Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pad Thai

Well, once again it has been more than a year since my last post. In that past year, two important things have happened a) I got married and b) I moved to Germany because that is where my husband works. Because of these things I've had to make some adaptations to my cooking and baking routines. Some ingredients I use at home are either hard to find here and/or significantly more expensive, particularly spices, baking soda and anything Mexican-food related. Plus it's interesting to try and find all your usual ingredients when you don't speak the language. But I'm managing!

Cooking with another person's opinions in mind is also a new challenge for me. Fortunately, my husband and I are very similar in in tastes for a lot of things and I'm the more picky of the two of us anyway. One of my husband's favourite food's though, is Pad Thai. I had never had it before I met him and now it's one of my favourite dishes as well! This is the recipe that we use, which we got from my husband's father and his wife.

Pad Thai

3 tbsp oil
1 small onion (or shallot)
1-2 cloves garlic
150 g Rice Noodles
2 tbsp soya sauce
50 gr tofu
50 gr shrimp (or cooked and cubed chicken or pork)
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup)
1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 tbsp peanut (ground or finely chopped)
Lime slices and more bean sprouts for serving

1) With this recipe it is very important to have everything ready and within reach before you actually begin cooking. So, start by soaking the noodles according to the package directions. (Usually 20-30 minutes)
2) While the noodles are soaking, chop up the tofu into small cubes. Also dice the onion, mince the garlic and chop/crush the peanuts as needed. If you are using frozen shrimp you will probably also want to thaw it at this point as well
3) When ready, heat the oil in a pan or wok at medium heat. Then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onions turn clear
4) Add the noodles with a small amount of water (2-3 tbsp) and the soya sauce. Cook until these soften, stirring constantly so that they don't stick to the pan
5) Add the tofu and shrimp (or chicken or pork) and heat while mixing thoroughly with the noodles
6) Clear a space in the middle of the pan to break the egg into. Scramble the egg in the pan and then when it starts to look cooked, mix in with the noodles
7) Add in the fish sauce, brown sugar, tamarind paste, bean sprouts and peanuts. Stir until well mixed and heated through
8) Serve with fresh squeezed lime juice and more bean sprouts

A few notes about this one, we always double the recipe to make enough for the two of us (plus some leftovers!) but we have to do it in two batches (following steps 3-7 twice) and then mix the batches together in the end because we only have a small pan. We also tend to use more protein than the recipe calls for here. Also, we use more 'sauce' than the original recipe, so if you make it and think it's too strongly flavoured you might want to give it another try but reducing the amount of fish sauce/brown sugar/tamarind paste. Finally, we've found that this is definitely a recipe that works best if you have two people to work on it together. This way one person can constantly stir the noodle mixture while the other measures/adds ingredients. Overall though, it's not as complicated as it looks and it's super tasty!