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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pad Thai

We had a nicely fulfilling meal of hot pad Thai for dinner last night. It took a handful of special ingredients, but since I know I'll make it again I don't feel like I wasted my money. Overall it was pretty affordable and really hit the spot. I adapted a Tyler Florence recipe to fit my taste and to use ingredients I could actually find. And the recipe calls for a wok, which is ideal for stir-frying, but since I caught mine on fire and burned up the non-stick coating, I actually used a large stockpot which worked just fine. Here's what I did: Pad Thai 1/2 lb dried rice stick noodles (break them up to make eating the meal easier, or leave them whole to make it prettier-- your choice) 1/4 cup fish sauce 3 tbsp. white vinegar 3 tbsp. brown sugar 3 tbsp. vegetable oil 2 tsp. sesame oil 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut in strips with kitchen shears 4 garlic cloves, minced 6 scallions, chopped 1 fresh red chile, chopped 2 eggs 2/3 c. bean sprouts Garnish: 1/3 c. bean sprouts chopped peanuts (I had honey roasted on hand, but I think unsalted, dry-roasted would be ideal) 1 lime, cut into wedges 1/4 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped Soak the rice noodles in cool water for 30 minutes, or until they're limp but still al dente (NOT soft!). Drain; set aside. In a small bowl, stir fish sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar together till dissolved. Taste and adjust flavors (add a little water, or some lime juice to counteract the saltiness of the fish sauce if its too overpowering). Heat a wok over medium-high heat till hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and1 tsp. of the sesame oil (if you really like the sesame oil taste, you could add more, but it is pretty strong). Stir-fry the shrimp until they turn pink and are almost cooked through; 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate and cover to keep warm. Add additional 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and1 tsp. of the sesame oil to hot wok; stir-fry chicken till cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add to the shrimp plate and keep warm. Add the remaining oil to the wok and stir-fry the garlic, scallions, and chile for 30 seconds or till fragrant. Push this mixture to the side of the wok and pour the eggs into the center. Scramble the eggs with a spatula till set. Add the drained noodles to the wok, stirring and tossing quickly to separate the noodles. Add the fish sauce mixture, tossing well to coat the noodles and keep them from sticking (if the noodles are still too firm, drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to help them cook.) When the noodles are cooked to the desired softness, toss in 2/3 c. bean sprouts; save the remaining for garnish. Continue to stir-fry to combine. Return the shrimp and chicken to the wok and toss together. Serve the pad thai with garnishes on the side so people can add what they like.

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