Drunken Pad ThaiPosted: September 11, 2011
I like pad Thai but I kinda hate the syrupy cloying crap that restaurants serve. This takes a bit longer than a lot of the stuff I make so I think it is best suited for non-after-work cooking since it requires full prep. I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes and a modification of this: http://chezpim.com/cook/pad_thai_for_beginners. It is the best luck I’ve had. I have some recipe that calls for catsup in it. Really Nina Simons? Catsup?!?! And your book claims to be all about recreating your travels to Asia. And Bon Appitit hired you!!! Catsup?!? Yeah, I never made that recipe as is either. Then again I am bad at following recipes.
I can’t vouch for total authenticity and I really have no excuse, but whatevs, this is what I call Drunken Pad Thai. And not cuz I’m tanky. It has some elements to Drunken Man Noodles.
Please read the link, if you like that recipe better, great! Make it. Eat it. But if you have ever had wok-fail like me, the step by step ffor working with wok heat is super helpful and changed my life. I made this for the first time 2 weeks ago as our faux-hurricane night meal and for the first time ever, was able to avoid wok-fail. See, I never understood how the heat on it worked and, at least if I buy into this, It is because I let the wok get cold.
What I used:
Lb of flat wide rice noodles
Juice if 2 limes, or just over 1/3 cup
Equal amount fish sauce
Just under 1/3 cup regular sugar, I’d say it was a 1/4 cup
About 2 tablespoons siracha/cock sauce
About a half cup chopped Thai basil
About a half cup cilantro
a handful of cashews
Bean sprouts, I’d say a cup
Package of firm lite tofu-mine is 12oz.
Crushed chili pepper
A fat 2 in piece of ginger
3 large garlic cloves
Grape seed oil
What I did:
ok, so you really have to do a whole mis and get everything ready. Everything. The only thing I waited on was the cashews.
Drain The tofu, wrap it in towels, cloth or paper and press it. I use paper because I hate the environment. When the towels are wet change them and go do the other stuff.
So make the sauce. Even though I am a stones throw from chinatown, and even passed through and could have stopped my cab to go shopping on my way home from getting my hair did today, and I am a constant Internet food product shopper, and am a stickler for getting the proper products for cooking, no, I don’t use tamerind. I know. I am being lazy. I use lime and I really don’t care that you are secretly judging me. Add it to the judgement for me buying pre-peeled garlic. So juice your limes. You want about a 1/3 cup. 2 limes gave me just over that. I juiced the limes first then measured my fish sauce so I could preportion it right. So measure the fish sauce now, duh. I honestly think the smell of fish sauce on it’s own is just vile, but it cooks up in this fine. The cats don’t seem to agree as 2 of them came around and were smelling the air as I did this. It made me lulz. This is one of the few times you will see me use this other than when baking bread where it seems to be required, but add the sugar. I think sugar is normally pretty vile as well, but it cuts the fish sauce. I use about a 1/4 cup. I have tried to make this type of thing omitting the sugar and it never works, so just use it ok.
Whisk it all together until the sugar melts? Disinigrates? Is no longer dry. I don’t know the word, but you know what I mean. Set it aside.
Go press the tofu again and change the towel if needed. You want it pretty dry, as dry as possible without too much effort.
Peel and mince the ginger, chop fine the garlic and put those two in the same prep bowl.
Slice the scallion, use the whole thing. I never understood just using the while or the green parts and just use the whole thing. Why waste?
Press the tofu again and change the towel.
If you have a balcony garden, or really any garden, go out, or preferably send out someone, the husband, to cut some for you. Get enough to have about a half cup or more once chopped. Chop it. I have trouble growing cilantro so I buy that. Wash it and chop it. You want like a half cup or more. Whatever. Put those both in a prep bowl.
Soak your noodles in hot tap water. Mine say that they should soak for 30-35 min, so I soaked them for 25 so they would not overcook.
Press the tofu once more and chop it. I make it fairly small. Like a 1/4″ thick by 1/2″ wide. I get 10 pieces per by slicing the brick off on the short side if that makes any sense, or if you want a reference. Really though, why I just described this was silly, slicing is not rocket science. I like to cut up the tofu after I chop the herbs so it gets coated in the herbs.
Ok, so everything is ready except for the cashews:
Put the wok on the flame set on high. Put in the dry pan some dried chili peppers/crushed red pepper. I used a tablespoon. I’d personally use more, but not everyone wants to set their mouth on fire like me, so that amount gives it a tad of heat, but is not offensive to anyone, unless they are a total Midwestern girl when it comes to heat.
When the chilis start smoking and make the air all hot and your nose kinda burns, add some grapeseed oil, not a ton, just enough to coat the pan. You are not deep-frying this. Add a bit of sesame oil for flavor. Just a splash.
When that smokes in about 30 sec or so, add the tofu and half the garlic/ginger. If you did not press it enough, no worries, water will expel. It will no matter what, but the amount will depend. I did a good job this time and not too much water cam out. Stir it and add about a 1/4, slightly less of the sauce. Heat the sauce prior to this so you don’t cool the wok down. I just microwaved it for 40 sec. Stir it again, just so it coats. Then, let it cook and leave it alone mostly. I know every wok recipe says to keep it moving. Ignore this here. Really. You want all the water from the tofu to cook off and just dry cook it so it gets charred. It will caramelize from the sauce and get som char flavor. This can take 10 min to do. But don’t count on it and wait to chop all your stuff while letting it cook, cuz it could take less time and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down, so to speak.
I use this time to do the cashews. Get the dry roasted unsalted kind. Or at least raw unsalted. If raw toast them on the stove, if roasted get out the mortar and pestle and crush them. I used a handful, like 2 oz or a 1/3 cup. Yes I know, cashews and not peanuts. you could use peanuts, but I like cashews better so I use those. Besides, as my old alt-medicine practitioner used to say, peanuts are like firecracker for your ass. If that doesn’t make you want to avoid them, well, I guess you like firecrackers?
So the tofu is done:
Add the noodles to the pan and the rest of the sauce. Now is when you want to keep stirring. Stir stir stir stir stir. Keep stirring until all the liquid is absorbed. Like 3-5 min. The noodles will fully cook in this time. Since there are a lot of noodles, this may be hard and there may be some noodle overboard! No worries. It’s done, push it to the side and crack in the eggs. Since I am a dumb ask for help and have the husband crack them straight in and there is some egg overboard. Better to just crack the eggs into a prep bowl in advance and pour them in when ready. Hindsight.
Add the rest of the ginger/garlic to the eggs. Let them sit for a min then start stirring around so they mix in and cook. Add the herbs and Scallion and bean sprouts and stir to combine it all. Again, it is going to be a really full pan, so it may be hard, but you can do it! Cookie all for a minute or 2 and turn it off and add the cashews: