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Mee Krob Recipe (Thai Crispy Fried Noodles)

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Mee krob recipe complete with the best sweet and sour sauce. These Thai crispy fried noodles are deliciously sticky and sweet and are pretty easy to whip up at home.

Mee krob in a bamboo basket garnished with kaffir lime leaves, cashews, and dried chilies.

Shape them into squares and balls for an on-the-go snack with an irresistible crunch, absolutely perfect for kids.

What is mee krob

Mee krob, also known as mee grob, is a classic Thai dish featuring crispy fried noodles coated in a sweet and tangy sauce. This popular snack, often served in bite-sized squares, perfectly blends sweet, sour, and crispy textures.

 A hand holding a clear package of crispy rice noodles.
Packages of mee krob are readily available at supermarkets in Thailand.

In Thailand, these crispy rice noodles are so popular that you can just grab a pack at supermarkets! They’re also readily available at local shops at gas stations, just like khao taen (Thai crispy rice cakes) and fried banana chips.

History of mee grob

While exploring the history of this Thai noodle dish, I came across a fun legend:

King Rama V was once visitting the Talad Phlu area when he smelled something amazing. It was noodles being fried by a Chinese immigrant named Chin Li. The king just had to stop his boat to try them. He loved the noodles so much that they got a special name: mi krop ror ha (source: Wikipedia)

As the story goes, mee krob is a fusion of Chinese and Thai cuisine, much like the popular dishes pad see ew and lad na.

Traditional presentation of mee krob on banana leaves in a bamboo basket.

In Thailand, we say that these crispy noodles are ‘boran’ or ‘boraan,’ indicating their ancient origins.

In my opinion, many ‘boraan’ dishes are superior to their modern counterparts, similar to the case with Thai coffee. The next time you visit Thailand, don’t miss the chance to try a ‘café boraan’!

Thai crispy fried noodles

Mee krob is one of those dishes that once you start, you just can’t stop. It’s that perfect balance of flavors: a little salty, a touch of sweet, a dash of sour, and just the right hint of spicy.

It’s all the best Thai flavors rolled into one noodle dish but with an extra crunch.

Thai crispy fried noodles shaped into balls.

Making this rice vermicelli recipe is surprisingly simple, especially frying the noodles. They fry up in literally seconds! A quick dip in hot oil, and they puff up into crispy treats. Then, we’ll create the fragrant sauce and once the sauce is ready, we toss in the fried noodles until they soak up all that saucy goodness.

The best part of this recipe is that you can control the heat. Simply splash in some more hot sauce to turn up the heat, or keep it mild for the kids, it’s all up to you.

And if you like pad Thai, these crispy fried noodles are perfect for you. The flavors are kinda similar, and it pretty much has all the ingredients you’d find in an authentic pad Thai sauce.

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Ingredients for mee krob labeled: rice vermicelli, shallots, food coloring, lime juice, fish sauce, hot sauce, white sugar, palm sugar, tamarind paste, kaffir lime leaves, cashews, and chilies.
  • Dry thin rice vermicelli – Thin rice vermicelli noodles are perfect for soaking up the flavors of the sauce. When fried, they transform into irresistibly golden and crispy noodles with an airy crunch. You can find them at any Asian grocery store. I used Wai Wai brand.
  • Tamarind paste – This is the key ingredient for the iconic tangy flavor of mee krob. Tamarind paste brings a unique sourness that balances out the sweet, spicy, and savory notes of the sauce.
  • White sugar – White sugar balances the flavors and helps to caramelize the noodles, giving them a delightful glaze.
  • Palm sugar – This staple sweetener of Thai cuisine adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness that’s more complex than white sugar.
  • Chili sauce – I used my Thai hot sauce, but you can use any store-bought chili sauce.
  • Fish sauce – A key ingredient in Thai cooking, fish sauce adds a savory depth and creates umami. Its saltiness counters the sweet, sour, and spicy elements, providing that typical flavor balance.
  • Shallots – Shallots add a subtle, natural sweetness. You can substitute them with red onions but avoid using regular onions.
  • Lime – Fresh lime juice adds a fresh, sour note to the fried noodles. It brings that typical tang that balances the sweet and savory flavors.
  • Egg (optional) – Stir an egg into the sauce for richness and texture. The egg is optional, and this mee grob recipe will still be delicious without it.
  • Oil – Choose an oil with high smoke point and neutral flavor like vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil.
  • Red food coloring – Primarily used for presentation, giving the mee krob its appetizing hue.
  • Fried kaffir lime leaves (optional) – These optional but highly recommended additions bring a citrusy, floral aroma, spice, and crunch and nutty flavor.
  • Fried dried chilies (optional)
  • Fried cashew nuts (optional)

Cooking instructions

Cooking process of frying vermicelli noodles in a wok.

Step 1: Gently pull apart your thin rice noodles. Prepare a large wok with oil for deep-frying and heat it over high heat until it reaches 450°F (232°C). Drop in a small batch of noodles. They should puff up within 2 seconds. Quickly flip them to ensure even frying. Once puffed, remove the noodles with a spider strainer and place them on a baking sheet or mixing bowl lined with parchment paper. Continue this process with the remaining noodles.

Finely chopped shallots being sautéed in a wok.

Step 2: Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium heat. Sauté your chopped shallots until they turn golden and fragrant. If using egg, mix it into the golden shallots now.

Red sauce sizzling in a wok.

Step 3: Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in palm sugar, white sugar, tamarind paste, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and chili sauce. Stir these well and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes until it thickens while stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Add a touch of red food coloring to the sauce and reduce the heat to as low as possible.

Step 5: With the heat at its lowest, add the fried noodles to the wok. Use two spatulas to break the noodles into the sauce, breaking up any large clumps. Coat the noodles evenly, working quickly to keep the heat low to avoid burning the sauce.

Final stage of mee krob preparation in wok, showing noodles fully coated with a golden tamarind sauce.

Step 6: Once the noodles are thoroughly crushed and mixed with the sauce, remove the wok from the heat. While the mixture is still warm, you can shape the noodles or serve them like this. Finish by garnishing with fried kaffir lime leaves, cashews, and dried chilies. If you’re not serving the mee krob immediately, store it in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Kitchen tools

Here’s what you’ll need for making Thai fried noodles:

  • Baking sheet lined with paper towels for draining excess oil of fried noodles
  • Two good quality wok pans that distribute heat evenly and quickly
  • A spider strainer for scooping out those hot, crispy noodles
  • Two spatulas

Mi krop Recipe tips and tricks

Fry noodles in small batches: The noodles fry up really quick! To make sure they puff up just right, fry them in small groups. This way, they have plenty of space to expand and get crispy.

Shape your noodles: Once you mix the noodles with the sauce, shape them into balls or squares quickly before they start to set.

Balance the sauce: Thai food is all about balance. Give your sauce a taste and adjust the sweetness, sourness, and spiciness to how you like it.

Oil temperature: The best oil temperature for frying these noodles is around 450°F/232°C.

Garnish: Don’t skip on the garnishes like fried cashews, makrut lime leaves, and dried chilies. They’re optional, but they add a tasty crunch and flavor.

Type of noodles: At Asian grocery stores, you’ll find two types of rice vermicelli noodles. For mee krob, go for the thinnest ones, which look like fine threads. Remember, these are different from glass noodles (woon sen used in yum woon sen) and the thicker rice noodles used in pad Thai. You’re looking for ‘sen mee.’ To make it easier when shopping, you can show the image below at an Asian grocery store:

Pack of rice vermicelli noodles set against a banana leaf.
Rice vermicelli noodles for making mee krob.

How to serve

Serve mee krob fresh and hot. It’s ideal as an appetizer, snack, or just a light treat throughout the day. Traditionally, it’s shaped into small, bite-sized pieces, making it perfect for sharing. Feel free to sprinkle with some lime juice. Don’t forget to pair it with a cool drink like green Thai tea or cha manao.

How to store crispy noodles

Store your leftovers in an airtight container in a dry place to keep the noodles crispy. Alternatively, you can keep them in your fridge for up to a week. Just make sure to eat them while they’re still crisp!

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this ahead of time and store in an airtight container to keep the noodles crisp. However, I advise making it right before serving.

Can I make this with different noodles?

Traditional mee krob uses thin rice vermicelli, and I haven’t experimented with other noodles.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, all the sauces are gluten-free. Make sure to double-check the labeling of your store-bought ingredients.

What’s the difference between mee krob and pad Thai?

Mee krob is crispy and has a different flavor profile compared to the softer stir-fried rice noodles of pad Thai.

Is mee krob spicy?

No, mee krob has a mild spice-level.

Is this recipe suited for vegetarians?

It can be made vegetarian by omitting fish sauce and substituting with soy sauce, but this will alter the flavor profile.

Authentic Thai noodle recipes

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5 from 3 votes

Mee Krob Recipe (Thai Crispy Fried Noodles)

Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 20 mins
Servings: 2

Description

This mee krob recipe makes delicious Thai crispy fried noodles that are perfect for snacking, as an appetizer, or something in between.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Gently pull apart your thin rice noodles. Prepare a large wok with oil for deep-frying and heat it over high heat until it reaches 450°F (232°C). Drop in a small batch of noodles. They should puff up within 2 seconds. Quickly flip them to ensure even frying. Once puffed, remove the noodles with a spider strainer and place them on a baking sheet or mixing bowl lined with parchment paper. Continue this process with the remaining noodles.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium heat. Sauté your chopped shallots until they turn golden and fragrant. If using egg, mix it into the golden shallots now.

  3. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in palm sugar, white sugar, tamarind paste, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and chili sauce. Stir these well and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes until it thickens while stirring occasionally.

  4. Add a touch of red food coloring to the sauce and reduce the heat to as low as possible.

  5. With the heat at its lowest, add the fried noodles to the wok. Use two spatulas to break the noodles into the sauce, breaking up any large clumps. Coat the noodles evenly, working quickly to keep the heat low to avoid burning the sauce.

  6. Once the noodles are thoroughly crushed and mixed with the sauce, remove the wok from the heat. While the mixture is still warm, you can shape the noodles or serve them like this. Finish by garnishing with fried kaffir lime leaves, cashews, and dried chilies. If you’re not serving the mee krob immediately, store it in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Note

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Dry thin rice vermicelli: I used the Wai Wai brand, which is readily available at Asian grocery stores.
  • Fried dried chilies, kaffir lime leaves, cashews: These optional but highly recommended additions bring a citrusy, floral aroma, spice, and crunch and nutty flavor.
  • Oil temperature: The best oil temperature for frying these noodles is around 450°F/232°C.
Keywords: mee krob, mee grob, mi krop, Thai crispy fried noodles
About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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  1. Christophe

    Magnifique recette ancienne de la Thaïlande ! Vraiment excellent et facile à faire grâce à tes conseils et à ta recette. Merci pour le partage

    • Praew

      What a beautiful comment, thank you!

  1. Christophe

    Magnifique recette ancienne de la Thaïlande ! Vraiment excellent et facile à faire grâce à tes conseils et à ta recette. Merci pour le partage

    • Praew

      What a beautiful comment, thank you!