the skillet when set.
3. Using a flat spatula, carefully lift and flip the omelet over when the bottom has browned nicely. Let fry gently on the other side until evenly browned. Remove and set on a plate to let cool.
4. Repeat with the remaining beaten egg.

5. Once cooled down enough to be handled with hands, halve the omelet and stack them up. Slice them into thin shreds. Set aside and they are ready!

To serve
Spoon a serving of tom yum fried vermicelli onto a serving plate. Top with shredded eggs and dig in!


  1. Good choice! I use the same brand too. LOL I like it that it has all spices in it and very little numbers or artificial things. This is my quick to do dish too.

    1. I couldn't agree with you more! I had tried a couple other brands on those occasions that I couldn't get hold of this particular one, and none was as good as this! :)

    2. hello... stumble upon your blog with some malaysian food recipe.. are you in MI now?? I am in MI too...:)

  2. I am really hungry and thinking to cook just right away! it's 10 pm!!!

    1. Hahhahaha, I wonder if you did cook this late at night that day. I'm glad it looks appealing to you! :)

  3. Chinese food is my weakness, I can have it anytime anywhere, this looks good and easy to make. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us, going to try it out

  4. Hi thank you for contributing this recipe. I’d like to use prawns instead of chicken. Would you by any chance know how long I should I marinade the prawns for?


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