Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whatever You Call It, It’s GOOD!

I’m perfectly happy calling this dish Pad Thai, even though I know it’s not exactly that. Basically, you chop up anything you like - lots of vegetables plus chicken and/or shellfish - and then stir fry it with noodles. Of course, it can be animal-free as well.  

The reason this isn’t REALLY Pad Thai is that I’m not using rice noodles. I’m using spaghetti.

BUT the reason I CAN call it a version of Pad Thai is because just about everything else is the same - most especially the tamarind paste, which is essential to Pad Thai.

So whether you call this Fried Spaghetti Southeast Asian style, or Pad Thai (with a wink), it’s SOOOO good. Oh, one other little change I made is to substitute soy sauce for fish sauce (which I can’t STAND!). Use either or some of each.  

There IS a bit of prep involved...


and more…

But then you just stir fry things separately, then together, and voila – PJD THJI.

Sometimes Pad Thai is served garnished with nuts, scallions and other goodies. I add it all to the pan and only garnish with lime wedges.

My Pad Thai (serves 6)

Printable recipe here.

½ block of tamarind
2 tbls. rice wine vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
4 tbls. sugar

Vegetable oil for frying
1 large onion, sliced
3 carrots, julienned
12 large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 package bean sprouts
1 cup of cabbage, green or red
Red pepper, cut into strips
2 or 3 chicken breasts, cut in half to make thin breasts and then cut into strips
2 eggs
1 lb spaghetti, cooked
1 bunch of scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped peanuts or cashews, toasted
Extra soy sauce
Optional garnish: 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Cover ½ block of tamarind with boiling water. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid if desired, for another use. (It could be added to any curry dish.) Squeeze the flesh of the tamarind away from the seeds and woody bits. You should be left with a pulpy, sweet and sour (and yummy) paste. Mix the tamarind paste with the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.  Set aside.

All the frying in the next steps should be on medium high heat. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil before each group of ingredients goes into the pan.

Start with 1 tablespoon oil (or 3 teaspoons) added to a large wok or large sauté pan. Stir fry onions and carrots for 2 minutes. Remove to big bowl.

Add a bit more oil in pan. Stir fry shrimp for one minute. Add to carrots and onions.

More oil. (Remember?) Stir fry beans sprouts, cabbage and red peppers together for 1 minute. (I forgot the peppers, that’s why they’re not in the picture.) Add to carrots and onions.

More oil. Stir fry chicken for 3 minutes or until just done. Add to rest of cooked ingredients.

Add more oil and add eggs to pan. (They can be beaten or unbeaten, it doesn’t matter.) Beat them now and fry quickly to make crepe-like pancake. Remove to plate and cut into large strips.

Add 1 tablespoon or so of oil to pan. Heat and add cooked spaghetti. Stir quickly to coat in oil. Add tamarind sauce mixture and stir fry for one minute.

Add onions and carrots and all the remaining ingredients back into pan. Stir fry for 2 minutes until hot. Taste for seasoning. It will probably need more soy sauce and/or a bit of salt. Serve at once, garnished with lime wedges, if desired.



The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I had been waffling about whether or not to try the new Thai lunch spot for lunch today or continue on to the Vietnamese sandwich shop where I can get my sandwich toppings on a nice salad. Now I regret that I did the latter.

It's funny about fish sauce. I don't mind it. I can't eat it straight (nasty) but when you add it to Thai dishes, I dno't notice it. I don't note the fishiness of it when it's mixed with other ingredients.

Your layout of ingredients certainly is beautiful!

Sue said...

I think either place sounds awesome for lunch!

I know you're absolutely right about fish sauce...and that, of course, it's worse when you smell it in the bottle than when it's IN a dish. It's just that the gagging prevents me from actually pouring it onto anything I plan to eat.

Mis en place is a beautiful thing!

Emily said...

This looks gooood. I like that you used spaghetti. I was going to make pad thai last week, and when I went to the grocery store I discovered rice noodles were over $4.00 a box. Isn't that crazy?

I'll just use spaghetti from now on. I've never bought fish sauce before...

Sheila said...

I don't mind fish sauce. But then I googled it to see if what was actually in it so that I could tell if my little one would react to it.... I think I might mind fish sauce now....

I do have a "soy" sauce recipe I can use that's not toooooo bad. I think this is definitely on the menu for the weekend!!! Thanks!

Any other suggestions for a soy substitute? My recipe uses balsamic vinegar and beef broth and molasses...