Pad thai is a staple of Thailand

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Associated Press

One of Thailand’s best known dishes, pad thai is a delight for the taste buds. It combines glutinous rice noodles with crunchy peanuts and bean sprouts, and gets a salty kick from fish sauce and a spritz of lime. This recipe was adapted from the version taught at Bangkok’s Blue Elephant cooking school. This recipe makes one serving and is easily multiplied.

Pad Thai

(Thai-style stir-fried rice noodles)

(Start to finish: 40 minutes, 20 minutes active)

2 1/2 ounces of flat, thin rice noodles

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. chopped shallots

1/4 C. firm tofu, cut into thin, bite-sized rectangles

1/2 Tbsp. sweet pickled turnip, minced or finely chopped (if unavailable, skip it)

1 Tbsp. small dried shrimp

1/4 c. water

1 1/2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice

2 shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 egg

1 Tbsp. ground roasted peanuts, plus 1 tsp. for garnish

1 scallion, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 c. bean sprouts

1 lime or lemon wedge, to garnish

Fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish

In a small bowl of cold water, soak the rice noodles 20 minutes, or until they can be easily bent in half without snapping. Drain.

Once the noodles are tender, drizzle the oil in wok (over the sides and center) set over medium-high heat. A large skillet can be substituted. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots and saute until aroma is released, about 30 seconds.

Add the tofu and saute another 30 seconds. Add the pickled turnip, dried shrimp and noodles, stirring quickly to separate the noodles. Add the water and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes, or until the water has almost evaporated.

Add the fish sauce, sugar and lime or lemon juice. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid mostly evaporates and caramelizes around the noodles. Add the shrimp and stir-fry another 15 seconds.

Push noodle mixture to one side of pan and add the egg to other side. Scramble egg with a spatula so it breaks into small pieces, then mix together with noodles. Add 1 tablespoon of the peanuts and stir-fry another 15 seconds.

Add the scallion and bean sprouts, stir-fry quickly for about 30 seconds, or until the scallion just begins to wilt. Remove the pan from the heat. To serve, garnish with lime or lemon wedge, ground peanuts and cilantro leaves.

Makes 1 serving.

(Recipe adapted from the Blue Elephant cooking school in Bangkok, Thailand)