Hawaii is one of the few places where I was more excited about the environment than the food. However, that has quickly changed over the last couple of years. I feel like I never took advantage of their fantastic food selections until recently. On my latest trip to the island, I was finally able to dine at Pig and the Lady, a famous Vietnamese restaurant. One dish that stuck with me was their anchovy garlic noodles. Ramen noodles are stir-fried with loads of garlic and cilantro and it's absolutely delicious. So, as a nod to Pig and the Lady, I created my own version, Thai shrimp with garlicky noodles. The noodles with lemongrass marinated shrimp, crunchy breadcrumbs, and fresh lime juice are, in my opinion, a truly wonderful balance of flavors.
Thai Shrimp with Garlicky Noodles
- 1 lb shrimp peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 1 stalk lemongrass bruised
- 2 shallots chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ inch knob ginger minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- juice of ½ lime
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 15 garlic cloves grated
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 lb spaghetti
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- lime wedges for serving
- Combine shrimp with remaining ingredients including lemongrass, shallots, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, oil, black pepper, red chili flakes, turmeric, and lime juice. Let sit for 1 hour.
- Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Remove shrimp from marinade and cook until pink and firm. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, make sauce for noodles. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped scallions and saute until fragrant but not browned. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of pasta water.
- Return the pan with noodle sauce back to heat. Add cooked noodles and reserved pasta water, stirring until well combined. Season pasta with salt and pepper. Portion noodles into bowls and top with Thai shrimp, a generous sprinkle of breadcrumbs, and chopped cilantro. Squeeze lime juice on top and serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Pig and the Lady's anchovy garlic noodles do not have protein but you can add shrimp or even brisket if you want to. I wanted to make my dish the main course so I decided to add Thai shrimp.
Why did I decide to call it Thai shrimp and not Vietnamese shrimp? Because the marinade is based on a Thai bbq chicken recipe that I use.
To make the marinade, simply combine all of the ingredients together and pour it over the peeled deveined shrimp. Since we're cooking shrimp, you only need to marinate it for 1 hour instead of overnight. However, if you're using chicken, pork, or beef instead, you can marinate it overnight. You can also swap out the shrimp for fish, scallops, or even tofu.
When the shrimp is ready, remove it from the marinade and cook it on the stove until pink and firm. Remove from heat and keep it warm while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Next, let's move on to the noodles. The garlicky noodles get most of their flavor from the garlic but we're also adding soy sauce, scallions, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar for more balance. If you're not a fan of fish sauce, substitute it with soy sauce.
Now for the garlic itself, you want to make sure to grate it. When you grate garlic, you are helping it release the essential juices and oils that give the noodles their punch of flavor. The easiest way I found to grate garlic was to use a microplane.
Melt ¼ cup butter in a large saucepan and add the garlic and scallions. Yes, we are using 15 cloves of garlic. It may seem like a lot but the whole idea is to make garlicky noodles.
Saute the aromatics until golden brown, then add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.
Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, adding ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. The pasta water will help bind the sauce with the noodles. Season the noodles with salt and pepper then portion them into bowls. Top the noodles with Thai shrimp, a generous sprinkle of bread crumbs, and chopped cilantro. I highly, highly recommend the breadcrumbs - they add an incredible crunch to the entire dish.
Squeeze fresh lime and dig in! The lime juice is a must because it adds acid, balancing out the garlic and soy.
Guys, when I first tried these Thai shrimp with garlicky noodles, my eyes almost popped out of my head. They were absolutely delicious. Every bite is full of umami, with just the right amount of garlic, crunch, and acid. I think Hawaii would be proud.
For more Asian noodle inspiration check out these sticky roasted chicken with noodles!