If wikipedia is to be trusted, the title of this post should not be insulting your grandmother and telling you I’m a smelly ratbag, but rather should tell you what I made for dinner last night and ate leftovers of for lunch today.
I really love this Pad Thai recipe, and have never had a bad review from friends I’ve made it for. I think this is helped by the prevalence of incredibly bland and disappointing versions of Pad Thai a number of restaurants (generally lunch bars) seem to serve up around town. The use of wide, flat rice stick noodles does not necessarily a Pad Thai make. This recipe is packed with flavour, as evidenced by the smell of my house for hours after making it. Today was a particularly whiffy day, as I also needed to season a new wok, but at least the smell of liberated peanut oil molecules went nicely with the later addition of shrimp paste and tamarind, and now I have a nicely seasoned wok upon which to make more lashings of stinky fare!
I picked up the wok for a bargain from Tran’s Emporium just down the road on Newcastle St in Northbridge. It was my first visit to Tran’s and I was in heaven! Every Asian ingredient you could possibly need, and many things you have no idea why anyone would possibly need. I discovered there my new favourite snack – Roasted Seaweed (Laver) which is basically little snack packs of seasoned nori squares. I can’t actually understand anything else written on the pack except that the ingredients are seaweed (laver), canola oil, corn oil, sesame oil and salt, and each pack contains 20 calories. What an oily bargain. I can foresee many happy moments in my future, strolling down the aisles of Tran’s and buying strange things I may live to regret.
I was given this Pad Thai recipe by my sister, who put it together from a few different Pad Thai recipes she had. I’m glad I have a sister who is as keen on cooking as I am!
Oh and just to mention, the photos on this page are of my leftovers that I reheated for lunch today, and seem to be much more generous with the ‘bits of stuff’ and not so filled with noodles as the dish I was serving last night (plus I was quite rough when reheating it and managed to break up what noodles I actually did have in my serving). The recipe is thus more noodley than these photos may suggest. In fact, it may be called noodletastic, if one were so inclined.
3 Tb tamarind puree*
2 Tb grated palm sugar
1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce (the one with the big roast chicken on the label! Has anyone ever used it on a big roast chicken?)
1/3 cup fish sauce
375 g packet of XL (the wide ones) rice stick noodles
300 g uncooked prawns
2 Mt Barker chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tb dried shrimp paste
1 Tb grated fresh ginger
2 small red Thai chillies, seeded (if you’re a big wimp) and coarsely chopped
1 Tb peanut oil
3 eggs, beaten lightly
2 cups bean sprouts
4 green onions, sliced thingly
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
1 lime, quartered
* If you can’t find tamarind puree (which has a smooth consistency) and can only find tamarind pulp (quite chunky consistency) you’ll need to include an extra step in your method. Soak 40 g tamarind pulp in 1/2 cup boiling water for 30 minutes, giving it a good stir/squish every now and then. After the 30 minutes, strain the mixture over a bowl, pushing through as much of the pulp through the strainer as you can and making sure to scrape the underside of the strainer occasionally to collect all possible pulp. Discard the solids left in the strainer and use the pulp/liquid mixture in the bowl as for the tamarind puree in the recipe.
1. Cook the chicken breasts in a moderate oven until cooked through. Shred apart using forks. Set aside.
2. Mix together the tamarind, palm sugar, sweet chilli sauce and fish sauce. Set aside.
3. Shell and devein prawns (and cut them into more manageable pieces if they’re as mutantly gigantic as the ones I currently am lucky enough to have sitting in my freezer. I sliced them right down the middle, like butterflying but cutting all the way through). Set aside.
4. Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water until they soften. Drain noodles and set aside.
5. Blend or process or crush using mortar and pestle the garlic, shrimp paste, ginger and chilli until you have a nice stinky paste.
6. Heat oil in wok and stir-fry spice paste until fragrant. Add prawns, frying for a minute or so. Add egg, stir-fry until the egg just sets. Add noodles, tamarind mixture, chicken, sprouts and half of the onion; stir-fry, tossing gently until combined and everything is heated through.
7. Remove from heat; toss remaining green onion, coriander and nuts through pad thai.
8. Serve with lime wedges (and perhaps some extra sprouts, coriander and crispy fried onion pieces for good measure).
This recipe actually says it serves four people, but last night’s effort managed to create six decent sized meals (especially when followed up with Bakewell Tartlettes and ice cream! Strange combination of dishes I know, but it went down a treat.)