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