pad Thai

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category: [asian]

Serves 6 to 8 1/2 pound dried rice noodles, 1/8 inch wide warm water cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined (optional) 1 pkg firm tofu (one-half pkg may be better?) 1/4 cup fish sauce (soy sauce OK instead) 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white vinegar 1 Tbsp catsup 4 green onions 1/2 cup vegetable oil (more if needed in Step 6) 1 tsp (2 cloves) finely chopped garlic 2 eggs, beaten 3/4 pound bean sprouts 2 Tbsp ground roasted chilies 3/4 cup ground roasted unsalted peanuts lime wedges 1. Soak the noodles for 20-25 minutes in enough warm water to cover them. They should be flexible and soft, but not so soft that they can be mashed easily with the fingers. Drain them thoroughly in a colander while preparing the other ingredients. Cut them into shorter lenghts for easier stir-frying. 2. Mix the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and catsup in a bowl, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set the mixture aside. Slice the green onions, both white and green parts, diagonally into pieces 1 1/2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Set aside. 3. Put the tofu on a triple layer of paper towels, cover it with another triple layer, put a plate or cutting board on top of that, and put a weight on top of the plate (e.g. a can of soup or tomatoes). Let stand for 20-30 minutes to press excess water out of tofu. After the tofu has been pressed, slice it into 1/4-inch cubes. 3.5 Consider baking the tofu. 4. Heat a wok, add the oil, and swirl it over the surface of the pan. Add the garlic and stir-fry until light golden. Add the noodles and toss lightly to coat them with oil and to distribute the garlic. 5. Add the sauce mixture from Step 2 and bring it to a boil rapidly, gently folding the noodles without breaking them. Reduce the heat to medium and boil the mixture, folding frequently, until the noodles have absorbed the liquid. 5.5 Add tofu! 6. Using a spatula, lift the noodles gently from one side of the wok. Pour a little oil along the side of the wok, then pour in half of beaten eggs. Cover the egg with the noodles immediately. Repeat this on the opposite side of the wok with the remaining egg. Allow the eggs to cook undisturbed, over moderate heat, until they are set and almost dry. Additional oil may be added if the eggs or the noodles begin to stick to the wok. 7. When the eggs are set and almost dry, fold them gently but rapidly into the noodles. Try not to break the noodles, which will be soft and fragile at this point. An effective way is to insert the scoop under the eggs, lift it through, and fold the mixture over. Continue the lifting and folding motion until the eggs are broken up and well distributed. 8. Add the bean sprouts and sliced green onions (and cooked shrimp, if desired) and toss the entire mixture quickly and gently, still avoiding breaking the noodles. Cook for about two minutes, or until the bean sprouts and green onions are crisp-tender. 9. Place the mixture on a large warm platter. Sprinkle the ground chilies and peanuts over the top and squeeze lime juice over that, or serve these garnishes separately, for each diner to add according to taste. source: one of Geoff Pike's cookbooks