Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Going Local: Pad Thai from Scratch

Last week I was looking for one of those make ahead dishes that can be served later that day or even the next day by simply reheating on the stove top. We've been having work done on the house we live in for the last month, so I've been relying on these dishes to get me through the times I don't have access to my kitchen. 

I decided on this pad thai recipe primarily because I had all the ingredients and because it's the short-cut version of pad thai.  In fact, if you substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce, it's a Going Local recipe, meaning you can find everything here in Dushanbe.  More traditional recipes will call for tamarind paste, coconut palm sugar, shallot and/or banana flower.  If you have banana flower, I say use it!  But if not, this version is perfect for the home cook based in Dushanbe, or Sturgeon Bay, for that matter!

Here's what you need.  The bean sprouts and the tofu can be bought from "the Chinese Ladies at the Green Bazaar".  I froze lime juice from fresh limes I bought in the Green Bazaar last year.  The brown sugar can be made this way -- use local molasses if you don't have any from the US.  The rice noodles were bought most likely at Tim or Paikar.  The rest of the ingredients -- cilantro, green onion, onion, eggs, garlic can be bought almost anywhere in town.

First up, the noodles.  I reconstituted in hot water per the recipe's directions but these noodles need more heat.  I recommend that you follow the directions on the back for cooking. 

I ended up having to cook them in boiling water for about 4 minutes on the stove top after about an hour of soaking.  

Once cooked, set the noodles aside then move on to the sauce:

3 tablespoons of ketchup.

3 tablespoons of fish sauce.  You can substitute soy sauce if you don't have fish sauce. 

I added a hunk of frozen lime juice I had buried in my freezer.  I called it 2 tablespoons.

And 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

And that's your sauce. Put it aside. 

Next are the scrambled eggs.  I decreased the amount of oil in the recipe and put only about 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil into my non-stick wok.  

Beat the three eggs, then place into the hot oil over medium high.  Scramble the eggs until slightly firm.  Don't over cook.  Slide them out onto a plate and set them aside. 

Add another tablespoon of oil into the wok and bring that up to temperature.  Add the onion, 

and the garlic and saute for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. 

Then add your protein of choice, tofu in this case.  Cook the tofu for about 2 minutes. 

Then add your ketchup sauce.

And two cups out of the three of bean sprouts to the stir fry.

And the chopped green onions.   (Pretend they are chopped.  I deleted that photo accidentally).

And the cooked noodles and 1/4 cup of water.   Cook the mixture until the liquid has almost all evaporated. 

Add your scrambled eggs back into the mixture, making sure they are broken up into little chunks. 

Toss in the coarsely chopped cilantro, about 1/4 - 1/2 cup.

Cook until everything is heated through.   Add the last cup of the bean sprouts and toss.   Then it's ready to serve - either on a family-sized plate or in individual bowls.  

Either way, garnish with coarsely chopped peanuts and dig in!

And while I was relegated to the top chan (the raised tea bed) while the "masters" replastered and repainted the earthquake cracks last week, I enjoyed my leftovers.  

And paired with a cold diet coke on a hot day with a dollap of sriracha hot sauce, I dare say it was even better the next day.

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