Thursday, October 28, 2010

Phad Thai

This noodle dish is an old standby, if I can ever remember to get the noodles out and soaking before dinner time actually rolls around. Luckily, the other day when I made this, I had the forethought to get the noodles out and soaking in cold water. I have tried the whole, wait-until-5-minutes-before-I-need-them-put-them-in-hot-water thing... with disastrously gummy results.

So, soak noodles for 2-3 hours (at least) before cooking.

  • 1 pkg. rice noodles
  • 2 TB minced garlic
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1-2 bunches of green onions, chopped
  • 1 pkg mung bean sprouts
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste, dissolved into 1/4 C water (use AS NEEDED)
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • scant 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 1+ TB paprika
  • chopped peanut

I don't have a recipe for the exact amounts of flavorings I add to the noodles, but I will outline the basic idea and give some rough amounts. This is for an entire package of noodles, which will feed, on it's own, 2-3 people. Some coconut or even plain rice would go really well with this dish.

First, garlic is sauteed in veg oil for a couple minutes, then the wet noodles are added. Saute the noodles until they are soft, adding a little water as needed. Crank up the heat to med-high at this point to give everything a little smoky flavor.

Add green onions and some deep-fried tofu chunks (we get ours at Uwajimaya), or plain or flavored tofu. Add the flavorings--soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, paprika, peanut butter, sugar and tamarind water (1-2 TB at a time). Adjust other flavors as needed--predominantly the sugar (sweet), lime (sour) and soy sauce (salty). The perfect phad thai is the right balance between these three.

Fry just until everything is combined, then add sprouts and cook for 1-3 minutes. Top with chopped roasted peanuts. Sometimes I like a little shredded cabbage and carrot, too.

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