Pad Thai

Good news everyone!
My little brother likes cooking!

Pad ThaiSo over the last year, my younger brother Steven has taken a liking to cooking. Keep in mind, he is a 25 year old male, and unlike most guys his age, he is NOT malnourished feeding himself microwaved pizzas and going out for wings every second night. Instead, he is trying new recipes almost every day. Steve and I will often chat on the phone and share recipes and cooking tips with each other. He is very ambitious, making such gourmet delights like pad Thai and won ton soup (he made the won tons.) He has mastered (and feels passionately about)  the fried steak, serving it with a homemade Bearnaise sauce or a homemade peppercorn sauce (with green peppercorns!) I have even tried a few of his recipes, including a delicious chirizo sweet potato curry soup, and his fabulous fish tacos! To sweeten the deal, Steven has even made homeade pies … from scratch! (pear, and mango raspberry, crust and all!)

As many of you may know, one thing I thoroughly enjoy doing is cooking with friends and family. Cooking by yourself is nice, but it is always better having two in the kitchen. John and I love spending the evening cooking together, and I frequently have my girlfriends over when cooking is the entertainment. But cooking dinner with your little brother? That is something special.

So Steve was in town last weekend, and came down to my place so we could spend the evening together. The pad thai recipe we used (and this week’s recipe of the week!) is featured in the Looney Spoons cookbook that my family uses religiously. Steve had made this recipe before while I hadn’t, so he took the drivers seat on this one. Steve even insisted that we use tofu as the recipe requested. I myself would have never done so without some persuasion, but I was delighted with this addition. In the end, we had a lovely time cooking together, and made some awesome pad thai.

We forgot to take a picture because we were so excited to eat. Luckily, Steve had a pic from the previous time he made this dish:

TIPS:

– We used chicken and tofu. Try using any combination of shrimp, chicken and tofu.
– We also added mushrooms, which was a nice touch.
– With the amount of ingredients, we did 1.5x the original sauce recipe.
– We mixed the rice noodles in with all the stir-fried items to serve.
– Make sure you buy extra-firm tofu! This is Steve’s tip.
– Drop the chicken and shrimp and make this vegetarian
– If you are big on fish sauce, substitute 1 tbsp of soy sauce for 1 tbsp of fish sauce

Squid Brand Fish Sauce
Ingredient I can’t live without:
FISH SAUCE
Although the idea of this makes my stomach churn, it is delicious in Thai and Asian cooking! John and I buy the squid brand from TNT (MSG free!), which has a picture of a nasty squid on the bottle, eliminating any small trace of appeal this sauce has to begin with.

Spice/Herb of the week:

CILANTRO
I always heard some weird wives tale that you are either born liking cilantro or not, depending on genetics or some chemical reaction or something like that. THIS IS MYTH IS FALSE! Not so long ago, both Steven and I detested cilantro, and now we love it. Such a great garnish to any curry or stir fry!

I had a great time cooking with my brother, and look forward to the next time we do this!

So before I conclude this email, a quick spoiler for next week! John and I are hosting our gourmet club dinner. (I will explain more how this works later.) So be prepared for a wonderful 5 course meal!

Bon Appetit,

Julie

Click here to view printable Word version of recipe:
Pad Thai

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Pad Thai
This recipe inspired by the cookbook “Eat Shrink and Be Merry” by Janet and Greta Podleski

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce (alternatively use another 1 tbsp ketchup)
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
1 fresh chili, minced (alternatively ½ tsp red pepper/chili flakes

Choose meat or vegetarian (or both!)
8 oz uncooked medium shrimp or chicken( 225 grams) – peeled and deveined
1 cup extra firm tofu – diced

8 oz (227 grams) rice stick noodles
2 tsp peanut oil (or other cooking oil)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 red bell pepper – diced or sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
2 cups bean sprouts
3 green onions minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts or cashews – chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  • Assemble all ingredients  and get them ready to go( chopped, peeled etc)
  • Prepare sauce by whisking together lime juice, fish sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, gingerroot, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili/crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl.
  • If you are using chicken, season with salt and pepper and fry chicken in pan until cooked. Remove from pan.
  • Place rice noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water overr top. Let soak 7 minutes then drain.
  • While noodles are soaking, heat peanut oil in a large non-stick wok. Add onions and garlic and cook over medium high heat until tender- about 2 minutes.  Add red pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add shrimp and tofu and cook until shrimp turns pink –  about 3 minutes.  Add reserved sauce, noodles, bean sprouts, green onions and cilantro. Add chicken back to pan. Toss and cook until mixture is hot about 1 minute.  Garnish with peanuts/cashews and serve.
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