Sri Lankan Noodles (a party dish)

This is a classic festive holiday dish, which is in appearance similar to chow mein, and I suspect that, like our Chinese rolls, this dish was adapted from food made by Chinese laborers during colonial times. It can be made vegetarian easily, though my family is more likely to go in the other direction and incorporate at least 2-3 kinds of meat / shrimp.

It’s a fair bit of labor, since we prep all the ingredients in separate batches for maximal flavor, but can mostly be done in advance (even months in advance), and just have 15 minutes of prep right before the party. These noodles also freeze well after being fully prepared, so we tend to make big batches, and freeze any extra for a rainy day.

oil for deep-frying
3 medium onions, finely chopped, plus 1/4 t. salt
1 lb. shredded carrots, plus 1/4 t. salt
1 leek, sliced thinly (green and white parts), rinsed thoroughly, plus 1/2 t. salt 3 T oil
1 lb. dry beef curry (see other recipe, optional)
1 lb. dry shrimp curry (see other recipe, optional)
6 eggs, 2 T butter
4 c. chicken broth, 4 c. water
1 c. sultanas (optional)
2 lbs. dry rice vermicelli noodles
2 T butter
1 c. chopped roasted, salted, cashews (optional)

1. Prep meat and shrimp curries in advance, if using. Set aside.

2. Deep-fry onions and salt in oil until crispy. (You can also saute if preferred; it just won’t be quite as crispy.) Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

3. Repeat #2 with shredded carrots and salt. Set aside.

4. Saute leeks in 3 T oil for 10-15 minutes, until softened. Set aside.

NOTE: All the previous ingredients can be prepped in advance and either refrigerated or even frozen.

5. Scramble eggs in butter. Set aside.

6. Bring chicken broth, water, and sultanas to a rolling boil; add noodles and butter. Cook 3-5 minutes, until soft, stirring as needed. Drain.

7. Mix noodles with dry meat / shrimp, onions, carrots, leeks, eggs, and cashews, using either a wooden spoon or your clean hand. Serve hot, with a curry to accompany (something with a nice liquidy gravy is best).

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