Because I frequently serve groups that include both spicy-food lovers and the heat-averse, I don’t put chiles in my pad Thai. Instead, I give diners a choice of crushed red chiles or prik nam pla (fish sauce with sliced fresh Thai chiles) for applying at the table.
Soak the noodles while you’re prepping the other ingredients. This recipe was adapted from the July 2002 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.
|1||Tbsp. peanut oil, divided|
|¼||lb. protein (pressed tofu, shrimp, or thin slices of flank steak, pork loin, or chicken breast)|
|1||Tbsp. minced shallot|
|4||oz. rice-stick noodles, soaked in hot tap water for 20 minutes, then drained|
|1||Tbsp. minced salted radish (see Note)|
|3||Tbsp. chopped unsalted roasted peanuts|
|3||oz. bean sprouts|
|¼||cup Pad Thai Sauce or jarred pad Thai sauce, such as Maesri|
|~||Sliced scallions (green parts only), for garnish|
|~||Lime wedges, for serving|
Salted radish is also known variously as salted turnip, preserved radish, and pre-salted rad-turnip (not really). Available in Asian groceries, salted radish is sold in plastic bags and can be found chopped or in strips. It looks like beige leather — not terribly appetizing, but it provides an irreplaceable salty crunch to pad Thai. Note that this is not the same as “salted preserved vegetable” (which is cabbage or mustard greens) or the Japanese pickled daikon known as takuan.
Read more in Matthew Amster-Burton’s column about the art of making pad Thai.
This content is from the Matthew Amster-Burton collection.
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