Friday, June 13, 2008

Cheater's Pad Thai

I know this: I've been settling.

Thai Kitchen's Original Pad Thai is JUST good enough that it's stopped me from going full-bore by tracking down tamarind paste and making my own.

The kit, pictured right, requires the addition of bean sprouts, lime juice, cilantro and garlic shrimp (or other protein) to produce a decent - nearly homemade - dinner. In fact you have to do so much cooking using (scramble the egg, cook the rice noodles, sauté the shrimp, chop cilantro, garlic, bean sprouts and peanuts) that it's not that time-saving. The cheating comes from the sauce packet.

I have a few goals this summer and at the top of the list is mastering a great home kitchen Pad Thai. I'll start by tweaking the recipe from Honga's recently released cookbook. Honga's Lotus Petal is an institution in Telluride, Colorado, a cosmopolitan mountain town that I called home for several years. The cookbook recipe isn't that complicated if it's comparable to the Pad Thai served at the restaurant it'll be worth the effort. A major caveat: I seem to remember Honga tracking down fresh tamarind - not the paste - for use in her restaurant kitchen. I imagine the home version will suffer a bit as a result of the (let's be honest) necessary substitution.

Thai Kitchen Original Pad Thai with scrambled egg, garlic shrimp, bean sprouts, cilantro and peanuts

Pad Thai
Print recipe only here

Serves 2

YOU WILL NEED
• 7 ounces rice noodles
• 1/2 # protein: shrimp, chicken, tofu
• Fish sauce
• Chili sauce
• Tamarind paste
• 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
• Bean sprouts
• Cilantro
• Peanuts
• Lime

METHOD
In a large bowl cover noodles with boiling water and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

Preheat in a wok or skillet:

* 1 T canola oil

Add and sauté:

* 1 small onion, finely chopped

Add and scramble:

* 2 eggs, well beaten

Transfer to a plate and reserve.

Add to the wok and sauté:

* 1 T canola oil
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1 t fresh ginger, finely chopped

Add and cook for 2-3 minutes:

* 8 ounces shrimp (rinsed, patted dry and sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt) or other protein

Transfer to a plate and reserve.

Combine in a small bowl and add to wok:

* 1 t paprika
* 1/4 cup fish sauce
* 1 T brown sugar
* 1 t chili sauce (I used my decero hot sauce. Sriracha hot sauce would work well here, too.)
* 1 T tamarind paste
* Pinch salt and freshly ground pepper

Add noodles to wok as well, and stir to combine. Pour in a bit of stock and stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue to add stock every few minutes, stirring in between, until noodles are tender (using more stock as necessary).

Add the shrimp/protein and eggs back to the wok and also add:

* 2 green onions, finely sliced
* ¾ cup bean sprouts, roughly chopped
* 3-4 T cilantro, finely chopped
* Juice of 1 lime

Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, top with a sprinkling of roughly chopped peanuts and serve.

No comments: