Uncle Chev’s Just for Two not-quite-vegetarian Phad Thai
Straight from super-cool old lady living in a little village along the hiking trails of southern Thailand, this recipe has nothing terribly complicated in the way of contents, as ingredients should be in any old vanilla supermarket or oriental grocery. However, by adjusting slightly the chilli, you can customize the outcome anywhere along the spicy continum from socially palatable to insidious to outright barbaric. The lime juice also brings a lot to the party, but the overall end result is a sweet, sour, spicy noodle dish that should totally flood your taste buds.
- 300g rice noodles (i.e. half your average package of medium rice stick) – if fresh, then soak in lukewarm water for at least 30 min. If dried, it’ll likely be closer to 1-2hrs. – they should be soft, but not quite ready to eat. If the water’s really starchy, drain and rinse them until it’s clear.
- 120g tofu (super-firm if you can) – chopped into small pieces and fried until brown and crisp
- 45mL sesame or canola oil
- 5g garlic – two fair-sized cloves, chopped
- 40g brown sugar
- 45mL fish sauce (Mr. Squid if you can get it, you’ll know it by the big lunging orange squid on the label, with the big caveat underneath “Contains No Squid!”)
- 15mL rice vinegar (Murukan is good, or just plain white, if you’re in a pinch), or tamarind
- 5mL soy sauce (actually Koyo Tamari shoyu is best if you can get it, fermented in cedar, all natural, no icky stuff)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 30g chopped peanuts
- 2 piles of dried chilies to taste
- 20g chives – cut into 1 inch pieces (or spring onion)
- 60g bean sprouts
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- coriander, chopped (fairly well, like you were going to smoke it, though obviously don't. Planet Yuck!)
By request, as enth caught me out here, taking this off my homenode. as stated, it is hella good …
1. Prep. time here, all in, once the noodles are ready to go, is going to be about 30 min. total, and most of that is chopping, rinsing and putting stuff in little easy to get at hard to knock over bowls, arranged around your immediate cooking surface and wok.1 Wash and drain the corriander and bean sprouts well, as any excess water can tip the delicate balance towards hated mushiness.
2. Put oil in wok, heat, medium high. Add tofu and garlic. Fry for a minute or two, until garlic is brown, then add the soaked rice noodles, and some water (maybe 50mL). Stir over high heat for a couple minutes until the noodles are now quite soft and the water’s gone, making sure it doesn’t stick.
3. Add vinegar, dried shrimp, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and stir well.
4. Push everything up on the side (a full sized wok comes in handy here) and pour the eggs into the bottom. Scramble them for a minute, adding a bit of oil if necessary, then flip the egg in with the rest. Stirring, add nuts and the dried chili. Mix it up.
5. Throw in the bean sprouts and chives. Mix for a few seconds, then turn off the heat.
6. Serve garnished with coriander, more peanuts, chives/green onion, and the lime wedges. Enough for two.
1 I really cannot impress enough how vital it is that you get everything ready, chopped, open, whatever, ahead of time – and have it all beside the stove. Because (as highlighted in the recipes above) if it’s going to taste right, it should all come together really fast. So pick out some of your more intensely ripping audio yarns for the cookery: I’m tipping Underworld's Luetin (...sex and Everything, sex and Everything...) or better yet some Casino Versus Japan, say maybe track 4: “The Possible Light,” off Whole Numbers Play The Basics LP*, a grand kitchen vibe, or maybe … oh never mind. The point is the beat, as the cooking pace here is pretty serious. And one more thing, never try to make more than this much at a time, because it won’t cook right and will end up in a big lump, unless you’re a 60-year-old little Thai woman. Again, that's who taught my friend the recipe, while he was back-packing around central Thailand. The one hour lesson cost him five US dollars, best money he ever spent he claims.
* Apostasy maybe, but this is the record the Boards so desperately were looking for, but not quite getting, with Geogaddi. And absolutely perfect hot wok, high coordination cooking music, no lie.