You know what I mean. I'm sure actual people who live in China or Thailand or India or wherever don't eat anything resembling the sorts of food that I make and call Chinese or Thai or Indian or Generic Asian. I have Chinese coworkers and I know that at home they eat fish heads and chicken feet and foods much spicier than you'll ever find on my table.
But Americanized Asian food is delicious (perhaps fish heads and chicken feet are delicious too; to be fair, I've never tried them). I keep a lot of staple ingredients for these cuisines stocked because I use them frequently, and because Asian Mart (yes, that's the actual name of the store) is a strange and fascinating fish-scented wonderland full of odd ingredients, Pocky, and boba tea.
That said, perhaps not every American stocks her kitchen with fish sauce and curry paste and sambal oelek.
I have made more complicated Pad Thais (Pads Thai?) before, recipes that rely extensively on my stock of ingredients in labels that are mostly in Thai and include only limited and hilarious English captions. They are tasty, and they are not any more difficult to cook than this recipe. They just require more--and less common--ingredients.
The recipe I adapted for this Pad Thai dish, however, assumes that you have nothing more exotic than soy sauce in your pantry (well, and rice noodles). I added a touch or two of other ingredients because I had them on hand, but if you're scared off by the mention of fish sauce, follow the link to Brownies for Dinner for the original recipe, where you'll find an Americanized Pad Thai that's easy, delicious, and does not require a trip to Asian Mart.
Ironically, I did not have on hand two pretty common American ingredients: cilantro and green onions. We just got back from vacation and I don't have much of anything green on hand, and the cilantro I planted died months ago. The DDH doesn't particularly care for green onions or cilantro, so he was happy, but I love them and definitely recommend the greened version of this meal.
|Easy American Pad Thai.|
Easy American Pad Thai
Adapted from this recipe by Patricia at Brownies for Dinner.
Note: If you'd like to add chicken or pork to your Pad Thai, skip down, put together a batch of the sauce, and start your meat marinating before proceeding with the recipe. You don't have to marinate the meat, but it does make it tasty! Cook and set aside, then add to the noodles at the end of their cooking time.
First, you need about 8 oz. rice noodles. These come in two kinds: skinny round ones sort of like angel hair pasta, and wide flat ones. You want the wide flat ones if you have any sort of a choice.
|Skinny on the left; wide on the right.|
Heck, if you're desperate and/or adventurous, you could use normal white flour linguine. It'll taste different than rice noodles and have a different texture, but why the heck not, right?
Prepare your noodles according to package directions. Typically, this means soaking your noodles in hot or cold water for about thirty minutes. If your package directions are in Thai and you don't read Thai, soak them in hot hot tap water for 25 minutes. If you're using skinny noodles and it calls for a soak, then a boil, skip the boiling step. You will note the mushfest in the final pictures. This is because I did not skip the boiling step. You've been warned.
|White on white on white. Great picture, huh?|
You will want about 1/4 cup peanuts (unless of course you're allergic to peanuts). These are to top your final dish. The DDH doesn't like them. You can buy chopped ones, or buy whole ones and chop them yourself.
Set the chopped peanuts aside. At this time, also chop your 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, if using, and set aside as well.
In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbs. brown sugar,
|About 2 Tablespoons juice.|
|Sauce de Poisson. I promise that doesn't mean "poison."|
|The seeds are the spicy bits.|
|Not sure what the rooster has to do with anything.|
|Nom nom nom.|
In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs.
|No need to break out the beater; a fork will do fine.|
|Again with the white on white, sorry.|
and I still didn't really taste a particularly garlic flavor. Keep this in mind whenever I give recipes using garlic around here....
Anyway, peel your garlic and either mince it or have it ready for crushing through your garlic press.
Your noodles should be done about now; if not, take a break until they are. Once done soaking, drain the noodles and set aside. Remember that if your noodle directions call for boiling, you probably want to skip the boiling step.
|See how it's starting to brown? Add the eggs just before you|
get to that point. Photographing the process leads too
often to burnt garlic.
|You could cook yours less than this, but I needed to make|
sure they were hard cooked, since I'm pregnant.
To the pan, add your noodles, the green parts of your green onions, your sauce, and any cooked meat you're using.
|The sauce and the shrimp all came in together.|