6 ounces flat rice noodles
1/2 bunch purple basil, leaves whole, stems removed (or any fresh basil)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 ounces firm tofu, diced
1 boneless, skinless whole chicken breast, cut into strips, or 1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
3 eggs, beaten
3 garlic cloves, pureed
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon roasted chile paste or red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried shrimp
2 tablespoons finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges, for garnish
Soften the noodles according to the package directions (noodles usually need to soak in warm water for about 15 minutes), and drain. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the basil leaves and fry just until crisp, about 1 minute. Lift leaves out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to wok. Add the tofu, chicken or shrimp, salt and paprika, and stir-fry until cooked through and browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the eggs and scramble, while shredding them with a spoon, until egg is just set. Transfer everything from wok to a bowl. Wipe out the wok.
Reheat wok and add remaining tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and stirfry until aromas are released, about 10 seconds. Add the vinegar, fish sauce, palm or brown sugar, and heat through. Add the drained noodles and toss until the noodles have absorbed most of the sauce, about 3 minutes. Add the red chile paste, dried shrimp, ground peanuts, bean sprouts, and reserved tofu, chicken or shrimp and eggs, and toss thoroughly.
Transfer the mixture to a platter. Garnish with reserved fried basil leaves, mint leaves, scallions and lime wedges.
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