Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pad Thai

We love Pad Thai.  Reid's always telling me we should try making it at home, but I know it's not easy.  My sister has told me how not easy it is to make.  And she was right! It's difficult to keep the noodles from getting mushy, or to balance that perfect median of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour.  I also learned that traditional pad thai is much lighter, drier, and sweeter/sour than the restaurant variety.  Also, these ingredients are hard to come by.  I spent an hour at our Asian grocery store trying to find the tamarind sauce!

Pad Thai
Recipe from http://www.thaitable.com/thai/recipe/pad-thai

2-3 Servings, Prep Time: 40 Minutes, Total Time: 40 Minutes

1-1/3 cup bean sprouts Optional
1-1/2 cup Chinese chives Optional
1 egg
4 teaspoons fish sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
ground pepper
1/2 lime
2 tablespoons roasted chopped peanuts Optional
1 tablespoon preserved turnip Optional
1 minced shallots
1/2-1/4 lb shrimp Optional
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1/2 package Thai rice noodles
1/3 cup extra firm tofu
1/2 lb chicken breast, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoon cooking oil

Prepping
  1. Prepare noodles according to package directions.  This usually involves soaking the noodles in hot water. Getting the noodles just right is the trickiest part of making Pad Thai. Make sure that the noodles are submerged in plenty of water.  By the time you are ready to put ingredients in the pan, the noodles should be flexible but not mushy. Dice tofu and cut into 1 inch long rectangles. When cut, the super firm tofu/pressed tofu should have a mozzarella cheese consistency. You can fry the tofu separately until golden brown and hard, or you can fry with other ingredients below. 
  2. Stir fry chicken in a little oil until browned around all edges
  3. Cut the Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside a few fresh chives for a garnish. Rinse the bean sprouts and save half for serving fresh. Mince shallot and garlic together.

Cooking
  1. Use a wok. Heat it up on high heat and pour oil in the wok.  Add shallot, preserved turnip, garlic and tofu and stir them until they start to brown.
  2. Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case
  3. Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. The noodles should soft and chewy. 
  4. When you get the right taste, add chicken and stir. Sprinkle white pepper around. Add bean sprouts and chives. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled.
  5. Pour onto the serving plate and sprinkle with ground pepper and peanuts. Serve with a wedge of lime on the side, raw Chinese chives and raw bean sprouts on top.
Reid and I added in about a tbs of hoisin sauce and some Sirachi sauce or garlic chili sauce to get that salty ummami taste we're used to having with restaurant-style pad thai



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