Friday, January 28, 2011

Pad Thai

I have had a package of banh pho (oriental rice noodles) just sitting on my cabinet for a while now, so on Monday I decided to go for it and give homemade Pad Thai a try.  Pad Thai is generally known as a popular westernized dish, but on the streets of Thailand vendors have been perfecting the recipe for years.  

I read online that the key to making Pad Thai is to have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to throw into the wok before you actually start cooking so that nothing gets overcooked in the process.  I had recipes for the dish in two different cookbooks, so I decided to combine the aspects that I liked from both.  I definitely wanted include egg in the dish, since I am obsessed with egg in asian dishes, and I also wanted to include tofu and shrimp.  I also used green and red bell peppers, a green chili pepper, scallions, 4 cloves of garlic, fish sauce, sugar, bean-sprouts, cilantro, and crushed peanuts.  You can basically add as much or as little veg as you want, but its more important to go by the measurements for the noodles and fish sauce.  Since I have just recently started to try to cook legitimate meals, I am always a bit nervous about burning oil or garlic, so sometimes I alter the order in which I add things to a dish.  I was also a bit apprehensive about handling and cooking the tofu, because apparently tofu breaks apart really easily.  I didn't realize to look for extra-firm tofu at the store, but just plain firm ended up working perfectly!

So basically everything goes into the wok starting with the tofu and shrimp and ending with the bean-sprouts and peanuts.  The noodles get cooked on the side before tossing them in, and the tofu should be cooked first until the pieces are golden on all sides.  To add the egg, you push the mixture to the side of the wok and crack one egg into the cleared space.  Scramble it up (or you can crack and scramble it before adding into the wok) and when it is almost fully cooked it is ready to mix into the rest of the dish.

After the egg is mixed, add the bean-sprouts and let it cook for a few more minutes.  Last add the cilantro and peanuts to serve!  I would say that my first attempt at this dish was quite successful.  I did not find it as flavorful as restaurant Pad Thai, but with all of the fresh ingredients in the mix it was hard to hate.  Next time I would definitely try to use rice vermicelli instead of the flat, wide noodles that I used.  I would also slightly undercook the noodles before adding them to the wok so that they don't mush up as mine slightly did.

Lets just say, leftovers disappeared from the fridge quickly.


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