Nov 30, 2008

Pad Thai

I lurve this recipe. It's so easy and so tasty. It's also one of the "gateway" recipes I used to make Kyle kind-of-sort-of like cilantro. In reply to my email I was asked a few questions (is there something you can substitute for the ketchup? can you omit the cilantro? what other veggies would you add?), and I have since modified the recipe to include some of the suggestions. The original recipe did not have tofu or red pepper. Here are my answers, based on the original email:
"Don't omit the ketchup. The sauce doesn't end up tasting like ketchup, so don't worry. Cilantro is not necessary if you hate it. However, Kyle hates hates cilantro and I added about 1/8 of a cup really finely chopped and he was OK with it. I think it makes it better because the cilantro is cooked a bit. But if you hate cilantro, then no point in buying it, right. I wouldn't add other veggies... pad thai is usually pretty simple. Maybe some chopped red pepper. And I"d probably add protein next time by frying up some tofu, chopped into small cubes... right now it's pretty protein poor. If you're not into tofu yet, this is an OK way to cook it to start getting used to it: Chop it up until small cubes - about 1-2cm on each side. Marinate it in a little bit of soy sauce, garlic, ginger and veg broth for as many hours as you can. Then dump the tofu (sans soy sauce) into a frying pan with sesame oil.. Fry the tofu until it's brown and crispy (this might take a while). Then add it to the pad thai in the last step when you're adding everything else. Even people who don't really like tofu tend to like it when it's prepared that way."

Pad Thai
Effort: med-easy
Ingredients: pretty common (rice vinegar and rice noodles would be the only difficulty)
Cookbook: I can't remember where I found this recipe, and I've made modifications anyhoo

8 oz rice noodles, uncooked (I just used one package of rice noodles)
1 block tofu, cubed (1/2 " cubes work well)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp each reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp + tsp sesame oil, divided (+ extra for sprinkling)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced red onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bean sprouts (i usually omit these and it still tastes good)
1/2 cup grated carrots (i usually add more than this)
1 red pepper, chopped into med-small dice
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

- If you are can plan ahead, chop tofu and then marinate it in a bit if soy sauce, garlic, and lime juice for several hours (or overnight).
- Cook noodles according to package directions (usually this involves pouring boiling water over them and letting them sit for 3 minutes). Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again. Sprinkle with sesame oil to help prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Saute tofu over med-high heat in 1 tbsp sesame (or chili) oil until it starts to take on some brown colour. Set aside.
- To makes sauce, combine ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, and crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat veg oil in a large, non-stick wok or skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Add the tofu plus all of the vegetables (bean spouts, carrots, green onions, red pepper and cilantro). Mix well. Add noodles, mix, and cook until noodles are heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle individual servings with chopped peanuts.

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