Monday, January 25, 2010

Pad Thai

The other day a friend of mine took me to the Super 88 market to go shopping for Asian groceries. I was picturing a small little place to pick up the rare Asian things you cannot find in your local market. I was so wrong. The Supper 88 Market is the size of a regular grocery store with some of the most unique produce I have enver seen and that is just the begining.

We went to get ingrediens for making Pad Thai, but as you guessed we got so much more. It took us about two hours to get through the entire store and we were the only "white" girls there. There is some great stuff there that any kitchen would love to have ... for instance they have and aisle dedicated to soy sauce, one to vinegar, and one to tea ...

Look at all the tea ...

And this was just part of the aisle ... there were so many teas it was tough to decide which one to try.

Back to the reason we went to the market was to make Pad Thai at home, this is what we did ...

• 8 ounces dried wide rice noodles
• 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
• 3 tablespoons tamarind juice
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons peanut oil
• 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled with tails on
• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 shallots, sliced
• 1 fresh red chile, sliced
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
• 1/2 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
• 1 lime, cut into small wedges
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Soak the dried rice noodles in cool or lukewarm water for 30 minutes, or until they're limp but still firm to the touch; later cooking in the wok will soften them more. Drain the noodles thoroughly in a colander and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, tamarind juice, and sugar; stir well to melt the sugar. Taste and adjust flavors to the desired combination of salty, sour, and sweet.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat until it is smoking hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and quickly stir-fry the shrimp until they turn pink and are almost cooked through; 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to the wok and toss in the garlic, shallots, and chile; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Push the garlic and shallots to 1 side of the wok and pour the egg into the center. Scramble the egg lightly until set, breaking it up into pieces with a spatula. Add the drained noodles to the wok, stirring and tossing quickly with 2 spatulas to separate the strands. Pour in the fish sauce mixture, tossing well to coat the noodles and keep them from sticking (if the noodles are still too firm, drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to help them cook.)

When the noodles are in good shape, toss in 1/2 of the bean sprouts and peanuts; save the remaining for garnish. Continue to stir-fry, to combine. Return the shrimp to the wok and toss the pad thai together to warm everything through. Serve the pad thai on a platter, pile the remaining bean sprouts and peanuts on 1 side of the dish and garnish with the lime wedges and cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over each portion before eating.


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