Thursday, August 2, 2012

Phad Thai, etc. Again + Photos

This is a perennial favorite of mine and my husband's. My children are suspicious of the noodles; however, my five-year-old is enamored over the sticky rice dipped in peanut sauce. This, at least, is something. I posted these dishes recently but now I have photographs to go with them so I am re-posting. Also, I found that I had not remembered rice noodles at the store (even though they were on my list!) so I substituted fettuccine. It was not authentic, but it was still tasty. We used rubbed tofu for our proten and this is now my new favorite way to infuse tofu with flavor, so that portion of the recipe is new.
The measurements for fish sauce, sugar, lime (today I used tamarind concentrate--it is good but potent--a tablespoon will do to start), and spice should be tweeked to suit your liking. I like a fairly strong fish sauce presence. Reduce the amount slightly if you dislike fish. But do use fish sauce. It is critical to obtaining that Thai flavor you want.

Phad Thai
3 limes, juiced OR 1 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
½-2 tsp curry paste (I like red or massaman curry pastes for Phad Thai--I used green today-hot!)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8-10 oz thin rice stick noodles (flat, not thread noodles)
1 pound prawns OR beef sirloin OR chicken OR 8 oz extra firm tofu
1 Tbsp white sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
(FOR TOFU: omit previous two ingredients--combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp curry powder and rub into drained tofu. Sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Cut into cubes before proceeding with recipe)
3 eggs, beaten lightly with a bit of salt
1 medium shallot or onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 Tbsp dried shrimp, minced (worth visiting your favorite Asian grocery to find, these are also sometimes available in the Mexican spice section of the grocery store)
Garnish options:
1 handful dry-roasted peanuts, chopped coarse
1 cucumber, peeled and julienned OR 1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped coarse
Lime wedges

Cover the noodles with lukewarm water and set aside for 20-30 minutes or until pliable. Combine lime juice/tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, curry paste, and 1 Tbsp oil and set aside.  Combine beef or chicken, soy sauce, and sugar and marinate at least 10 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside.

Heat wok or large frying pan over high heat and add 1 Tbsp oil to pan. Add steak, chicken, or tofu in batches so that the pieces do not touch one another.  Cook without stirring for approximately one minute.  Turn the protein and cook other side for around 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Turn down heat to medium. Remove pan from heat and add another Tbsp of oil and the shallots or onion. Stir fry until shallots become translucent and very fragrant and then add the garlic. Add eggs to pan and stir fry until the eggs are set. Remove the eggs to the plate with the protein.

Increase the temperature to medium-high. Add the noodles, the sauce, and the dried shrimp, and toss to coat evenly. Kitchen tongs are a really helpful tool for tossing noodles. Spread the noodles evenly across the pan to allow them to absorb the lime sauce, tossing frequently, until the noodles are soft and the sauce begins to caramelize on the bottom of the pan. Return the protein and eggs to the pan and toss to combine. Top with garnishes and serve immediately with a wedge of lime.

VEGAN NOTES: This is a great option for individuals who are following a vegan diet. Simply omit the dried shrimp and egg, substitute vegetarian fish sauce (available in Asian markets or on the internet) for the regular fish sauce, and use tofu for the protein.

GLUTEN NOTES: This recipe is gluten free.

Cucumber Pickle
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped onion or shallot
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large OR 2 medium cucumbers, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick

Combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring these to a simmer. Simmer for three minutes to allow the mixture to thicken slightly. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour the sugar syrup over all. Cool and serve with Phad Thai. This is probably not an authentic pairing, but it is very tasty.

VEGAN NOTES: This recipe is vegan.
GLUTEN NOTES: This recipe is gluten free.
Sticky Rice
2-3 cups (I always make extra) Thai glutinous (long grain sticky) rice

Cover the rice with water in a bowl and allow it to sit overnight or at least 8 hours. Place water in the bottom of your multi pot and place the steamer insert over this. Line the steamer with a muslin dish cloth. Drain the rice and pour the rice into the steaming basket. Cover with the lid and the cloth (make sure the cloth is well away from the burner). Bring to simmer and steam the rice for 1/2-hour or until tender. Serve with peanut sauce. The cool thing about this rice is that you can actually form it into little balls with your fingers.

VEGAN NOTES: This recipe is vegan.
GLUTEN NOTES: This recipe is gluten free.

Thai Peanut Sauce
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 lime, juiced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons fish sauce 

Place coconut milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat.  Whisk in curry paste and cook until red oil separates and rises.  Add lime juice, sugar, peanut butter, and fish sauce and stir until smooth.

VEGAN NOTES: Substitute vegetarian fish sauce (available in Asian markets or on the internet) for the regular fish sauce.

GLUTEN NOTES: This recipe is gluten free.
© Katherine C. Otterstrom, August 2012

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