Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pad Thai Experiment #1

This recipe is not done. It's good, but it can really be great, so this is our first attempt with notes for modifications.

This recipe is huge and fills the wok. It's enough for two dinners, so divide if you want.
Ingredients:
16 oz. dried pad thai rice noodles (Island Naturals has brown rice pad thai noodles)
1 box of silken tofu
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 round onion, thinly sliced
3-4 heads of baby bok choy
1 bag bean sprouts
green onions, sliced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, to taste
1/2 cup ground almonds, peanuts or cashews
PAD THAI SAUCE:
1 1/2 T. tamarind paste
1/2 cup hot water
6 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 t. of chili sauce or to taste, or 1-2 Hawaiian chili pepper, seeded and cut or dried Thai chilies
8 dates soaked in hot water and made into date syrup
OTHER:
vegetable stock for cooking onions and for sauteing bok choy
lime wedges for serving

Directions:
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from heat. Soak noodles in the hot water for 6-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Tip: Noodles are ready to drain when they are soft enough to eat, but still firm and a little bit "crunchy". The noodles will finish cooking when they are fried.
  2. Dissolve tamarind paste in the hot water. Put the dates and hot water into a mixer and add the tamarind paste and hot water the date syrup and blend. Add the other pad thai sauce ingredients and add as much or as little chili sauce as you prefer, but don't skimp on the date syrup. Taste it and if the tamarind is still too sour, add another date or two.
  3. Place your wok (or large frying pan) over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. broth plus the garlic and onion. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.
  4. Add the bok choy plus more stock. Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until bok choy is bright green and slightly softened.
  5. Push ingredients aside and add 1/2 Tbsp. more stock to the center of the wok/pan. Add the tofu to the wok by breaking apart like scrambled eggs.
  6. Push tofu aside and add a little more stock to the middle of the wok/pan. Now add the drained noodles and 1/3 of the sauce. Stir-fry everything together for 1 minute using 2 utensils and a tossing motion (like tossing a salad).
  7. Add a little more sauce and continue stir-frying in the same way for 1-2 more minutes, or until the noodles begin to soften and become sticky. Reduce heat to medium if they begin to stick and burn.
  8. Add the bean sprouts plus the remaining sauce. Stir-fry to incorporate everything together for 1-3 more minutes, or until noodles are done. Noodles are cooked to perfection when they are soft but still deliciously chewy and a little bit sticky.
  9. Sprinkle with green onion and ground nuts. Serve cilantro on the side, or if everyone eats it, add it to the dish. Add wedges of fresh-cut lime on the side along with some Thai hot sauce.
Notes for going from good to fabulous
1. Don't use the stock to saute the onions and bok choy because it made the noodles too wet.
2. Cut the bok choy into large bite size pieces and use more. If it's cut too small, the veggies tend to dissolve.
3. Save some bean sprouts on the side to serve raw on the pad thai.
4. Don't substitute peanuts for other raw nuts like almonds. Peanuts = pad thai
5. We didn't have limes, but limes are NOT optional. Go to the store and get some. 

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