Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is often called the signature dish of Thai cuisine. There are several regional variations, indeed it has been said that Thailand has not only a different curry for every day of the year, but also a different pad Thai for every cook in Thailand.


8 ounces Chantaboon rice noodles. These should be soaked at room temperature for an hour or more depending on how soft you prefer the noodles. It may take some experimentation to determine your preference, start with warm water.
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/4 cup dried shrimp or 1/2 fresh cooked shrimp
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup regular sugar (or crushed palm sugar but it doesn't make much difference).
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate mixed with 5 teaspoons water (this makes tamarind juice)
1 medium egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely broken up.
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup tofu that has been diced (1/2" cubes), marinated in dark sweet soy. "Firm" tofu works best.


Heat a little cooking oil in a wok and add the garlic and shallots, and briefly stir fry until they just shows signs of changing color. At this point one option is to add chicken meat and cook a bit longer, if you prefer chicken pad Thai. Add the remaining ingredients except the egg and the bean sprouts, and stir fry until the noodles soften (about 5 minutes). As you stir the noodles, periodically throw in 1-2 tablespoons of water, and after 2-3 minutes add 1 tablespoon of rinsed, salted radish(optional). Continuing to stir with one hand, slowly "drizzle" in the beaten egg to form a fine ribbon of cooked egg (if you don't feel confident with this make an egg crepe separately, and then roll it up and slice it into quarter inch wide pieces, which you add to the mix at this point). At this point, a very tasty but optional addition is a small handful of dried shrimps. Add the bean sprouts and cook for no more than another 30 seconds. Remove from the pan to a serving platter.