Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A little Asian persuasian.

I really should write recipes down. I'm terrible about it. Having this to write has honestly been the only time I've regularly recorded what I make. I really like trying new recipes...I try one or two new things a week, I'd say...but the way I like to cook my old standbys is a handful of this and a cup or so of that...a splash of this, a 1-2-3 count of that. And not surprisingly, you can tell, cause it's never the same twice.

Maybe that makes me an irresponsible cook. I'd like to think it makes me an exciting cook. You never quite know what you're gonna get (evil eyebrow lift).

I think the prime example of this is my Pad Thai. But since my Pad Thai made the list in the husband's-favorite-things-I-make bridal shower game, he doesn't seem to mind too much. (Although, I do think I know the version that's his favorite. It includes pre-made sauce that's hard to find. But I try my hardest to fake it.)

I'd say a large percentage of our meals have an Asian flair of some sort, from Thailand to India to the middle east. I think it's probably the spice factor. We love eating it out, and we love making it at home.

I love Thai food because it's spicy, flavorful, not meat heavy, and normally full of rice noodles, which I can eat. And it looks so colorful and yummy in my wok. So I keep searching for a great Pad Thai recipe, but I've discovered that while everyone has their idea of how it's best, the main ingredients tend to be roughly the same, so I stick with those.

If I could buy it at a street cart on the streets of Bangkok, I would. In a second. But until then, I have to make my version of it with a bit more Americanized ingredients. But keep in mind that fish sauce is a necessity. Don't think about what it is (fish soaked in brine, then pressed. Don't think about that.), think about the deliciousness it adds to pretty much any Thai dish. The ground shrimp is optional, but if you decide to use it, you can usually find it in the Hispanic spices section.

The ratios take some trial and error, you may like it a bit sweeter (more sugar), spicier (more sriracha), or a bit more sour (serve with lime slices, that tends to help), so play with the sauce til it's where you like it.

Eat it with chopsticks. It helps the experience, I promise. If you don't know how...learn. It's worth it.

Pad Thai
2 servings rice noodles
1 tbsp peanut, sunflower, or canola oil(small but healthy pour)
3 cloves garlic, minced
8oz chicken, cut in bite sized slices or pieces
(Or substitute/add raw peeled shrimp or sliced tofu)
1 egg
big handful sliced carrot (about a cup)
3 large handfuls bean sprouts
2 stalks green onion
2 tbsp or so chopped peanut
handful of cilantro
About 3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
a big squirt of ketchup, maybe 1/4 cup or so
Sriracha, about a tablespoon (more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
juice of half a lime, more to taste
Big pinch ground shrimp (teaspoon or so)

Cook the rice noodles by putting them in a bowl and covering them with boiling water. Let them soak until soft, about 25 minutes. Prep everything else in the meantime, because once you start stir-frying, it all comes together really quickly.

Heat peanut oil in wok or large saute pan. stir fry chicken pieces about 5 minutes or until cooked. Add garlic, stir-fry another minute. Push everything to the side and crack egg into wok. Scramble it by cutting it in pieces and pushing it around, about 2 minutes or until cooked. Add carrot, stir-fry all another few minutes. Add 2 handfuls bean sprouts and drained cooked noodles, mix, then add sauce, and mix well. Remove from heat, and top with remaining sprouts, peanuts, cilantro and green onion. Serve with lime slices.

Serves four. (Or two big portions. But you have to do the math there.) About 340 calories, 13g fat, 44g carbs, 2g fiber, 19g protein

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