Monday, July 14, 2008

Making Pad Thai from Scratch

Oh, it was SOOOO good.

The key flavors, which I hadn't known before completing my summer goal of Pad Thai from scratch, are tamarind, fish sauce and hot sauce. A little fresh lime juice at the end really ratchets up the umami of the dish. I really, really loved eating this.

I found tamarind in two places, frozen pulp in Pilsen and the paste at HMart. I recommend sleuthing out the paste at your local Asian grocer. Pad Thai is not that hard - just a bit laborious - and it's really worth it. Plus, when you make it for yourself it frees you up to try all sorts of new things at your favorite Thai restaurant.

I've updated my recipe to reflect some changes I made. I took the bones of the recipe from Honga's cookbook and made some adjustments. Do try it.

Pad Thai
Print recipe only here

Serves 2

YOU WILL NEED

* 7 ounces rice noodles
* 1/2 # protein: shrimp, chicken, or tofu (look for uncooked, peeled, tail-on, deveined shrimp at your grocery store. I get the frozen ones.)
* Fish sauce
* Chili sauce (Sriracha hot sauce is a good choice.)
* Tamarind paste
* 1 cup chicken/vegetable stock or water (I used water with excellent results)
* 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:

Add and scramble:

* 2 eggs, well beaten

Transfer to a plate and reserve.

Add to the wok and sauté:

* 1 T canola oil
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 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
* 2-3 t chili sauce
* 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.