Pad pao. Or maybe Kung Thai.
February 10, 2015
First off. I don’t have a photo of the finished product of this. Because I am not only an idiot, I was obviously a hungry idiot, and failed to take one.
Do not let this influence your decision to procure the makings and make this. First, it’s about the easiest 30-minute dinner you can make. Second, it’s healthy. Third, it’s good (albeit it might have been a tad better had I been somewhat more circumspect with the sriracha). Fourth, it’s cheap.
I had a bag of frozen shrimp residing in the freezer that were really needing to be used. I had rice noodles. I had a variety of Asian condiments. I had dry roasted peanuts. Bingo!
A trip to the grocery garnered me some limes, some green onions, some water chestnuts, some snow peas….but no bean sprouts. The mega-Kroger that has 900 different kinds of cheese does not have bean sprouts. Who’d’a thunk it? Must either find a source for bean sprouts or learn to grow my own.
As an aside, this would have been full-blown pad Thai, but for the fact Kroger did not have tamarind paste. Obviously I need to make a trip to Memphis to the Asian market.
Back home, I got busy on my mise-en-place, which I have learned is essential for Asian cookery, because you don’t have time to be chopping and such when everything cooks quick, fast and in a hurry. So I chopped up garlic, grated ginger, diced carrots, sliced up green onions, and strung the snow peas. Drained water chestnuts.
Do not fail to string the snow peas. Nobody tells you to do this, and I’ve had a dish or two collapse because of a tough string on a snow pea, and then I learned to string the snow peas. It’s worth the extra five minutes.
Pick and choose from amongst your collection of condiments. I grabbed rice vinegar, mirin, sweet chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, organic soy sauce and sriracha. I dumped a half cup of peanuts in a plastic bag, and beat them up with a meat mallet.
Oh, and somewhere in there I par-boiled about eight ounces of pad thai noodles, the flat rice noodles that look like linguine when they’re cooked up. Dumped those in a colander and rinsed them down with hot water.
Then I took a deep breath and commenced to cooking. There will be no measurements, other than approximations, below, because, well, I didn’t measure.
Peanut oil and sesame oil, in about 2-1 proportion, into my 12-inch non-stick skillet, because I didn’t feel like dragging out the wok. Added the carrots, snow peas, water chestnuts, ginger and garlic. Let them saute until a little of the crisp was gone from the carrots, and moved them over into a bowl.
Tossed the shrimps, which I’d previously peeled, into the skillet, and sauteed them until just barely done, and moved them into the same bowl.
Commenced building the sauce, in the same skillet, which you never wash out. Started with two beaten eggs, which got loosely scrambled. While they were cooking, I added healthy portions of chili garlic sauce, sriracha, organic tamari, mirin, and rice vinegar. I’d say it all ranged between a tablespoon and three tablespoons, with the tamari on the high side. I thought I’d overdone the tamari, which poured out quicker than I’d suspected it would, and I DID overdo the sriracha, which is easy to do with sriracha, which meant the final dish would be fine for someone who likes a fair amount of heat, but I’ve gotten to be a heat wuss in my advancing years. And I kinda forgot how hot sriracha is when I was squirting it about in the skillet.
So you just dump all that stuff into your skillet on top of the eggs (don’t you KNOW the eggs are thinking, “WTF? What is all this? Where’s my bacon?”), and build your sauce. Then you dump in the drained rice noodles, and toss them until they’re coated with the sauce, and then you dump the bowl of veggies and shrimp back in, and add the green onions and most of the crushed peanuts, and at that point you remember why you should have dug out the wok, because the wok has higher sides and you will not stir/toss as much stuff out onto the stovetop and the floor.
Not that I would know that from experience, or anything.
When you plate this up, sprinkle it with some of the reserved peanuts.
Good stuff, particularly if you weren’t quite as liberal with the sriracha as I was.
This is a supremely forgiving dish. You can vary the condiments pretty much as you want; you can change around the protein (chicken? Tofu? Pork?) You could serve it over rice instead of tossing the noodles in the sauce. You could vary the veggies (broccoli? Cauliflower? Green (shudder) peppers? Asparagus?).
All I would have done differently is lower the heat level just a tad, and add more ginger. I likes me some ginger, and it got kinda lost amidst all the other more robust ingredients.
You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em need to try this, the next time you’ve got some leftover shrimp or chicken or steak or whatever you need to use up. And a few ounces of protein goes a long way when you stir it all up with something like this.