Friday, August 26, 2011

Pad Thai; Thai Fried Noodles

(2 servings)

I have a lot of delicious tamarind paste on hand, and it's one of the ingredients in Pad Thai.

The four main flavours for the sauce are salty, sour,sweet and spicy hot. I like to start with about 3 tbsp of fish sauce to which I add both tamarind and sugar in small amounts until the salty, sour and sweet seem balanced to me. Then I adjust the heat by adding  red chili flakes to this mixture. Needless to say this can be very subjective and I imagine that might be why Pad Thai tastes so different from place to place.

3 tbsp fish sauce
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp (or more) red chili flakes

2 tbsp oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 boneless and skinless chicken thigh sliced
3 oz firm bean curd, sliced
6 medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 pkg rice noodles (about 5.5 oz) soaked in warm water about 15-25  minutes*

1 large egg
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 small lime, cut in wedges for garnish

For this dish it's best to have everything ready beforehand as it comes together rather quickly once you get started.

Place the fish sauce into a bowl. Whisk in small amounts of tamarind paste and sugar until the salty, sour and sweet seem balanced to you. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
Stir in the red chili and add more if you prefer more heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of  oil in a skillet (or wok) and add the garlic. Saute for a minute, then add the chicken and bean curd. Fry until both the chicken and bean curd are lightly browned. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp just begins to turn pink.

Turn up the heat a bit and push the meat to the side. Add the second tablespoon of oil and allow it to get hot. Quickly add the drained noodles. *The noodles should have softened but still be rather firm; firm as in you wouldn't eat them like that (very al dente). Depending on the brand and thickness of the noodle, this can take anywhere for 15-25 minutes. If the noodle becomes too soft while in the water, it will turn to mush in your wok. Toss the noodles into the hot oil, then add the sauce and toss it with the noodles until they are coated. Cook them for a minute or two until the noodles have softened enough. Push the noodles to the side and add the egg. Fry until the egg is cooked and scrambled and mix that into the noodles.

Add the onions, peanuts and bean sprouts. Push the meat back into the mixture and toss to combine everything. Serve.

Garnish with lime wedges.

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