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Pad Thai

Pad Thai
Pad Thai is often called the signature dish of Thai cuisine.
It's my "litmus test" whenever we try a new Thai restaurant - if their Pad Thai is good, chances are that the rest of menu is too.

There are many regional variations - it's been said that there is a different Pad Thai for every cook in Thailand! It even sometimes seems like a different Pad Thai every time we make it at home (largely due to the varying contents of our pantry).

Here's our favorite basic recipe.
Ingredients:

8 ounces rice noodles
2 tsp peanut or other vegetable oil
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tsp Sriracha hot chile sauce (or to taste)
1/4 cup palm sugar (brown sugar is an acceptable substitute)
2 teaspoons Tamarind concentrate , mixed with 5 tablespoons water
1 medium egg, beaten
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped with a knife
½ lb cooked shrimp
1 cup bean sprouts
½ cup cilantro leaves, plus a little extra for garnish
1 - 2 fresh limes



Directions:


Place rice noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 15 minutes or more depending on how soft you prefer the noodles. Drain and set aside.


Heat the oil in a wok or large sauté pan, add the garlic and shallots and cook briefly until they just begin to brown slightly.

Add the fish sauce, chili sauce, sugar, tamarind, half of the chopped peanuts and the rice noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

As you stir, the noodles will absorb the liquid, so sprinkle in 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed.

Continuing to stir with one hand, slowly drizzle in the beaten egg to form fine "ribbons of cooked egg. If you prefer, you make a thin egg "crepe" separately. Roll it up and slice it into thin noodle-like strips, which can be added to the pan at this point.

Quickly add the bean sprouts, cilantro and shrimp and cook very briefly, another 30 seconds.

 

Remove from the pan to a serving platter.

Sprinkle with remaining chopped peanuts and cilantro and garnish with lime segments.


Variations:
* Just before serving, toss with cubes of tofu or thin slices of stir-fried chicken, pork or beef.
* Substitute shreds of Napa Cabbage or Bok Choy for the bean sprouts.



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