Tonight I hacked together two recipes for pad thai. One came from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman. The other came from Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons. They both had components that I was fond of (one had tofu, one had sriracha, etc). The recipe came together nicely, since the differences in the original recipes were slight, but it tasted nothing like any pad thai I have ever had. It was alright, but I would not make either recipe again. I don't know what makes restaurant pad thai taste differently, but I will need to find out so I can successfully replicate it at home!
12 oz rice noodles, preferably vermicelli
1/4 cup lime juice, or more, to taste
3 Tbsp Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce, or 1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 to 2 tsp hot chile sauce
3 Tbsp canola or corn oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger (optional)
1 carrot peeled and cut into thin julienne strips
8 to 10 scallions, halved lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 cup diced pressed tofu
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, divided
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1. Soak the noodles in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain them.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce or salt, sugar, chile sauce, and 1 Tbsp water.
3. Pour 1 Tbsp of the oil into a large non-stick skillet, and cook the eggs over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the eggs are barely cooked, transfer them to a plate.
4. In the same skillet (rinsed if necessary), add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil. Over medium heat, add the garlic and ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds, then add the carrot, scallions, half of the peanuts, and the tofu. Saute for 1 minute more, stirring frequently. Add the lime juice mixture, then the drained noodles. Cook the noodles, stirring constantly, until they are tender but still chewy, about 1 minute. Add a bit more lime juice if you'd like a perkier Pad Thai, and add the sprouts and the scrambled eggs, stirring well. Quickly divide the mixture among plates, sprinkle with the remaining peanuts, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings