Friday, February 15, 2013

Foodie Friday: Vegetable Pad Thai

I really like to cook.

Unless of course I’m extremely sleep deprived and only have a short amount of time. Then I just like to cook…and that’s only if take out is not an option.

That’s where this recipe comes in. Wednesday night we returned from the gym with a 30 minute window before both of us would be calling the delivery guy from Jimmy Johns. We were on the verge. And because I had just made this recipe for some dear friends who just had twins, I knew it was fast, easy and delicious.

So dinner was freaky fast and homemade too.


Pad Thai is one of my favorites. I have a lot of them. But this is up there in the top 10. Alex, on the other hand, could take or leave it. Not sure what he’s thinking. Pretty sure the fish sauce scares him off. He hates seafood.

But every once and awhile I make him succumb to eating something I really like. And Wednesday night was one of those nights. This recipe is so delicious and once you have made it once or twice you will realize it’s actually really easy too. It seems like a lot of work at first but again, once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s old hat.

Veggie Pad Thai

(adapted from Cooks Illustrated – for no adaptations see here)
Serves 4 as a main dish

1/3 C water and 1/3 C lime juice combined
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper (this packs some heat, lessen if you don’t like spice)
4 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
8 ounces dried rice stick noodles, about 1/8 inch wide (the width of linguine)
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon table salt
3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (1 tablespoon)
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
6 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
3 cups bean sprouts (6 ounces)
5 medium scallions, green parts only, sliced thin on sharp bias
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
Veggies: Your choice…we used baby bok choy, carrot shreds, snow peas, yellow peppers

1. Stir fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil into the water/lime juice mixture and set aside.

2. Cover rice sticks with hot tap water in large bowl; soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside. Beat eggs and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl; set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick) over high heat until just beginning to smoke, about 2 minutes. Add vegetables and some water. Cover with lid so they steam. After approximately 10 minutes check for doneness. Should be tender but still crisp. Set aside.

4. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl to coat; add garlic and shallot, set skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes; add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds. Add noodles and veggies to eggs; toss with 2 wooden spoons to combine. Pour fish sauce mixture over noodles, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated. Scatter 1/4 cup peanuts, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup scallions over noodles; continue to cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are tender, about 2 1/2 minutes (if not yet tender add 2 tablespoons water to skillet and continue to cook until tender)

5. Transfer noodles to serving platter, sprinkle with remaining scallions, 2 tablespoons peanuts, and cilantro; serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.

NOTE: I’ve also made this with chicken. To cook the chicken I simply bake it in a pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

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