Friday, May 14, 2010

Pad Thai

My husband found this recipe in our local newspaper. The author of the article is Mark Bittman. He said he wanted me to try it. There was one problem. One of the main ingredients of pad thai is tamarind paste. After searching online it seemed that it gives Pad Thai it's flavor. I could not find the stuff at any store. I did a search and discovered that after living here for a year and half that we actually have an Asian grocery store in town. How did I not know this? I headed over there and they had it and another ingredient I needed for another dish I had planned to make. It is a small store but had so much stuff crammed in there. I am excited to try out some more new recipes knowing that I can find what I need there. I was a little worried about this dish when I was making it because the smell was just strange. But when it was finished it was good. I could tell that the tamarind paste is what gives it the flavor that makes it pad thai.

Pad Thai
Makes 4 Servings

4 ounces fettucine-width stick noodles
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 to 4 Tablespoons tamarind paste, to taste
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/3 cup honey
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 garlic clove
2 eggs (I used egg substitute)
1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 cup mung bean sprouts (I left these out)
1/2 pound peeled shrimp, pressed tofu or a combination (I used just shrimp)
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, quartered

1. Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender, check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside.
Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.

2. Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add scallions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp or tofu (or both).

3. When shrimp begin to turn pink and tofu begins to brown, add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.

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