Thursday, August 07, 2008
Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai
I love noodles dishes. I guess being Asian, it's hard not to love noodles. Our bread and butter, yes? At first, Vik was not much into noodles - once in a while, but not at all close to my sudden craving for wok-fried noodles. Until he visited Asia that is - Medan is the highlight, he literally could eat noodles for every meals. Yeap, the abundant varieties and they are just delicious ! Yum!.
Though I can make any noodles as often as I wish, it's just not the same. Largely, it is due to the wok and gas burner, or even better, coal type of stove (the name escapes me). My grandpa was super awesome when it comes to these type of wok frying: open fire, flames shooting up from the side of wok. Oh my! The beauty of having outdoor/ wet kitchen is Asia.
I've been to Thailand couple times but couldn't remember seeing Pad Thai - hawker style. Maybe I was too young, all I remembered was the fun festive night market. Upon conversation with this one gal, her description of hawker style Pad Thai in Thailand reminds me of wok fried noodles back in Medan. It should be on drier side - nothing too oily or gravy-iesh.
Most of the ingredients for making Pad Thai are staple in my kitchen - fish sauce, tamarind, rice stick noodles, sprouts. Except for tofu. Vik is not big fans of tofu - unless I 'hide' it somewhere in the dish. I LOVE TOFU. So, coming home from work, I grabbed a pack of extra firm tofu from store.
There are couple techniques on how to go about frying/cooking up Pad Thai. The dump and fry all of them sorta way - typical hawker style, I think. They don't have the time to do things in batches, do they. Or, cooking it in batches - fry up tofu, prepare scrambled eggs first.
I learn that, eggs part is always tricky when one has smaller work. Adding eggs at the end (which that's how it should be done), while using smaller wok, risking the noodle getting covered/ sticky goey with eggs mixture. Cause there is not enough working space in wok to work up/scramble the eggs before mixing it with noodles. Some people may like slightly egg-coated noodles, but .... hm....
So, might as well prepare the eggs part first (if using smaller work), and set it aside and add it at the end of cooking process. My wok is about 15" and at that, I am just fixing it up for two people, so I just dump and fry. :)
- 250 gram rice stick noodles (soak or slightly cook according to package, it should be slightly hard and not thoroughly cooked) - I also use thinner version of rice stick, instead of the flat thicker version served in most places. Just because that's all I have in the pantry.
- tofu, cut to squares
- handful of shrimps, shelled and deveined
- 1/2 chicken breast, slice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 3 tbsp tamarind juice (either from canned juice or soak tamarind in hot water)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 4 tbsp palm sugar
- 2 tbsp sambal ulek (or sriracha hot sauce, optional)
- 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional - we love ours very spicy hot, so adjust to taste)
- 2 stalk green onions (or chives) chopped to 1 inch lengths.
- 1-2 handful of fresh bean sprouts
- cupful of broccolis (optional, I just happen to have 1 small crown of it in fridge) chopped up to its florets
- crushed peanuts
- Mix together fish sauce, tamarind juice, lime juice, palm sugar, sambal ulek together. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the wok. Make sure it's hot before tossing in cut up tofu. Fry until golden. Push to the side of wok. Toss in shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper. Stir.
- Add chicken. When chicken is half cooked, splash some water to wok and add in noodles. Stir.
- Add in the liquid mixture to wok. Stir and mix thoroughly.
- Toss in broccolis and green onions. Stir.
- Push noodles to the side of wok and add shrimps to center of of wok.
- When shrimps are almost cooked, mix noodles to shrimp. Toss together.
- Last, make a well (or push noodles to the side) and add whipped up eggs to center of wok. Let it set for a while, then scramble it. It is matter of preference here, I like the eggs on chunkier side, so I let it set first before 'separating' it out. For smaller 'crumblier' egg bits, scramble it right away.
- Serve with crushed peanuts on top (and some coriander - I don't have any of them at the moment)