Monday, April 7, 2008

Noodles of Deception

Pad Thai- Not as Hard as it Looks

Now, I know it looks like this dish has 7 million ingredients, but putting them together doesn't require a lot of thinking. Pad thai is one of those dishes that can be deceptively easy to make, but impresses the hell out of people. Here's a simple recipe that can be on the table in a half hour. Adjust the noodle::stuff ratio depending how noodly you want it. And if you're picky you could probably eliminate 1/3 of these ingredients and still have it taste pretty damn good.

Ingredient of the Day: Spiced Extra-Firm Tofu
You can find this in Asian markets and specialty stores. You've probably had it in pad thai before. It's very firm tofu with a little bit of spice, and adds a nice touch to your pad thai. And, of course, it's full of protein.

Pad Thai

2 tbsp oil
2 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 onion
1 carrot, shredded
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 block spiced firm tofu, in small cubes.
1 block regular firm tofu, cubed
8-10 frozen, pre-cooked shrimp
1 egg
Rice stick noodles, cooked
Thai seasoning blend (try Bankok Blend from Penzeys)
Fresh basil, if you have it
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Kecap manis
Lime juice
Fresh cilantro (if desired)
Crushed peanuts, if desired

Get the water started for the noodles, which cook fast. In a large saucepan, sautee the garlic in oil till golden, then sautee onions until lightly browned. Add both kinds of tofu and cook for a minute, then add bamboo shoots and carrots. Add liquid and dry seasonings and stir, then add the egg and mix it in well. Just before adding the noodles, throw in the cooked shrimp. Add water if more liquid is needed, but don't go overboard. When noodles are cooked, stir them into the sauce until flavors are incorporated. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro, if you like. Amaze your friends with cooking prowess.

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