Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pad Thai


It may sound intimidating to make because it incorporates some ingredients a typical household may not have, but Pad Thai is actually a simple and quick meal. Once all the prep work is done, everything comes together in a stir fry and lunch or dinner is ready in less than an hour total. There are many variations of Pad Thai recipes, some with varying ingredients or different proportions of ingredients, so chances are that you may need to tweak a recipe to your liking. I've found that there's a lot of variability in tamarind paste strength so the amount used in the recipe can change. Personally, I've been using a concentrated tamarind paste (shown right) that I bought from Whole Foods so the amount I put is cut down. When I used watery tamarind concentrate from an Asian supermarket, I needed to increase the amount to 1/4 cup. With regards to the sugar, palm sugar adds a bit more complexity to the dish than white sugar; it adds molasses notes and makes the sauce more overtly sweet.

Pad Thai
Adapted from Chef Jet Tila's recipe

About 8 oz rice stick noodles
Vegetable oil for stir frying
4 cloves garlic, minced
Choice of protein, about 4 oz
2 eggs
2 scallions, cut into 2 inch strips
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts, for garnishing
Lime wedges, for garnishing
1/4 cup palm sugar/5 tablespoons of white sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon tamarind
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon sriracha (optional)


For the sauce:

In a  small bowl, combine all ingredients together making sure the sugar is somewhat dissolved. Set aside.

For the noodles:

1. In a large bowl, soak the rice noodles in boiling water until just before the noodles reach al dente. Drain the water and set aside.
2. Place a wok or large pan over high heat and coat the pan with vegetable oil. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
3. Add protein and cook until no longer pink. It's okay if the protein isn't fully done. It will finish cooking as you continue making the stir fry.
4. Push the protein to the side of the pan and allow the oil to settle in the center of the pan.
5. Crack the eggs into the pan and mix them only enough to break the yolks and lightly scramble until half cooked. Add the scallion whites and cook until slightly browned (they cook pretty quickly)
6. Add the drained noodles to the pan and then add the sauce. Fold the ingredients together so that everything is incorporated until the noodles absorb all the liquid.
7. Add the rest of the scallions, allowing them to steam for 30 seconds.
8. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the peanuts.
9. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with bean sprouts and remaining peanuts. If you don't have bean sprouts or you don't like them, feel free to omit. Garnish with a lime wedge.


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