Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pad Thai

Pad thai is a HUGE contributor to my freshman 30. Yes, I said freshman 30, not 15. I'd go to the cafeteria, pick at some french fries or something else unhealthy but edible. Then I'd get hungry again around midnite because I didn't eat a real dinner, and I'd walk down the street to the food court and get pad thai. Sooo worth it! =)

Now, you may ask why my pad thai so pasty white instead of that gorgeous orange color like the ones you get at restaurants? To be honest, I'm not really sure. This was my first time making pad thai and my best guess is that I didn't use enough tamarind. I didn't measure out any of my seasonings and just did it to taste, and to be honest, mine was a bit bland and I definitely could have used a bit more flavor. I'll be less stingy next time with the tamarind (and other flavorings) and see if it makes a difference.

Here's my recipe, though I recommend following Chez Pim or Thai Table's recipes since they have measurements.

- Rice noodles/sticks
- Garlic (minced)
- Green onions
- Bean sprouts
- Chicken
- Shrimp
- Egg
- Tofu (extra firm)
- Pickled turnip (optional)

- Tamarind paste
- Palm sugar or brown sugar
- Fish sauce

- More bean sprouts
- Ground peanuts
- Chili flakes
- Lime (lemon in my case)


First soak the rice noodles in hot water for about 10 minutes or until they're pliable. You don't want them to be cooked, just soft enough to work with.

Slice your chicken into bite-size pieces. I always like to coat them with corn starch and soy at this point. The soy for flavor and the corn starch will help keep the chicken tender and prevent it from being overcooked. I'm lazy and don't like to stir fry ingredients one at a time - cook the meat, set aside, cook the veggies, set aside, cook ..., set aside, then mix all together. Instead, I like to put in the meat, put in the veggies on top of it, from slowest cooking to fastest cooking, so it makes a huge difference for me, but it's definitely optional.

Prep your other ingredients: Slice the tofu into small cubes. Slice the green onions into ~1 inch strips, or at a diagonal slant. Peel and devein your shrimp. Wash your bean sprouts. Mince your garlic.

Some people like to premake their sauce and dump it in, so you can do that at this time also.

Heat up your wok until almost smoking. Add oil and swish it around until it's coated and heated through.

Add the chicken and stir it until mostly cooked. Add garlic, tofu, green onions, and pickled turnip. Toss around a bit.

Add the noodles, bean sprouts, and the sauce. Keep everything moving until the noodles are cooked through. If you find your wok is dry and the noodles are still too hard, add more sauce or some water.

When the noodles are ready to go, push everything aside and crack an egg in the middle of the wok. Scramble it. After it's cooked, fold it into the noodles.

Add the shrimp and toss until it's cooked.

Serve with garnishes of your choice.


dp said...

The color is from the chili powder or cayenne. Strangely, the tamarind doesn't give as much color as you'd expect.

Everyone likes Pad Thai but they never try to make it at home. It's awesome you tried it. I also find that pad thai at restaurants are way too sweet and oily. Far better homemade. Once you do it a couple times more, you'll perfect the recipe.

gaga said...

dp - Awesome! Thanks! I'll add some chili powder/cayenne next time to see if that makes a difference. I also heard somewhere that it's actually ketchup that gives the color? But I plan on trying every other option before attempting the ketchup method. That CAN'T be authentic.

That Girl said...

My pad thai is a little darker than yours, but definitely not "restaurant color!" I use sriracha for the spice/sauce which is definitely a step above ketchup!

Kevin said...

Looks good! Pad Thai is one of my favorites and it has been too long since I last had it.