Pad thai varies from household to household and cook to cook. Although my version isn't entirely authentic, everyone loves it. I was honoured to be cooking with Andrew Parker and Dylan Zeppa this fine evening. Andrew has been going to Fanshaw College in London so we are glad to have him back in the 'hood for a visit. I am basically blogging this recipe for my kids as it is one of their favourite dishes and they want to be able to make it when they "move out."
My version has simplified the vegetables and sauce to use ingredients on hand. I use a mixture of proteins including egg/omelet, firm tofu, chicken thigh and/or shrimp. If you are vegetarian the recipe adapts well so follow along.... just use the tofu and/or roasted nuts. The recipe is a bit long but once you get the knack of the various steps you will be able to make it faster.
Makes 8 large servings/1 large party platter
350 gram package of tofu, sliced into strips
300 gram package (about 8 pieces) chicken thigh, boneless, skinless, cut in strips
1 bag shrimp, defrosted - I used organic DOM peeled and deveined shrimp (size 31-40)
vegetable oil for sauteeing
4 eggs, medium
2 Tbsp (30 ml) cilantro
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) + red hot chile pepper flakes
2 Tbsp (30 ml) brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) ketchup
2 Tbsp (30 ml) worcestershire sauce (or fish sauce)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce - I used a light tamari
juice of one lime
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) hot chili paste
(use 1 tsp paprika if you don't like hot spicy food)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil, smoked
4 cloves garlic, minced
6+ cups of green cabbage, shredded thin
2 sweet red peppers, in strips or squares
8 oz (227 g) box of white mushrooms, sliced
225 grams of Asian style thin rice noodles or vermicelli
1/2 cup (125 ml) toasted peanuts or cashews
2 fresh green onions, sliced into rings
1. Squeeze excess water from tofu over sink using hands. Squeeze gently like you are wringing water from a sponge. Be careful not to break it up but remove as much moisture as you can before you are in danger of it falling apart. Slice into narrow french fry style strips. Heat a few tablespoons oil in non-stick pan until hot. Add tofu and leave to brown and crisp on one side. Flip. The photo below shows the tofu browned and set aside in a large bowl.
2. Add more vegetable oil and quick saute shrimp and then chicken pieces. Add to the bowl with the tofu.
3. Beat eggs with minced cilantro.
Heat non-stick pan with a bit more oil. Fry omelet in non-stick pan. Sprinkle with fresh or dried hot chile pepper.
Fold in half and remove from pan. Put on cutting board to cool and cut into strips.
4. Combine sauce ingredients. You can use Worcestershire sauce instead of fish sauce. Fish sauce is more authentic so use it if you have it. I used an organic gluten free Worcestershire sauce.
5. Prepare vegetables for Pad Thai. I used shredded green cabbage, red peppers squares and sliced white mushrooms. I use cabbage instead of beansprouts as I almost always have it on hand. Heat smoked sesame oil and saute garlic and vegetables until tender crisp.
The photo above shows bits of carrots and broccoli I added to the mix as they were left from another meal and I wanted to use them up. The recipe is pretty flexible as to what vegetables you can add.
6. The photo of the noodles above are Chainly brand from Taiwan made of green bean and potato starch. If you don't have Asian noodles you can improvise and use spaghetti or even egg noodles. You will need to cook those noodles according to the package directions if you substitute.
Soak Asian noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes in a large bowl. Allow to soften but keep still firm. I used 6 bundles or 225 grams from the 300 g bag.
Drain noodles. Cover and keep warm in bowl.
7. To serve, assemble platter by spreading rice noodles around perimeter of a large platter. Fill centre with Pad Thai. Arrange omelet wedges over top and garnish with cilantro and toasted peanuts or cashews. Arrange cooked shrimp around perimeter. You can serve Pad Thai hot, warm or cold.