Saturday, 28 December 2013

Chicken & Shrimp Pad Thai




Pad Thai is the first thing that comes to mind when we are in a Thai restaurant.  My husband and I have been frequenting a small Thai restaurant here in Doha called Thai Snack but they are not serving pure Thai food since they also have "pancit canton guisado" which is a Filipino noodle dish they also have tom yum noodle that is so sweet :-(.  So I was not surprised when their Pad thai tasted different.   

Thai Snack restaurant which is located at Al Nasr St. is supposed to offer Thai food as authentic as one can get outside of South East Asia.  Yes, no, and maybe, all I know is that their Pad Thai wasn't authentic enough for me as it is so sweet (may be i forgot to request for lime and chilli sauce perhaps?).  For me,  I want a pad thai noodle that has a well balanced sourness with that extra fiery-hot chilli kick that will make my husband sweat out profusely (evil grin) 





What is Pad Thai?  It is Thailand's most popular noodle dish locally and internationally.  It is a common dish found among Thai's dinner table and is also branded as the "ultimate streetfood" in Thailand.  Pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle dish that used a thick flat rice noodle (3 mm thick is commonly used) and a mixture of different ingredients such as pork, chicken, seafood, or vegetables. It is cooked with a sauce that is made of tamarind juice and / or lime juice that is balanced with sugar and seasoned with fish sauce.  This sauce makes the dish savory with a well-balanced sourness.  Hot chilli pastes or flakes are also added  as desired to provide the extra kick.  Then finally, chopped or whole peanuts are added to garnish the noodle dish before serving.

I have been really meaning to cook this Thai noodle dish for several months now and I was able to do so just a few weeks ago before Christmas.  Since I want to satisfy our palates with authentic tasting pad Thai  I painstakingly searched for an authentic Pad Thai recipe over the www so that I can tell my husband that I have an authentic recipe for reference otherwise he will not believe that what I am cooking is Pad thai and taste like pad thai.  He is usually skeptical about things you know.  Beware though, there are recipes posing as authentic Pad Thai but uses catsup / ketsup in the sauce.

Here's my take on the Pad Thai and it tastes really pad thai :-)

CHICKEN & SHRIMP PAD THAI
( http://www.myfresha-licious.com/ )

Ingredients :

Thai Rice noodles (3mm thick) - 250 g
Chicken, cubed - 200 g
Shrimp - 100 g
Garlic, minced - 5 cloves
Onion, diced - 1 medium
Green Onion Leaves, julienne - 5 stalks
Dried chili peppers - 1/2 tsp or as desired
Black Pepper Powder - 1/4 tsp
White Pepper Powder - 1/4 tsp
Peanuts - 4 tbsp
Vegetable Oil - 2 tbsp

Sauce :

Fish Sauce - 3-4 tbsp or to taste
Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp
Brown sugar - 2-3 tbsp
Knorr Tamarind Bouillon - 1/2 of a cube
Lime Juice - 2 tbsp (or half of a medium lime fruit)
Water - 1/4 c or enough to cook the noodles

Marinade for the Chicken:

Soy Sauce - 2 tbsp
Dark Sweet Sauce - 2 tbsp


Cooking Procedure :

1. Marinade chicken for at least 2 hours.  Drain and set aside
2. Soak Rice noodles until it softens but stays firm and not soggy (about 30 minutes depending on the rice noodles you are using)
3. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce and make sure that the bouillon and sugar are dissolved.
4 . Heat oil in a pan and fry the peanuts until they turn golden brown.  Remove peanut and set aside.
5.  Using the same oil, saute garlic until aromatic then add the onions then add in the chicken.  Stir fry under high heat until the chicken is cooked.
6.  Toss in the noodles and the shrimps and stir fry for about 5 minutes stirring briskly (still under high heat)
7.  Pour the sauce and sprinkle with the white and black pepper powder.  Stir.  Simmer until the noodles are cooked.
8.  Push aside the noodles and scramble the egg.  Mix the scrambled egg along with the peanuts and onions leaves with the noodles.  Stir for about a minute.

Dish out and garnish with  the remaining green onion leaves.

© myFresha-licious (28December2013)

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PAD THAI
Author: Natty Netsuwan
( http://www.thaitable.com/thai/recipe/pad-thai )

2-3 Servings, Prep Time: 40 Minutes, Total Time: 40 Minutes


Prepping

Start with soaking the dry noodles in lukewarm or room temperature water while preparing the other ingredients. Getting the noodles just right is the trickiest part of making Pad Thai. Make sure that the noodles are submerged in plenty of water. Check out Tips and Substitutions for in depth explanations. By the time you are ready to put ingredients in the pan, the noodles should be flexible but not mushy. Julienne tofu and cut into 1 inch long matchsticks. When cut, the super firm tofu/pressed tofu should have a mozzarella cheese consistency. You can fry the tofu separately until golden brown and hard, or you can fry with other ingredients below.
Cut the Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside a few fresh chives for a garnish. Rinse the bean sprouts and save half for serving fresh. Mince shallot and garlic together.

Cooking

Use a wok . If you do not have a wok, any big pot will do. Heat it up on high heat and pour oil in the wok. Fry the peanuts  until toasted and remove them from the wok. The  peanuts can be toasted in the pan without oil as well. Add shallot, preserved turnip, garlic and tofu and stir them until they start to brown. The noodles should be flexible but not expanded at this point.
Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case.
Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. The noodles should soft and chewy. Pull a strand out and taste. If the noodles are too hard (not cooked), add a little bit of water. When you get the right taste, add shrimp and stir. Sprinkle white pepper around. Add bean sprouts and chives. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled.
Pour onto the serving plate and sprinkle with ground pepper and  peanuts. Serve hot with the banana flower slice, a wedge of lime on the side, raw Chinese chives and raw bean sprouts on top.
As always, in Thailand, condiments such as sugar, chili pepper, vinegar and fish sauce are available at your table for your personal taste. Some people add more chili pepper or sugar at the table.


Tips and Techniques

  • By far, the trickiest part is the soaked noodles. Noodles should be somewhat flexible and solid, not completely expanded and soft. When in doubt, undersoak. You can always add more water in the pan, but you can't take it out.
  • Shrimp can be substituted or omitted.
  • In this recipe, pre-ground pepper, particularly pre-ground white pepper is better than fresh ground pepper. For kids, omit the ground dried chili pepper.
  • Tamarind adds some flavor and acidity, but you can substitute white vinegar.
  • The type of super firm tofu or pressed called for this recipe can be found at most oriental groceries in a plastic bag, not in water. Some might be brown from soy sauce, but some white ones are also available. Pick whatever you like.
  • If you decide to include banana flower, cut lengthwise into sections (like orange sections). Rub any open cut with lime or lemon juice to prevent it from turning dark.
  • The original Pad Thai recipe calls for crushed roasted peanuts. Thailand is hot and humid and storage conditions are often sub-optimal, so a certain fungus can grow on peanuts. This fungus is linked to cancer, so many people in Thailand avoid eating peanuts.  
  • One of the big challenges with Pad Thai's measurements is that the flavor densities and characteristics of the 3 core flavor ingredients: fish sauce, tamarind and lime juice vary greatly from brand to brand and purchase to purchase. Plus the salt content of your fish sauce, dried shrimp and preserved turnips will likely differ from ours. You will need to taste this as you're making it and keep the 3 flavors, salty, sweet and sour, in balance to your liking







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