This week’s Accidental Locavore Cook-Along recipe continues the Marcus Samuelsson theme, and is taken from his cookbook New American Table that we were given at the Red Rooster Harlem event. Of course I picked the recipe least likely to be considered American…Pad Thai. My excuse? I’ve always wanted to try my hand at Thai food, and this recipe was a convenient excuse. This is a great dish to make when you feel like wielding a knife in the kitchen, and the bonus? It’s a super easy and quick recipe once you’ve gotten everything prepped. The chopping and prep work took about a half an hour at a leisurely pace. The downside? Lots of pans to clean, so you make the Pad Thai and con someone else into the clean-up. Serves 4-6 according to the book, seems like 4 good sized portions to me.
Pad Thai adapted from New American Table
- One 8 ounce package rice noodles (lacking an 8 ounce package, use half a 16 ounce pack)
- 1 cup unsalted, roasted, skinless peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 birds eye chiles, seeds and ribs removed (unless you like it really hot), chopped (these are the skinny red or green Thai chiles)
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (substitute pork or shrimp if you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimp paste (the Thai grocery on Bayard St in Chinatown had all the ingredients)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (the man in the grocery said they don’t import this anymore, and sold me tamarind liquid, which worked fine, I used a bit more than 1 TBSP)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup firm tofu cut into 1/2″ cubes and patted dry with paper towels
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 2 tablespoons Chile Vinegar (see below)
- 1 lime cut into wedges
In a medium pot soak the rice noodles in 4 cups of hot water until softened, about 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the peanuts and toast until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk the eggs together. Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium heat (not having a small nonstick saute pan, I sprayed mine with Pam, next time will probably just use a little oil, or a bigger nonstick pan). Add the eggs and cook until done about 3 minutes (you’re making scrambled eggs here). Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and chiles and saute until fragrant 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken and peanuts and saute until the chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rice noodles, eggs, shrimp paste, fish sauce, tamarind paste, soy sauce, sugar, tofu, scallions and cilantro. Toss gently to combine. Drizzle the chile vinegar. Serve over the lettuce and with the lime wedges. Enjoy.
- 2 Thai chiles, seeded and ribs removed, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (I used seasoned as that was all I had and it was fine)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.
My rating: 3 stars. Mostly because the rice noodles were too stiff. They probably needed boiling water, and more than a 10 minute soak. This was spicier pad Thai than you usually get from a Thai restaurant which was fine by me. I would definitely make it again, but might substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Getting the ingredients was a bit of a challenge, but I love this little grocery in Chinatown, and once you get all the stuff, you have it (the chiles can be frozen). Added bonus, there’s a Chinese bakery on Mott Street of Bayard that has amazing pork dumplings to take home.
Frank’s rating: 3 1/2 stars. Same issue with the noodles, and he thought there were too many peanuts, which is easy enough to fix.
What do you think?