Friday, April 23, 2010

Pad Thai

When my friend Jill graduated (early!) law school back in December, she treated herself to a trip to Thailand. In between relaxing and sightseeing, she squeezed in a few cooking lessons, and brought back tons of awesome new recipes to share. At our most recent girls' night dinner, she showed me, Emily, and Leslie how to make pad thai.

I was pretty excited for this dinner, not least because this was my first time hanging out with Jill in about 4 months. What really sweetened the pot, though, was the fact that Jill is currently house/dog-sitting for a girl that works at Williams-Sonoma and has access to a kitchen stocked with all kinds of sweet cooking equipment. Just looking at the huge selection of mixing bowls this girl had made me feel consumed with envy!

I was too busy gushing over the fact the girl owned a mortar and pestle to be useful, so Emily decided to move things along by taking charge of the cashew crushing. Sure, we could have used a food processor or even a knife/cutting-board, but...there was a mortar and pestle!

I knew I would like this recipe when I saw the dried baby shrimp. Asian people love this stuff, but American's tend to shy away from food with eyes, so these little suckers have had a limited presence in my life since I moved out of my parents' house. What a shame!

After all the ingredients had been chopped and prepped, the first course of action was to make the pad thai sauce. Here is an action shot of Jill crushing palm sugar against the side of the wok with a spatula. Once the liquid started to boil, crushing became a lot easier, and the combination of sugar, orange juice, tomato paste, lime juice, and soy sauce started to smell pretty awesome.

After the sauce was ready and set aside, the rest of the recipe just flew by. Scramble some eggs with tons of garlic, add peeled prawns, toss in rice noodles, tofu, green onions, bean sprouts, etc. Mix together with sauce, top with cashews, then serve!

At this point the kitchen was full of all sorts of interesting smells, and the resident beggars came around to investigate. Meet Argos and Nezza. These beauties are both rescue dogs, and are pretty much the friendliest, smoochiest, most well-behaved puppies I've ever seen. Jill helped her friend adopt both of them through Lucky Dog Animal Rescue about a year ago, and she tells me that there are a lot of awesome puppies still looking for homes. Please check out the website and see if you can help today!

The pad thai was savory, tangy, hearty and satisfying. Great for a girls' dinner with some wine on a cold and gloomy spring day.

Pad Thai (Recipe is for 1 serving, increase ingredients as needed for larger portions.)

(Pad Thai Sauce)
- 3-1/2 tbsp tamarind juice (We used orange juice instead)
- 2-1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp white sugar

(Pad Thai)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- 1 egg
- 5 peeled prawns 
- 100 grams rice noodles (pre-soaked for 30 minutes)
- 1/4 cup prawn stock or water
- 1/2 tbsp dried shrimp
- 1/2 tbsp dried sweet turnips, chopped
- 2 tbsp deep fried tofu
- 1 tbsp cashew nuts, chopped
- 40 grams bean sprouts
- 20 grams chives or green onions, chopped

(1) Start with the sauce. Combine the tamarind juice, mushroom soy sauce, palm sugar, white sugar, salt, and tomato juice. Bring to a slow bowl and stir constantly to ensure the ingredients are smooth and well-combined. Add lime juice and stir. Set sauce aside for later.
(2) Heat the wok with vegetable oil.
(3) Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
(4) Add egg and scramble until well-mixed with garlic.
(5) Add prawns, and cook until pink.
(6) Stir in rice noodles and prawn stock. Stir until noodles are soft.
(7) Mix dried shrimp, sweet turnips, tofu and cashews.
(8) Pour in pad thai sauce. Mix well.
(9) Add bean sprouts and green onions.
(10) Garnish with a lime wedge and serve!

1 comment:

Leslie said...

The good ol' days...