Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pad Thai

This recipe is adapted from a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. (I am feeling kind of predictable with my recipe sources.) I substituted tofu for shrimp, though you could probably substitute any protein. The first time I made this, I used too much tamarind. The paste I used had no seeds or pulp in it, so it was too strong. I weakened it this time with better results.

Pad Thai

2 tbsp tamarind paste
3/4 cup hot water (boiling)
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
4 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
8 oz dried rice stick noodles, about 1/8 inch wide (the width of linguine) (I used pad thai noodles)
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp table salt
1 package firm or extra firm tofu, drained, pressed to release extra liquid, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 medium shallot, minced
6 tbsp chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
3 cups bean sprouts (6 ounces)
5 medium scallions, green parts only, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped (optional)

  1. Soak tamarind paste in 3/4 cup boiling water for about 10 minutes, then push it through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds and fibers and extract as much pulp as possible.
  2. Stir fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil into tamarind liquid and set aside.
  3. Cover rice sticks with hot tap water in large bowl. Soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside.
  4. Beat eggs and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl; set aside.
  5. Put tofu in a bowl and add 2 tbsp of the fish sauce mixture to the tofu. Toss gently until the tofu has absorbed the liquid. (I put it in a covered bowl and turned it over a few times.)
  6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick) over high heat until just beginning to smoke.
  7. Add tofu sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes on one side and flip over to cook on the other side. Place tofu on a plate with a paper towel to drain and set aside.
  8. Off heat, add remaining tbsp oil to skillet. Add garlic and shallot, set skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes
  9. Add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds.
  10. Add noodles to the eggs; toss to combine.
  11. Pour the fish sauce mixture over noodles, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated.
  12. Add 1/4 cup peanuts, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup scallions, and tofu to the noodles.
  13. Continue to cook, tossing constantly, until the noodles are tender, about 2 1/2 minutes.
  14. Serve sprinkled with remaining scallions, 2 tbsp peanuts, and cilantro.

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