Thursday, May 8, 2008

pad thai

Cooking traditional, delicious pad thai from scratch can be very tricky but worth while. Most fried noodle dishes I've had in the past have been heavy, greasy and always leave a guilty feeling behind. Pad thai promises to do the opposite. Thailand, situated along the equator, is a never ending summer paradise. After a long, hard winter of hearty eating one cant help but feel heavy and bloated. As it gets warmer and the days get longer, hearty winter food abruptly stops being appetizing. This thai dish is so light and crisp , it'll definitely lift your spirits after a long winter. This is my take on sweet and sour pad thai.

Stir-Fried Thai Noodles: Pad Thai

1-ounce tamarind paste
3/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
4 ounces rice stick noodles3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh bean sprouts1 cup snow peas1 cup sugar snap peas1/2 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1 lime, cut into small wedges

Soak the dried rice noodles in cool or lukewarm water for 30 minutes, or until they're limp but still firm to the touch; later cooking in the wok will soften them more. Drain the noodles thoroughly in a colander and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, tamarind paste, water and sugar; stir well to melt the sugar. Taste and adjust flavors to the desired combination of salty, sour, and sweet.Heat a wok over medium-high heat until it is smoking hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and quickly stir-fry the shrimp until they turn pink and are almost cooked through; 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate and cover to keep warm.Add the remaining oil to the wok and toss in the garlic, shallots, stir-fry for 30 seconds. Push the garlic and shallots to 1 side of the wok and pour the egg into the center. Scramble the egg lightly until set, breaking it up into pieces with a spatula. Add the drained noodles to the wok, stirring and tossing quickly with 2 spatulas to separate the strands. Pour in the fish sauce mixture, tossing well to coat the noodles and keep them from sticking (if the noodles are still too firm, drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to help them cook.) When the noodles are in good shape, toss in 1/2 of the bean sprouts, snowpeas , sugar snap peas and peanuts; save the remaining for garnish. Continue to stir-fry, to combine. Return the shrimp to the wok and toss the pad thai together to warm everything through. Serve the pad thai with the remaining bean sprouts and peanuts on 1 side of the dish and garnish with the lime wedges. Squeeze lime juice over each portion before eating.