Being half Thai I'm lucky enough to be able to eat real Thai food. My favorite, simple, easy dish is noodles. The actual name of this dish is too complicated to spell, so it's just easier to call it Thai beef noodle soup, because essentially, that's what it is. It's very similar to Pho. It's practically almost the same thing. Almost. Here's a simple, easy way to make this delicious and hearty dish. Perfect for any day of the year, but especially on rainy days or cold winter nights. Also, you can make a large pot of it and store it in the freezer for a later time for an easy and fast meal!
NOTE: These measurements are all estimates. My mom has never taught me the measurement amount of these ingredients, it's always been based more on taste! So, some of these measurements may need to be increased (or decreased too if you experiment and make it more than once!)
First, take the "bundle" of noodles and put them in a large bowl and fill with hot water. Right after you fill the bowl with water, fill a tea kettle with water and place on stove to boil. Place your strips of beef into a small-medium sized bowl (if using beef)
While the water on the stove is heating and the noodles are sitting in the water, place the water in a medium sauce pan along with the beef paste. Also add just a few small squirts of the fish sauce into the saucepan as well. Stir well together on medium heat, adding more beef paste/fish sauce as needed (if the water tastes kind of bland just add more of the beef paste until it tastes good to you).
While the broth is heating, pour out the water from the noodles using a strainer or collander and place back into the bowl. When the tea kettle starts whistiling, pour the hot water into the bowl on the noodles. If you're using the beef strips, save some of the hot water and pour onto the beef. Stir the beef around in the hot water, and once the beef is a grayish color pour the water out so that you don't overcook the beef. Set aside. If you are using the meatballs, place them into the broth.
Check on the broth and if it's hot enough and the taste is just right, turn the stove down on low. Pour the water with the noodles out of the bowl using the same strainer or collander. Keep the noodles in the strainer or collander and place it ontop of the bowl (so that any remaining water may strain into the bowl instead of on your counter). Make sure the noodles are soft but still a little firm (or al dente).
Lastly, take a medium sized soup bowl and choose the amount of noodles you want. The next step is to choose the amount of meat you want and any of the other sides (the green onions, cilantro, etc.). If you decide to use the garlic, vinegar, and fish sauce start out with a small amount. I didn't put a measurement because each person is different in what they like. I like mine to be more garlicy and kind of sour, so I add a lot of garlic and a lot of vinegar. If you want to have less sourness use just a little bit or no vinegar. If you add fish sauce to it, do not put too much in. Just a couple "shakes" will do. Once you've got everything loaded into your bowl the last step is to add the broth. Add as much or as little as you want. I like to fill mine up, my mom on the other hand fills it half way. What ever your hearts desire! :) once you've added the broth, mix it all together, stir it around, and taste test it. This is when you decide if you want to add more of anything like garlic, vinegar, or fish sauce. Or perhaps you want to add more of the veggies. If it tastes just right, you're all set! Enjoy with a big spoon and a set of chopsticks, or a fork! ;) Enjoy!