Ruuuuuuuude Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Touch my ass if you’re qualified.

Sometimes you’ve got to listen to Midnite Vultures and make insane pad thai in the deadest part of winter.  It’s looking like Thursday is becoming my night to treat myself with tasty food and hilarious comedies.  Well, maybe the Office isn’t really hilarious any more, but I have a new appreciation for 30 Rock and that’s going strong.  Even Kath & Kim happens upon a good gag from time to time (i.e. Kim: “Ugh, you guys should just elope!” Kath (holding a canteloupe): “We can’t elope, Kim!”)  All right, anyway, I decided to make pad thai as pantry sort of a night dish.  We had a couple limes, some old rice sticks, and some pork that needed using.  After picking up some cilantro at the store, we were all set.  I followed a recipe from the July 2002 issue of Cooks Illustrated, and it came out as perfect as I have ever gotten pad thai.  No sticky, gummy noodles, no overly fishy or sour sauce, no too huge chunks of un-scrambled egg.  This shit was straight rude, seriously just icky good.  The sweet, sour, and spicy flavors were all really well balanced and the noodles were deliciously tender and homogenously combined with the peanuts and scallions and crispy mung bean sprouts.  I could eat this pad thai until it came out my ears.  Dawn Yanagihara, I owe you one girl.  It also synergized just right with Beck’s sexy, funky, nasty album, which I listened to as I prepped dinner.  This guy’s got so many faces, but nothing of his beats this CD, it’s like Prince and Prince Paul teamed up to build a robot out of some pots and pans and a GameBoy and ran the whole thing with a twisted up rubber band like those balsawood planes.  Maybe because pad thai is also sexy, funky, and nasty, but they compliment each other perfectly.  Someone should hire me to be some kind of music sommelier to tell you things like if you’re eating one of those brie wrapped in puff pastry things, you should be listening to “Let It Die” by Feist (depending, that is, on what beer or wine you’ve paired it with).

But back to the pad thai.  I guess the main thing here is the importance of the mise en place.  Get everything together before you start cooking, because it all cooks so fast that you really just need to be able to grab and go.  Mise en place, if you don’t know, is the French phrase for having everything together before you start cooking.  You know how on TV, they have all the  ramequins so they don’t ever measure anything and they just dump the stuff in and chuck them into the sink?  Mise en place.

The mise en place

Here is the mise en place from tonight’s pad thai.  This might not even totally qualify because the noodles were in a bowl of hot water in the sink at this point and the pork was marinating.  Also, as you can see I am not Ming Tsai or Rachel Ray; I do not have a huge set of matching ramequins.

As far as changing this dish, shrimp is really good in it (I just happened to have pork), as is tofu.  You might want to increase the amount of fish sauce or cayenne pepper slightly to your taste, and also if you are one of those people, you can use tamarind instead of the lime juice.  I didn’t because I don’t have tamarind.  Supposedly, it is better and more authentic.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Ingredients:

Small pork tenderloin

pinch five spice

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup of water

5 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

8 ounces dried rice stick noodles, about 1/8″ wide

2 large eggs

pinch salt

3 garlic cloves

6 tablespoons chooped roasted unsalted peanuts

8 oz. package bean sprouts

6 scallions, green parts sliced thin on a bias

White parts of 3 of the scallions, minced

1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

Directions:

Cut pork into small strips and marinate in 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and five spice for about an hour.

Cover rice sticks with hot tap water in large bowl; soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes.  Use this time to prepare the other ingredients.  Beat the eggs and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.  Stir lime juice, remaining fish sauce and rice vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil into water and set aside.  Drain noodles and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick) over high heat until just beginning to smoke, about 2 minutes.  Add pork and cook, tossing occasionally, until pork is carmelized on the outside and cooked all the way through, about 3 minutes.  Transfer pork to a plate and set aside.

Off heat, add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl to coat; add garlic and white part of scallions, set skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until light golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes; add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds.  Add noodles to eggs and toss with 2 wooden spoons to combine.  Pour fish sauce mixture over noodles, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated.  Scatter 1/4 cup  peanuts, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup scallion greens, and cooked pork over noodles; continue to cook, tossing constantly until noodles are tender, about 2 1/2 minutes.

Transfer noodles to serving dish, sprinkle with remaining scallions, 2 tablespoons peanuts and cilantro; serve immediately.

Makes 4  servings.

Pad Thai

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2 Responses to “Ruuuuuuuude Pad Thai”

  1. Devon Says:

    Cool,Rob! Sounds really yummy. (except for the pork.) I really want to try it.

  2. Sara Says:

    You put the craprese salad in my desk, Micheal.

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