19 April 2010

19April- NYTimes Pad thai recipe
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I like how he references the roman sauce, garum. i've been making that comparison for years because it amuses me, mostly. "Oh, well, first get a bunch of fish guts and put them in a bucket...."
my people eat some weird things...
and do NOT get fish sauce on your clothes.

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Pad Thai, an Easy Stir-Fry


By MARK BITTMAN
Published: April 16, 2010
IN the last 20 years or so, pad Thai has gone from being virtually unknown in this country to being a restaurant and takeout staple. It’s easy to see why: the tangy, crunchy, slightly sweet noodles are irresistible. But it’s difficult to understand why more people don’t make it at home, since pad Thai is essentially a stir-fry (in Thailand they refer to it as a Chinese noodle dish). It requires little more than chopping and stirring, and comes together in less than a half-hour.


A couple of components might be unfamiliar to you. The first are the noodles themselves: rice stick noodles, which are pale, translucent, flat and range from very thin to more than a quarter-inch wide. Unlike semolina pasta, rice stick noodles don’t need to be boiled; instead, you soak them in hot water until they’re tender.

Meanwhile, make a sauce from tamarind paste, easily found these days. The paste, made from the pulp of the tamarind pod, is very sour, but more complex than citrus. Fish sauce (nam pla) is another important ingredient; made from fermented anchovies (and much like the garum of ancient Rome), it has an unappealing smell and a fabulous taste. Honey and rice vinegar round things out.

Other ingredients are pretty flexible: bean sprouts are usual and cabbage is nice, but other vegetables are perfectly acceptable. As for protein, shrimp and tofu are the most common combination, but you could also use chicken, or just another egg.

When the noodles have soaked and the sauce is assembled, all that remains is stir-frying, so easy and fast that pad Thai could become a from-scratch favorite.