For about $1.50 you can get a plate of noodles made to order in one of Cambodia's many street carts or humble sit-down eateries. I had it often during my vacation there recently. Fresh, delicious and cheap - it made for a satisfying meal every time. The noodles were slightly saucy, with a hint of hot spice and topped with a glorious fried egg. (Anything that involves a fried egg is sure to be a culinary hit with me.)
Of course when I returned home, it was the first dish I tried to recreate, trying to remember the techniques I observed from watching the street chefs expertly wield their sauces and ingredients like wizards with woks. What follows may not be the most accurate recipe but my interpretation of fond memories...
CAMBODIAN STREET NOODLES
6 oz Chinese chow mein stir fry noodles
2 - 3 tbsp fish sauce
2 - 3 tbsp Golden Mountain soybean seasoning
1 - 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
1 cup spinach leaves
1 cup crimini mushrooms sliced thinly
1 large egg
1. To blanch broccoli florets, place in a bowl of boiling hot water for five minutes then transfer to a bowl of ice cold water. Save the hot water for use later.
2. Place chow mein noodles in a bowl of boiling hot water for 3 minutes (until al dente) then drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok (or a nonstick saucepan) with medium heat.
3. Saute the sliced mushrooms for 5 minutes.
4. Add the fish sauce, soybean seasoning and sriracha sauce in the wok and mix well together. Throw in the noodles and cook until it absorbs most of the sauce. Throw in some of the hot water (a tbsp at a time) if it gets too dry or starts sticking.
5. Add the broccoli florets and saute for two minutes.
5. Add the spinach leaves and saute until just wilted then transfer everything onto a plate or bowl.
6. Without turning down the heat, crack open the egg and fry on both sides. The yolk is supposed to be cooked through per Cambodian style, not runny, so fry for at least five minutes. Place the fried egg on top of the noodles and serve immediately!