Pad Thai


No longer cooking my way through the Whole Foods Cookbook – going forward this blog will be simply a record of “dinner last night” when I remember to update with pictures.  I will try to continue the theme of “did my kids like this?”  (Kids meaning only Dylan at the moment, and Aeryn in about a year when she’s eating real food.)

This recipe comes from “Honga’s Lotus Petal” which was a gift from my sister (over at Insomnibake – check her out!).  Had I not been wrangling a hyper 3.5 year-old and an end-of-day-cranky baby at the time, this probably would have come together in under 30 minutes.  Extenuating circumstances being what they were, it took about an hour.

For the more exotic ingredients (okay, mainly the dried shrimp), you may need to seek out an Asian grocery store.  I took the bus down to Great Wall in Sunset Park for the dried shrimp and mung bean sprouts – everything else was easily obtained at a regular American grocery store.  (Tamarind paste might be the other hard to find one on this list, but it all depends on where you live.  In my neighborhood, tamarind is about as exotic as parsley.)

If you don’t have easy access to an Asian grocery store, shrimp paste or maybe even anchovy paste would be a pretty good substitute.  Or you could just skip it and add a little extra fish sauce.

Enough blathering.  Onto the recipe…

  • 1 box wide ride noodles (recipe calls for “7 oz 3-mm rice noodles”)
  • veg oil for stir-frying
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 block firm or extra-firm tofu*, drained, patted dry, cut into small cubes (or whatever protein you want)

Sauce:

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried shrimp
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock or water

*DO NOT BUY SILKEN TOFU FOR THIS RECIPE.  Learn from my mistakes.  The flavor turned out fine, but instead of having nice chewy tofu cubes to bite into, the silken tofu broke down and texture-wise was basically indistinguishable from the scrambled eggs in the finished dish.

Since this is a stir-fry, you’ll want all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking anything.  First step is to soak the rice noodles in hot water for 5-10 minutes until they’re soft.  Stir frequently to avoid sticking (I did not do this nearly as much as I should have, see above re: children.)  Rinse the noodles off and hold them in a bowl of cold water until you need them.

If you have a mini-prep, spin all the sauce ingredients together in it.  If not, just pulverize the dried shrimp in a spice grinder and then mix everything together in a little bowl.

Preheat a wok or large nonstick skillet.  Add oil and then add onion, stir fry for about a minute.  Add the ginger and garlic to the eggs and pour those in as well, stirring quickly to scramble the eggs.  (Adding the ginger and garlic to the eggs prevents the garlic from burning.)

Add the tofu and stir-fry about 2 minutes.  If you’re using chicken or shrimp, make that “until cooked through.”

Add sauce, stir until evenly distributed.  Add noodles and stir-fry, adding stock/water a few tablespoons at a time, until the noodles become clear and there is enough sauce to coat everything.

Serve topped with scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, and limes to squeeze over the top.

Dylan eating Pad Thai

"It was so yummy we just had to eat it!"

Dylan report: A surprising thumbs up!  The key to getting him to eat dinner at this phase is, apparently, to simply not mention anything about the dish that he might balk at.  In this case, I did not warn him that it was a little spicy.  I simply told him it was a new kind of noodles and had peanuts on top.  And I let him squeeze his own lime wedges (a little interactivity is always a bonus).  He wound up eating almost the whole bowl (leaving only the bean sprouts behind) and when I told him at the end of the meal that he’d just eaten something spicy, he declared for the first time ever “I *like* spicy foods!!”

  1. #1 by Megan the Insomnibaker on February 3, 2011 - 8:06 pm

    Oh, so glad you’re using that recipe book!! I loved reading through it, and would love to try out the Korean recipes sometime. Hooray for foodblogging and cute pictures of the D!!!

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