Kick Ass Pad Thai

Pad Thai is my go-to for Asian takeout. Words cannot express how much joy a fresh batch of pad thai brings to my soul.

For many years now, I dreamed of being able to conquer the pad thai recipe. It truly has been my Everest. I would research “authentic pad thai” and get frustrated, or intimidated, and give up. To be honest, I was afraid to ruin this coveted dish I adored so much with just an “ok” version of my own doing.photo 1

However, for some strange reason I mustered up the courage, I researched endlessly, put together a combination of several recipes and added a few tweaks of my own, and finally did it. Yes, I made Pad Thai. Not only did I make it, but it tasted wonderful. Not only that, I loved it so much that I started to make it an ungodly amount of times until I got it down and could make it in my sleep. And now today, I share with you the crown jewel of my recipe box.

This recipe stands for more than just deliciousness. Nay, it stands as a reminder that you can achieve the impossible. It stands for a symbol of not being intimidated and for believing in yourself. And, when this beautiful recipe came into creation, it marked a time where I found my passion for cooking re-ignited, and inspired to push my own limits of my culinary creativity.

So with that, I present to you, kick ass pad thai!

Kick Ass Pad Thai

Pleadings & Pasta 2013

  • 8 oz. Thai rice noodles (or enough for 2 people), linguini-width, available at Asian grocer
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped chicken breast or tofu
  • Marinade for Chicken/Tofu: 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1/3 cup crushed peanuts
  • olive oil or sesame oil for stir-frying, and lots of wedges of lime
  • PAD THAI SAUCE  (Highly suggest doubling this in proportion to the number of noodles you have and adding it to taste. Loved this sauce and wanted more of it on my noodles!)
  • 3/4 Tbsp. tamarind paste dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (look for tamarind at Asian or Indian grocer)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce+ more to taste
  • 3 tsp of Sriracha Sauce (I added some more because I love the kick)
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar (can add a bit more if you want a richer sauce)
  1. Bring a large pot of pot to a boil and dunk in your rice noodles. Cook until firm, you don’t want them too mushy so you can fry them later. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  2. Make pad Thai sauce by combining the sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well.
  3. Marinate chicken for 10 minutes. Stir well and set aside. (For a vegetarian option, use tofu! Marinade and prepare the same way).
  4. Add a little oil to the pan, and add the tofu or chicken and cook until done.
  5. Add the noodles, and pour the Pad Thai sauce over. Using two utensils, use a gentle “lift and turn” method to fry noodles (like tossing a salad). Stir-fry in this way 1-2 minutes. If you pan is too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Stir in bean sprouts.
  7. Place noodles in plate and top with lots of fresh cilantro, onions, and peanuts. Add fresh lime wedges to squeeze over each portion.

There are no words, other than YUM!

Eat with all of your heart,

G

Spicy Ginger Tofu

I have recently fallen in love with tofu.

Yes, I just said that.

It’s a wonderful staple to have on hand and can be added to so many recipes. I have been battling with tofu preparation since the very beginning, as I always want to get it to a restaurant quality consistency: firm, crisp, and full of flavor. This recipe I concocted uses dry frying and I highly recommend it for first timers attempting to cook tofu! Plus,I especially loved this recipe since it gave me an excuse to go into my garden and pick some of the fresh scallions growing in my backyard.

I am still a newbie to the world of tofu, so please, I invite you to share your favorite ways to prepare this versatile staple below.

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Spicy Ginger Tofu
by Pleadings & Pasta © 2013
Ingredients
Half block of extra firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ground ginger (or frozen ginger you can get at trader joes, in that case 3 cubes)
2 tablespoons Sriracha (I like mine spicy so I add more!)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons crushed black pepper
2/3 cup chopped scallionsSesame oil for frying
1. Chop up tofu into thin rectangles or triangles.
2. Please tofu in between paper towels and let drain for an hour in the fridge.
3. Get a nonstick pan and put at a very very low heat. This is the key to dry frying.
4. Place the tofu slices into the skillet without any oil and let cook slowly over the low heat until the tofu starts to brown on the bottom.
5. Flip the tofu and let cook for another two minutes.
6. Remove the tofu.
7. In a bowl combine all of the ingredients except the scallions and ginger.
8. In a skillet sauté the scallions in the sesame oil with the ginger until fragrant.
9. Add the tofu slices and the marinade at the same time and sauté on medium heat until the marinade Is fully absorbed by the tofu. The tofu should have a nice caramelized color.
10. Throw the tofu over some brown rice or quinoa and enjoy!This is a very basic recipe and you can add as many vegetables as you like or switch up the sauce a bit. No matter how you make it your own, it’s a basic enough recipe to start you off on your tofu cooking adventures!20130619-190843.jpgNew to tofu? No problem! Here are a few basics

  • There are different types of tofu. Silken, firm, extra firm. Depending on your recipe or preference one may be a better choice over the other. I am a huge fan of extra firm tofu because it seems to keep together better while you’re cooking.
  • Very wet tofu and very hot oil can equal serious burns. Always consider draining the tofu before throwing it in oil.
  • There are so many ways to cook tofu! Do a quick Google search and you will find ways to bake, sautee, and grill this fabulous staple.
  • Storing tofu is so easy. It can be frozen (this changes its texture a bit, though) and you can also take it out of the box you got it in at the store, put it in a ziploc bag filled with fresh water and it will stay just as long as the expiration date indicates. So you’ll always have it on hand for a last minute meal.

Eat with all of your heart,

G