I tend to go through phases in which I crave spicy foods. Last week, I started in on a spicy jag when Sara and I made a pan of garlicky chicken tapas and a hot and spicy dish of chiles rellenos. Then, I went the green route with that herbed pasta dressed with garlic, olive oil, and all those wonderful green spices. This week , though, I've been visiting my Mom and Dad who, at this point in their lives, don't know 'hot and spicy' from the man in the moon. Coming home last evening, the urge built for a good plate of Pad Thai. I stopped and picked up the makings for this spicy, sweet-and-sour dish, then planned my kitchen attack the rest of the way home.
Apply the brakes here ... Silent Bob had pulled a Prince Charming move and had dinner all ready when I walked through the door . I know. I can hear you saying, 'Awwwwwww...!' already. Well, what's a girl to do? Suck it up and enjoy the moment! Delay the Pad Thai gratification! That's exactly what I did.
Today's another day, though! This afternoon, there were a few things bothering me about the dish. Everything I've read about Pad Thai indicates that it must have tamarind paste. Well, I can't find tamarind paste anywhere in this rural backwater, so I decided to go with a bit of ketchup, brown sugar, and fish sauce to get that bit of tangy sweet and sour flavor in the sauce ... not authentic, but a good substitute. In my reading of a bunch of Pad Thai recipes, I've also found some different vegetable mixes. For whatever reason, I have a yen for carrots, so I am going to add a small handful of julienned carrot strips along with scallions, mung bean sprouts, and some shredded cabbage. I'm also adding shrimp along with the traditional scrambled egg.
This is going to be so good ... I'm drooling just thinking about it! So, let's get to it! A glass of good Sauvignon blanc while I prep things, some music on the CD changer, and a kitchen beginning to smell spicy and wonderful ... perfect end to a good day! So... did I mention mise- en- place?
Pad Thai - printer friendly
inspired by Nina Simond’s recipe
¼ c. peanut oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned – thin strips
1 c. shredded cabbage
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails intact
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/3 c. fish sauce
¼ c. ketchup
1/8 tsp. hot chili garlic sauce
1 ½ tbsp. light brown sugar
3 tbsp. warm water
6 oz. flat rice stick noodles, soaked in hot water for 6 minutes and drained
2 c. fresh mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp. scallion greens, thin circles
¼ c. peanuts, chopped
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 ½ tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Preparing the Dish:
1. Combine in a mixing bowl: fish sauce, ketchup, hot chili sauce, brown sugar, and warm water. Whisk to dissolve the brown sugar and set aside.
2. Heat a wok and add 1 tbsp. of the peanut oil. Swirl to coat the wok and add the carrots, tossing to quickly heat and soften them. After a minute, add the cabbage and stir-fry to wilt it. Turn the carrots and cabbage into a cool dish and set aside.
3. Return the wok to the heat, add 1 tbsp. of the peanut oil and swirl to coat the wok. Turn in the shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp are just pink. Turn them into the serving bowl and set aside.
4. Return the wok to the heat and add the last of the peanut oil, swirling to coat the wok. Add the eggs and gently turn them until they begin to set up. Add the garlic and continue stir-frying until the eggs are just clumping.
5. Add the sauce to the eggs and garlic and stir to combine. Toss with the prepared noodles. Toss them for about 3 or 4 minutes – until the noodles have absorbed the sauce.
6. Add the shrimp, cabbage, carrots, and shrimp, and the bean sprouts and toss.
7. Transfer to a large serving dish and top with the scallions, peanuts, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. Arrange the lime slices at the edges, and serve.