Madhu Menon wrote: >> I know how to make a >> yummy Pad Thai. > > What's your recipe? Do share. > There a few thousand variations. > (as long as there's no ketchup in it.) Well it's sort of an amalgamated, modified Joy of Cooking/How to Cook Everything/Tara's sister version ;-) I don't like shrimp and peanuts make my husband puke, so this version has no shrimp and no peanuts and no tofu (sometimes I sneak it in if I think my hubbie won't notice). Too bad. So sad. I'm also a wimp when it comes to spice. For some reason chilies make my stomach hurt - but I love wasabi - like it so hot it makes tears stream down my face. So this is *very* mild pad thai - but you can add more chilies if you want. It's also a recipe with ingredients and equipment that I usually have around. No peanut oil - that's okay - use vegetable oil! I say, make the best food you can - but don't be afraid to substitute and use alternate methods if you don't have the exactly the right equipment or ingredients. Let's see... Prep: 1. Take the rice noodles and fold them into a bowl of hot water. Joy of Cooking says to leave them in for 20-30 mins - DON'T leave them in for the whole 30 mins. They'll be really mushy if you leave them in that long. 2. Beat 3 eggs. Scramble in a wok. Remove from wok. If you don't have a wok use a really really big frying pan, a big pot or one of those deep, rounded frying pans. 3. Defrost the chicken (better if you do it hours beforehand - but if you forgot - sling it in the microwave on defrost for awhile). Cut into slightly smaller than bite-sized pieces. 4. Before you squeeze the juice out of the lime, grate the zest off of at least a whole lime and set it aside. Make sure you're only grating the green bits. 5. In a measuring cup put 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce, the juice of a whole lime, 3 tablespoons of sugar (could be a bit more or a bit less depending on your taste). If this doesn't make up 1/2 cup in the measuring cup, add some more lime juice - if you have no more fresh limes or lime juice left - add lemon juice. 6. Put together on a saucer/plate: *A bunch of chopped green onions (white part only) - 1/2 cup should be enough - but you can put in more if you like the taste. I usually save some for the very end and throw them in just before I take everything off the stove. *2 tablespoons of finely minced garlic - 2-5 cloves depending on how big they are *1/2 - 1 fresh red chili (if you can't get red chili use jalapeno peppers or those dried hot pepper flakes or cayenne pepper - a tiny bit - or if you're really stuck use Tobasco sauce) 7. Put together on another saucer/plate: *1/2 cup bean sprouts *1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves - if you can get real Thai basil great - if not just use regular basil *1/4 cup fresh cilantro 7. If you're used to red-coloured pad thai, open up a can of tomato paste. Cooking it all together: Keep in mind that when I say stir in this recipe I really mean shake, lift and fold over - you know wokiness. Stirring like you stir cookie batter doesn't really work. It's important to keep the temperature quite high - which means that you have to keep everything moving if you don't want it to burn. That's why it's a good idea to prep everything first and have it close by and ready when you need it. 1. Put a bit of oil in the pan. Heat oil till it's really hot - but not smoking. 2. Add green onions and garlic and peppers. Keep them moving so they don't burn. 3. When they're a bit softer looking and maybe a bit brownish, add the pieces of chicken. 4. Throw some grated lime zest over the chicken (about a half a lime's worth). 5. When there are no more pink bits showing on the outside of the chicken pieces, put the eggs back in the wok. 6. Strain the noodles. Add the noodles to the mixture in the wok. 7. If you want it red-looking, add a spoonful of the tomato paste and stir thoroughly. Keep adding more until it's the colour you like. Make sure you stir it well because globs of the tomato paste like to hide in the noodles. 8. Add the fish sauce mixture. 9. Throw on a pinch or two more lime zest over the top. 10. Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes 11. Grind some black pepper over the top (to taste). 10. If you wanted to add the extra green onions, do it now. If you're running out of liquid - that's okay that's just about right - but if everything is burning on the bottom, add some more lime juice or a little bit more oil. 11. Check to make sure that all the chicken is done by cutting the biggest piece in half. It should be done by now - but who knows you might be super fast. 12. Once you're sure the chicken is done, taste it. Make sure it's as spicy as you want it to be, or as limey as you want it. If you want it more spicy add more red pepper flakes and stir it around some more so that the flavour goes through everything. If you want more lime add more lime zest. Whatever you like. 13. Turn off the heat. 14. Add the basil and cilantro and fold it into the noodles. 15. Serve onto plates. Add the bean sprouts. be creative! Maybe a little cilantro and basil as garnish too. 16. I like to serve it with a lime wedge on each plate, it helps add a little more limeyness (I don't think that's a word) and that's a nice flavour if you aren't going for super-spicey. 17. Serve it to yourself and your friends and family!