Aug 19 Pad Thai
Aug 20 kid at with the neighbours, i had wine and popcorn at cirque du soleil
Aug 21 Korean shortribs, rice and green beans
I never make pad thai at home because I can get really good noodles at a couple great thai restaurants that I like to frequent and frankly, I haven't found a recipe that seems to work for me. I heard that the pad thai from Chez Pim is very easy and very good so I thought it was time to give it a try. If it wasn't for this challenge, I would be taking Little Shack out to Salad King for dinner but I am supposed to be cooking this stuff at home, aren't I?
The sauce was easy enough to put together - I really don't like reconstituting the tamarind but you have to do what you have to do and it's just kind of gross and messy, not difficult. I did fidget with the proportions after I used her basic equal parts tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar to add more tamarind and fish sauce because it seemed a bit too sweet but I might have been off on my sugar measurements.
Really, as long as you chop your chicken, peel your shrimp, slice up your tofu, etc it's pretty simple and quick to make.
I followed her instructions faithfully and I was quite happy with it. It's still not "the one" but it was better than anything I have tried at home so far. Little Shack poo pooed it because it's not as good as what we get at our favourite restaurants and just ate the proteins out of it.
That's okay because it's easy to make for one. He can eat toast.
adapted from Chez Pim (you really need to go and read her rant and follow her instructions)
2-3 tbls veg oil
1 large boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut up into bite sized pieces
1 block deep fried tofu, about 1/4 cup after you dice it into bite sized pieces
10 large shrimp, shelled and de veined
1 tbls chopped roasted peanuts
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbls ground dried shrimp (i ground dried shrimp in a pestle and mortar)
big handful of bean sprouts
pad thai sauce
Pad Thai Sauce:
tamarind (i reconstituted a block of it in water but buy concentrate if you can find it)
palm sugar (if you sub in brown sugar she says to use a bit more)
hot chili powder
equal amounts of fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar go into a pot. Simmer over low heat until the sugar is melted and its all incorporated. To make just enough for this pad thai, I used 1/4 cup of each but if you follow Chez Pim's directions and use 1/2 cup each the sauce stores well in the fridge for use later.
Once you do that, taste it and make sure it has the balance you want - more fish sauce if it needs to be more salty, more tamarind if it needs more sour and you probably won't need more palm sugar because it's already too sweet for my taste. I kept adding more fish sauce and tamarind in tiny increments until it tasted just right.
At that point, you start adding the chili powder until it's all the level of spicy that you like.
So, to make the pad thai, keep the sauce on low heat on a back burner and heat up a good pan on the front over med high heat. I don't have a wok so I just used a heavy, non stick pan and it worked fine.
Heat it until it's really hot and then add in a couple of tbls of vegetable oil.
Add the chicken and stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the tofu and a couple tbls of the sauce. Cook another minute until the tofu starts to brown around the edges.
Add the noodles (about two handfuls per person) and then ladle in about 1/4 cup of the sauce and cook until the noodles are soft. It took a bit longer because I didn't use a wok and wasn't using smoking hot heat, just med high. I kept sprinkling a tbls of water over it until the noodles tasted done - keep tasting as you go. If the noodles are really sticking, add a bit more oil.
When the noodles taste done, push them aside and crack in your eggs. Let them sit for about 15 or 20 seconds and then quickly start scrambling them in pan. When they start to really come together, mix them in with the noodles.
Now add the shrimp, the dried shrimps, the peanut and the bean sprouts, stirring constantly. You want to keep this stuff moving around. The shrimps only take a minute or two to cook.
As soon as those shrimps look cooked and pink, throw in the green onions, take it off the heat and give it another stir.
Plate it up and serve with a slice of lime. You can also put out more ground peanuts, more chili powder, more sprouts if you like.