I had a long day at work today. Actually its been a long short week if you know what I mean. TGIF! I picked up the kids from preschool and even though I was tired I decided to tend to some plants in the garden. You know, I just need to learn to listen to my body better. J has been trying to get me to learn to chill for the past 14 years (wow!), and I think I've gotten a bit better....
Anyway, at around 5pm the kids were starting to show signs of a meltdown, so I resorted to the rectangular babysitter (like most of you haven't :-)). R wanted to watch Dora the Explorer and A wanted to watch his now-favorite show, Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild. Well, they watched both.
I rarely get this way, but I just did not feel like cooking. Take-out would be an option, but then the guilt set in. J and I are going out sans kids tomorrow night, so I didn't think it was right to eat out two nights in a row. I somehow never had this much conscience when I wasn't working out, but now that I'm busting my A-- in the gym, the brain is on overdrive. Oh well. Opened the pantry and saw a packet of dried rice noodles (from Central Market) looking fondly at me. A Ha! Pad Thai it will be! But wait, I haven't been to the grocery store all week, so lets see what we have on hand.
What you see below is a very loose interpretation of Cooks Illustrated's recipe for Pad Thai. I really missed the scallions, but otherwise it was quite good (and reasonably guilt-free).
P.S. Sorry for the singleton photo. I cooked in a real hurry, so did not get a chance to capture many pics. Secondly, I've categorized this as 'vegetarian' even though it has fish sauce. I reckon you eat it at the local Thai restaurant anyway, so why not here?
Pad Thai simplified
(Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, 2002)
4 tbsp tamarind paste
3/4 cup water
6 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp canola oil
1 lb dried rice noodles
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts (didn't have plain roasted ones; so I used honey roasted ones. This was an even better substitute
3 cups bean sprouts
8 oz extra firm tofu, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
5 scallions, greens only, sliced thin (did not have any on hand :-()
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarse chopped
1. Add tamarind paste, water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, cayenne, and 2 tbsp oil into a bowl. Mix and set aside.
2. Cover rice noodles with hot water and soak in large bowl, approx. 20 minutes. Soak until pliable and limp but not fully tender. Drain noodles and set aside.
3. Beat eggs with 1/4 tsp salt in small bowl. Set aside
4. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a flat bottomed wok or large skillet. Add garlic and onion, cook over med high till light brown. Add eggs and stir vigorously until scrambled and barely moist, approx 30 sec. Add noodles, toss with 2 wooden spoons to combine. Add tofu, bean sprouts, and fish sauce mixture, increase heat to high and cook tossing constantly, till noodles are well coated.
5. Scatter peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges (squeeze just before eating).