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Pad Thai – Success at Last

Pad Thai – Success at Last

Previous attempts were not very successful – too sweet and just not very good.   But this recipe, adapted from the Tassajara cookbook, resulted in tasty Pad Thai – success at last!  I attribute this to proper noodles and preserved radish (a product unfamiliar to me until now but I found it in a small Asian grocery store in Winston Salem, NC – the store owner referred to it as “turnip”).  The rice noodles have the proper texture and the radish (turnip) adds sweetness without the palm or brown sugar in most other recipes.  I made a few changes – substituting lime juice for the lemon and adding a little water at the end to make it “wetter”, but other than that, very satisfied with the outcome.   You can do with or without tofu or add some shrimp – all delish!

Ingredients

  •  2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup firm tofu, cut in bite size pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons preserved radish (pickled turnip)
  • 4 scallions, sliced on diagonal
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
  • 1 cup mung sprouts (I could not find that day, so I omitted and it was fine)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons soy mixed with 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • fresh mint & cilantro

Method

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  • Assemble ingredients (packaged preserved radish photo in center above)
  • Prepare noodles by soaking in hot water for 20-30 minutes until they soften (they will not be completely tender  – this happens when they are cooked!)
  • Prepare tofu:  Set on flat surface (plate or pan) and place weight on top to release liquid – this may take an hour, give or take).  Cut the tofu in bite-sized pieces and marinate in additional 4 tablespoons of soy sauce for 30 minutes (or overnight).  Drain the tofu, heat a wok (hot but not smoking).  When hot, pour about 1 tablespoon sesame oil in pan, toss the tofu in and cook til brown and fried.  Remove, set aside for use later.
  • Prepare additional ingredients:  mince garlic & herbs, slice scallions, juice limes, mix water and soy sauce, measure nuts and drain noodles well.
  • Reheat the wok to hot but not smoking.  When hot, add 1-2 tablespoons sesame oil – the next steps go quickly so have everything ready)
  • Saute garlic, add eggs and cook until set, stirring them in.
  • Add noodles, radish, scallions, 1/2 nuts, 1/2 sprouts and toss together.
  • Add chili power, soy/water and toss until ingredients are well combined.  If it’s too dry add a little more hot water or soy sauce.
  • Add fresh herbs and lime juice and combine, season if necessary with salt & pepper (or additional soy sauce.)
  • Serve, topped with additional sprouts peanuts and lime wedges.

Note:  Don’t like tofu?  don’t use it – you can substitute shrimp or bits of chicken, or nothing as the eggs do provide protein.

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