Pad thai recipe
Pad Thai - This Pad Thai recipe is how you actually find it in Bangkok and comes from testing hundreds of different variations from food carts all over the city. Pad Thai is the ultimate street food.
While "street food" may sound bad, food cart cooks are in such a competitive situation, with such limited space, ingredients and tools they need to specialize in a dish or two just to stay in business. The best of these cooks have cooked the same dish day-after-day, year-after-year, constantly perfecting it.
Great Pad Thai is dry and light bodied, with a fresh, complex, balanced flavor. I've never actually seen the red, oily pad thai in Thailand that is common in many western Thai restaurants. The ingredients listed below can be somewhat intimidating but many are optional. If you would like to make authentic Pad Thai, just like in Thailand, use all the ingredients. Pad Thai is another perfect vegetarian dish, just omit shrimp and substitute soy sauce for fish sauce. Add more tofu if you like.
- 1-ounce tamarind paste
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 4 ounces rice stick noodles
- 6 ounces Marinated Tofu, recipe follows
- 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 cup chopped scallions, divided
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 whole eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons salted cabbage
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
- 3 ounces bean sprouts, divided
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped, divided
- Freshly ground dried red chile peppers, to taste
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Place the tamarind paste in the boiling water and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.
- Combine the fish sauce, palm sugar, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the rice stick noodles in a mixing bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Once the other ingredients are measured out into separate bowls, drain the water from the noodles and set them aside. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch wide strips, similar to French fries.
Press the tamarind paste through a fine mesh strainer and add to the sauce. Stir to combine.
Place a wok over high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Heat until it shimmers, then add the tofu. Cook the tofu until golden brown, moving constantly, for no longer than 1 minute. Remove the tofu from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.
If necessary, add some more peanut oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add 2/3 of the scallions and then the garlic, cook for 10 to 15 seconds. Add the eggs to the pan; once the eggs begin to set up, about 15 to 20 seconds, stir to scramble. Add the remaining ingredients in the following order and toss after each addition: noodles, sauce, cabbage, shrimp, and 2/3 of the bean sprouts and peanuts. Toss everything until heated through, but no longer than 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining scallions, bean sprouts, and peanuts. Serve immediately with the ground chile peppers and lime wedges.
- 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, not silken
- 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- Wrap the tofu firmly in a tea towel. Place the wrapped tofu into an 8-inch cake pan. Top with another cake pan and weigh down with a 5-pound weight. (Bags of dried beans or grains work well.) Place in refrigerator and press for 12 to 15 hours.
- Place pressed tofu in a 2-cup container. Combine soy sauce and five-spice powder and pour over tofu. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove the tofu from the marinade and use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days.
- Yield: 6 ounces tofu