How I make Pad Thai

It ain’t like at a restaurant for sure. Partly due to lack of a good source of some of the key ingredients, like dried radish and dried shimp. Partly due to I like to throw extra stuff in there. Mine is more of a noodle stir-fry with a tamarind sauce, but oh well.

This is one of those dishes where there’s seemingly a ton of prepwork and then it all cooks really fast and comes together quickly in the last five minutes. The mise-en-place includes the following:

  • Rice noodles, cooked accordingly. Maybe a little undercooked even. Just don’t overcook or the end result will be textureless.
  • 2 eggs, scrambled and set aside
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut matchstick
  • 2 broccoli stalks, peeled and cut matchstick
  • 1 pkg firm or extra firm tofu, as much water pressed out as possible, cut in 1 x 1/2 inch chunks.
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts
  • 2-3 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, put into a freezer ziplock and beat them with a meat tenderizer just until the look coarsely chopped (don’t make them peanut butter)

And for the sauce:

  • 2 T tamarind paste
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup veggie or chicken broth
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper

I’ve started using just a plain, largish, stainless steel fry pan for this. I’ve tried a wok but it’s just not suited to my current gas range. For a while I was using a really big non-stick fry pan but I got rid of all my non-stick stuff several months ago.

Saute the tofu in some peanut oil over med-high heat until it starts to brown up and then remove and set aside. Add a little more oil and saute the carrot and broccoli for another three minutes. Make a space in the center of the pan, add another splash of oil and then add the shallot and garlic. Saute for another minute. Add the noodles to the pan and then the sauce and toss together to mix the veggies and the nooodles. Then add the tofu, egg, bean sprouts and cilantro, tossing the mixture a bit after each addition. Use tongs and a big spoon to scoop into bowls. Sprinkle a handful of the chopped peanuts over each bowl and serve. Makes enough for dinner for two plus one or two brownbag lunch leftovers.

I made this last night and it was pretty good. I used 2 T of brown sugar instead of 3 T of normal sugar and I think it suffered a bit; came out a little sharp tasting. Also I think my tamarind paste isn’t as fresh as it should be.

Written on March 30, 2007