About This Recipe
Pad Thai is essentially a stir-fry and requires little more than chopping and stirring. It comes together in less than a half-hour. Some ingredients in this recipe may be unfamiliar. The first are the noodles themselves: rice stick noodles, which are pale, translucent, flat and range from very thin to more than a quarter-inch wide. Unlike semolina pasta, rice stick noodles don’t need to be boiled; instead, you soak them in hot water until they’re tender. Meanwhile, make a sauce from tamarind paste, now easily found in supermarkets. The paste, made from the pulp of the tamarind pod, is very sour, but more complex than citrus. Fish sauce (nam pla) is another important ingredient. Made from fermented anchovies (and much like the garum of ancient Rome), it has an unappealing smell and a fabulous taste. Honey and rice vinegar round things out. Featured in: Pad Thai. Original source: The New York Times
4ounces fettuccine-width rice stick noodles
¼cup peanut oil
2 to 4tablespoons tamarind paste
¼cup fish sauce (nam pla)
2tablespoons rice vinegar
½teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1small head Napa cabbage (about 4 cups)
1cup mung bean sprouts
½pound peeled shrimp, pressed tofu or a combination
½cup roasted peanuts
¼cup fresh cilantro
Water (to cover noodles)
Tools you will need
Cutting board and knife
- Chop scallionsScallions should be roughly the same size, about ½-inch or smaller.
- Mince garlicGarlic should be as small as possible, in very fine pieces (about ⅛ in).
- Shred cabbageTear the leaves apart into strands of about ¼-inch.
- Chop roasted peanuts
- Chop fresh cilantro
- Quarter limesLimes should be cut into four equal-size wedges.
- Boil water. You’ll need it for the noodles.
Tools you will need
Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover.
Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft.
Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside.
Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer.
Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.
Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add scallions and garlic and cook for about a minute.
Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done.
Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp or tofu (or both).
When shrimp begin to turn pink and tofu begins to brown, add drained noodles to pan along with sauce.
Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well.
When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.