Non-authentic Pad Thai
Is it a bad thing that some of my most vivid memories are food-related?
For instance, I vividly remember sitting in a somewhat-filthy pizza (mom, dad, how could you take young, innocent Branny to such an establishment?) joint in Florida as a youngster, outfitted with a plaid floor and red-vinyl covered seats. Before me lay a lone anchovy on a generic paper napkin.
The anchovy screamed, “I DARE you to try me and I DARE you to like me.” And I did. And I did.
And then there’s the memory of me sitting in one side of our double-welled kitchen sink, wearing a kimono and an ornate silken headband, shelling boiled peanuts. Yes, yes, you can dress your toddler up in Japanese apparel and take her out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of this southern girl (cough*yeah*right*cough).
And sometimes, I try to recreate foodie memories of yesteryear. Like the first time I had Pad Thai. The restaurant was beautiful. Carved watermelons and ornate flowers adorned the lobby. The walls were painted deep, hungry, red.
And Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” screamed over the sound system, making the entire situation just as mismatched as the instance of toddler-Branny eating boiled peanuts while dressed in a kimono. That Pad Thai was so memorable. Tangy lime juice hid in the noodles. Peanuts galore. Grease.
I tried to take the Omnivore back to that very same restaurant once. It had burned down. I’ve never been able to find a Thai restaurant that served a Pad Thai dish that even touched the deliciousness of that one. I don’t think I ever will.
The recipe I offer you below is for Pad Thai — a version nothing like in my memories. But I never preached authenticity, here, people. This version is much healthier and equally delicious but in a different way.
I was excited to buy Oyster Sauce once I denounced my vegetarianism. This is the first recipe I’ve used that ingredient in. This version of Pad Thai is veggie heavy – and feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables for what I’ve used here. Carrots and snow peas seem like a natural addition.
One Year Ago: A Slumdog Feast
Pad Thai – Healthy Style (3 servings)
1.5 T lime juice
1.5 T rice vinegar
3 T oyster sauce
3 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T brown sugar
1/4-1/2 stock or water
1 T peanut butter (optional)
1 lb veggies
I used cauliflower, broccoli, green bell pepper
1/2 red onion
2 scallions, sliced
1 pre-cooked chicken breast (optional)
chopped, roasted peanuts
fresh lime slices
4 oz rice noodles, soaked for 20 minutes in warm water
Combine ingredients for sauce. Wisk. In a wok over medium heat, add vegetables in order of cook time, starting with the one that requires the longest stirfry time first (cauliflower, here). Once veggies have been added and stir fried push to outer edges of the wok. Add egg and scramble in the bottom of the wok. Once set, fold into remaining ingredients. Add precooked chicken, if using. Push all ingredients to the side of the wok and add the pre-soaked rice noodles. Pour in pad thai sauce and cook with noodles for about 2 minutes, adding stock or water as needed to maintain sauciness .
Plate, garnishing with chopped peanuts, scallions, and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.
Total Fat 5.9 g
Cholesterol 125.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.1 g
Protein 34.5 g