Pad Thai – A Recipe for Your Back Pocket!
Everyone should know how to make a decent pad thai, to be able to whip some as easily as a spaghetti. That’s how I feel, at least. Pad thai is a basic necessity for our household nowadays, kind of like internet television. I can’t even imagine what life would be like without it. Pad thai is also a great introduction to thai cuisine for the timid; basic in its approach yet interesting with its familiar ingredients. Tamarind paste is the most exotic thing here, but don’t worry, its not that crazy. Probably the most important thing about pad thai isn’t how it is prepared, but the incredible spicy sauce that is added when served. Sambal is awesome. I wish I had discovered this hot paste earlier in my life. Please make this recipe, but under no circumstances should this pad thai be served without samba at the ready (unless of course you are sensitive to spice). Ye be warned; enjoy at your own risk.
Ingredients: (serves about 4)
12 oz dried rice noodles
For the Sauce:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. tamarind pulp concentrate (mix with 1/4 cup water)
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
12 oz firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes (you can easily substitute chicken or prawns)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. ground dried oriental radish (I keep forgetting to pick some up so I usually end up making it without this and it is still really good)
3/4 cup chives, chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts for garnish, if desired
Lime wedges for garnish, if desired
Sambal Oelek for a spicy garnish, if desired, and you WILL desire it (find it here on amazon.com or at any local asian market)
To make sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix the tamarind pulp concentrate with the water until well combined. Add the tamarind mixture, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat to low so that it stays warm while you finish cooking everything else.
Prepare the dried rice noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil, remove the from the heat and add the rice noodles. Let the rice noodles sit for ten minutes in the hot water but do not put the pot back on the heat. Drain the rice noodles and set aside. they will be a bit al dente.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium. Add the garlic and eggs scrambling the eggs until just cooked. Then add the tofu and cook for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and stir until noodles are cooked.
Add in the sauce, 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar and 1 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir. Add in the chopped peanuts and dried radish if you have it. Stir until combined.
Dish it up and serve it with the bean sprouts and lime wedges as a garnish. MOST IMPORTANT, don’t forget to add some sambal!!!