Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pad Thai with Tofu


I've always wanted to make Pad Thai at home.  I make the curries after all so why not give Pad Thai a try?  There was a great article on Thai food in last month's Bon Appetit.  So I decided to go for it.  Unfortunately I couldn't find all of the ingredients but I did the best with what I could find and I'll just have to keep on the lookout for the rest next time I am near an Asian grocery.  The recipe did call for shrimp which is never hard to find, I just don't care for it so I left it out.  I also opted to leave out the ground dried chiles and stirred in my favorite ground chile and garlic paste as I was eating it.  To see the real recipe head over to Bon Appetit. 

Makes enough for two

5 ounces pad thai rice noodles 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 a block extra firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes (press out as much water as you can)
1 cup bean sprouts  
5 tablespoons tamarind water, or 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon tamarind paste mixed with 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water (I didn't have either, but I did have tamarind concentrate and I used it as a replacement for the tamarind paste.  I think Tamarind paste would have been better and will get some and use that in the future)
1 1/2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons simple syrup, preferably made with palm sugar (I just used white sugar but after reading more about palm sugar would recommend using brown sugar to get more of a "caramel like flavor")
4 scallions, 2 chopped into 2 inch pieces the other 2 thinly sliced (it called for garlic chives which I could find but I imagine they would add an extra flavor that I would like) 
2 tablespoons crushed roasted, unsalted peanuts, divided
2 lime wedges

Most packages of Pad Thai noodles say to soak the noodles for 25 to 30 minutes, the recipe in Bon Appetit said to soak them for only 10 which is what I did.  I found that I had too cook them in the sauce for longer to get everything to soften up so I would recommend soaking them in hot water for about 20 minutes.  Drain the noodles and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Add the egg and stir until barely set, about 30 seconds, be careful the oil will spit and the egg will foam up.  Use a wooden spoon with a LONG handle!  Add the cubed tofu.  Stir carefully for about 3 minutes.  Try not to break the tofu pieces but let them get some color.  Add the drained noodles and cook for 1 minute.  Add the bean sprouts.  Pour in the fish sauce, simple syrup and tamarind.  Stir fry for about a minute until the noodles have soaked up the sauce.  Add 1 tbls of the peanuts and the scallions cut into 2 inch pieces.  Stir together gently and serve.

Garnish with the remaining scallions and peanuts.  Serve with lime wedges and chili paste (if you want) on the side.

If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them!  I liked how this tasted, I just think it could have been a little better.  I think I just need to get my hands on the other ingredients in the Bon Appetit recipe.

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