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Mee Kati – Thai Rice Noodles in Coconut Milk Recipe

There is so very much more to Thai noodles beyond the typical Pad Thai, Thai Drunken Noodles or even Pad See Ew. A less well-known, noodle dish that deserves more attention in the West is creamy coconutty Mee Kati (หมี่กะทิ), Thai Vermicelli Rice Noodles in Coconut Milk.

Mee Kati, Thai Rice Noodles in Coconut Milk

Mee Kati, Thai Rice Noodles in Coconut Milk

To prepare this classical Thai dish, coconut milk is cooked together with minced pork or shrimp, tofu, yellow soybean sauce, tamarind and other condiments to make a rich flavorful noodle sauce. Thin vermicelli rice noodles (Wai Wai) are then coated in the sauce and the final dish is garnished with thinly sliced omelet and is most delicious (and healthy!) eaten with fresh vegetables, such as banana flower, pennywort, bean sprouts and Chinese chives as accompaniments. Lime juice and ground chilies are added to individual taste at the table. Allow 20 minutes to soak the noodles and during this time you can complete most of the other preparation tasks.

Mee Kati, Thai Coconut Rice Noodle Ingredients:

Ingredients for Mee Kati

Ingredients for Mee Kati

1. Soak the rice noodles immersed in room temperature water for 20 minutes to soften.

Wai Wai Thin Rice Vermicelli Noodles

Soak the rice vermicelli

2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Beat egg and cook through without stirring until firm. Slide the omelet from the pan and cool. Roll and cut into shreds. Set aside.

Omelet for Garnish

Egg Omelet for Garnish

2. If using shrimp, peel and clean, remove tail and remove the black vein from the back. Chop finely, set aside.

3. Cut tofu into pieces.

Firm Tofu

Firm Tofu cut into pieces

4. Clean bean sprouts, removing the tails.

Fresh bean sprouts

Pinch the tail off the bean sprouts

5. Clean garlic chives or spring onions. Cut bottom portion into 2 1/2 inch lengths and tops into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside in two portions, keeping a small portion separate to garnish the final dish.

6. Slice red chili lengthwise and cut into thin strips (julienne). Set aside.

Red pepper for garnish

Julienne fresh red pepper for garnish

7. Heat the coconut milk in a wok or large saucepan over high heat. When it boils, add the yellow bean sauce, shallots, tofu and ground pork. Stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the mixture comes to the boil. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Yellow Bean Sauce

Add the Yellow Bean Sauce

Cook Pork in Coconut Milk

Cook Pork in Coconut Milk

8. Stir in the palm sugar, tamarind juice and dried red chili pepper (or reserve and add to taste) making sure to break up any clumps of meat and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Tamarind, Sugar, Chili Pepper

Tamarind Concentrate, Ground Chili Peppers and Sugar

9. Stir in the noodles, mix well and continue cooking until the sauce is absorbed. If the noodles do not completely soften, stir in a little water and cook another minute. Stir in the beansprouts and Chinese chives and mix well. Remove to a serving platter.

Add rice vermicelli to coconut sauce

Add rice vermicelli to coconut sauce

10. Garnish the noodles with the shredded egg, cilantro leaves, Chinese chives or spring onions and julienned red chili pepper and serve with lime wedges and fresh vegetables: bean sprouts, sliced cucumber. Top with ground chili pepper to taste and fish sauce if desired. In Thailand, banana flower and pennywort leaves are also often eaten with Mee Kati.

Mee Kati, Rice Noodles in Coconut Milk

Mee Kati, Rice Noodles in Coconut Milk (Click to enlarge)

Cook’s notes: As with all Thai dishes, there are numerous ways to make Mee Kati (หมี่กะทิ). In the South of Thailand, you will find Mee Kati sold by street vendors, colored a pale pink by the addition of ketchup. The version here is more of a Central Thai (Bangkok) style, but if you would like to experiment with the pink coloring, try adding just a couple of tablespoons of ketchup to the sauce before mixing with the noodles, so as not to alter the taste.

Mee Kati, Rice Noodles in Coconut Milk

Mee Kati in Southern Thailand

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