If there is one international cuisine that my husband and I love equally, that's got to be Thai cuisine. We have our favorite Thai restaurants in each city! That's something you have to have figured out!
Everytime I think of making Thai food at home - I think about the one time I screwed it up big time - I had called our friends over for dinner - and told them I was making Thai. I got everyone excited about the food - I had made red curry. I had got the curry paste from the store - added my veggies and all that and added the paste to cook. It would have been really good if I had read the instructions at the back. The packet said to use 1 tbsp of curry paste - I had used the whole packet of it! Oooppsss...We all sat down to eat and each of us put a spoon of the rice and curry into our hungry mouths - the minute the curry touched the back of the tongues, I knew it was time to call the fire engines! It was hot..not just hot - but just can't eat hot. Talk about showing off your international cooking skills to your guests! I'm just glad that we are still friends!
So, every time I cook Thai food now, I do make sure that its not another night of fiasco! I'm extra careful if I'm adding store bought spices or pastes.
This last friday, I decided to skip the curries and stick to just rice and noodles. A carb over load friday night - and sleep until late Saturday morning - talk about good planning!
I do have to mention that this time I did not make the pad thai paste from scratch. I've done that a couple of times before but never seem to get that restaurant taste - I'm sure I was missing something. So, I got a pad thai paste from the store and used a little of that for the flavoring. If you are vegetarian, please keep in mind to look for a vegetarian pad thai paste - usually the regular ones contain fish sauce. The vegetarian version replaces the fish sauce with a mushroom based sauce which matches the flavor. You can find this in speciality asian markets. The regular american grocers all usually carry just the normal pad thai sauce version.
Let's get started with the fried rice. Here's my plate of veggies for the fried rice. Clockwise from left - onions, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, broccoli, bean sprouts and carrots.
In a wide pan, add about a tbsp of oil, fry the onions first for a min. Then, add the red and green bell peppers. Saute for a couple of mins. Then, add the carrots. Don't cook the veggies completely. They should still be crisp at the center.
Add the broccoli at the end and just saute for a min. Add salt to taste. I added about a tsp of red curry paste dissolved in water to the veggies. That provides a nice flavor and spice to the rice.
Add about 11/2 cups of cooked rice to the veggies and mix well gently. You could use a fork if you like. Try not to smudge the rice and try to keep it grainy.
When all the rice is mixed up well, add the sprouts at the end and switch off the stove.
Serve hot. Really hot.
Now, moving on to the Pad Thai. I used the same palette of veggies as the fried rice but added baby corn and Fried Tofu to the Pad Thai.
I could not find fresh baby corn at the store and instead got the canned one. The thing I don't like about the canned stuff is the damn preservative smell and taste. In order to get rid of this, wash the baby corn well - like about 4-5 times in water. Then cut them into thin long slices and again wash them gently for a few times. Then, in about a tsp of oil, fry them separately for a few mins. This removes all the preservative smell and taste from the baby corn.
Cook the pad thai flat noodles in a pan of boiling water. Boil the water - then switch off the stove and then add the noodles. Let it sit for about 5 mins and then rinse the noodles with cold water. This will cook it just enough.
I got the extra firm tofu. To fry the tofu, cut into long pieces. Squeeze out all the water from the tofu. Some people add a coating of batter to fry these - but I just like them fried straight in a pan. I do not deep fry them, but do a shallow fry with about 2 tsp of oil. Let this just fry slowly until the sides are brown.
Saute the vegetables similar to the fried rice above. Add the roasted baby corn at the end.
Then, add the fried tofu and mix well.
Now, add the noodles. Then add the pad thai sauce and mix well with the noodles and veggies together.
Until you get this.Lick!
Add some crushed roasted peanuts and mix well. Or just leave them on the side.
There's our Pad Thai!
With the fried Rice. Long Live Thai Food!
Enjoy! Peace Out!