Friday, September 12, 2008

Pad Thai

Ever since we went to Thailand, I've been craving some Pad Thai. Sure, Pan Asia makes a great interpretation, but sometimes I don't want to go out and pay them to make it. After looking at several recipes online, I have mixed some up to get a very good likeness of what we ate (and loved) in Thailand. You do have to go to an Asian market to find some of the ingredients, but it is so worth it!

If it wasn't for Pad Thai and chicken fried rice, Justin would have starved. Those of you who've already heard our stories know I ate everything there, including crickets!

Anyway, onto the recipe!

Pad Thai Recipe - adapted from Chez Pim
Make the sauce first. If you don't, you will just end up with a mess. Trust me on this one! However, to make the sauce, you have to have tamarind paste. It also needs to only have the ingredients of tamarind and water. If you can only find "tamarind pulp" or "wet tamarind", you have to prepare the tamarind first. I could not find tamarind paste, so I had to prepare the paste from wet tamarind. If you don't know what you have, wet tamarind is in a block form, and paste is in a jar.

Preparing Tamarind Paste (this is the longest step)
- Soak 1/2 of the block in 2 cups hot water in a large bowl.
- Take a fork and mash up the tamarind to break it up.
- Once the mixture has reached room temperature, take your hands, squeeze the pulp and mix it all up. You have to use your hands on this one. I usually use gloves because I don't like stuff on my fingers. Work this together until it is a little runnier than room temperature ketchup. If it is too thick, add some more warm water.
- Now, strain the mixture over another bowl to get rid of the gunky pitty pieces. You will have to press this through the strainer.
- You will have more than you need for this recipe, but you can keep the leftovers in the fridge forever. I usually like having extras so I can make Pad Thai easier the next time.


1/2 cup tamarind paste (I could only find tamarind in the Asian market)
1/2 cup fish sauce (grocery store on Asian aisle)
1/2 cup palm sugar (Asian market)

- Palm sugar comes in hard disks, so to get 1/2 cup, I microwave it for 10-20 seconds on defrost, until the sugar can be broken up.
- Melt tamarind, fish sauce, and palm sugar in small pot over low heat. Stir occasionally.
- Add paprika 1 teaspoon at a time until it reaches your desired spiciness. Turn off pot and let rest.

Pad Thai - All of these ingredients are to taste. If you like more of one ingredient, add more!
Rice noodles (grocery store on Asian aisle)
- If they are dried, soak in hot water for 4-8 minutes to soften. You don't want this like pasta, but you just want it bendable.
- Traditional Pad Thai uses shrimp. We like chicken better. Use 7 shrimp per person or 1/2 a chicken breast per person.
Firm Pressed Tofu - cut into thin bite size pieces
3-4 Tablespoons Oil
Pad Thai sauce (from above)
2 eggs
Unsalted roasted peanuts - chopped
Green onions - chopped
Bean sprouts
Garlic - chopped
Lime - sliced

1. Heat wok to smoking over high heat.
2. Add 3-4 tablespoons oil.
3. Add chicken (cut in bite sized pieces) and cook until halfway done (1-2 minutes). Then add tofu, few spoonfuls of sauce, and garlic. Cook till tofu is crisp and brown on the edges.
4. Add noodles and sauce to taste (1 cup sauce or more - I generally use all the sauce that is left over). Keep things moving! Cook noodles until soft. Break noodles up and don't let them lump together.
- If sauce evaporates, add some water and keep stirring.
- Add oil if noodles stick.
5. When noodle is soft enough to eat, push the ingredients up the side of the wok. Crack eggs and place in the middle. Let set 30 seconds to one minute and scramble. Then mix all together.
6. Add peanuts and bean sprouts to taste. Add shrimp now if you are using it.
7. When shrimp is done, add chopped green onions.
8. Plate it up with slices of lime. Enjoy!

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