I vex my mother terribly because I don't use measuring implements and I experiment on the first try, something that she says is a kitchen no-no. The only downside of this style of cooking is that when it turns out to be a tasty treat, I often have no idea what I did to make it. But tonight? Tonight was different.
I've been trying to make pad thai as good as a restaurant's for a long time now. After several failed attempts, tonight was The Night. I scoured 8 or 10 recipes and read all of the reviews and adjustments and suggestions. I imagined the precise flavor of the delectable Pad Thai of my favorite restaurant and I went for it, carefully making note of how much of each ingredient I used, something new for me.
And do you know what? It. Was. Awesome. Almost as good as the restaurant and I know exactly what to alter to make it perfect. I've typed up my recipe and am sharing it with my reading public. Here you go:
1. Soak rice noodles in hot water for 20 minutes, then boil for 3 minutes, drain, and set aside.
2. On high heat, sauté 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic and 3 tablespoons of finely chopped onion in 1/3 cup olive oil (and/or peanut oil). When lightly browned, add 2 tsp of shrimp paste and 1 tablespoon dried shrimp. (You could leave this out and it will still be good, but I'm adding it next time.)
3. Add cubes of tofu and/or chicken. Sprinkle with paprika, then cook until golden. Lower heat to medium.
4. Add 6 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, and one teaspoon of chili powder. When dissolved and mixed, add one large spoonful of creamy peanut butter.
5. Stir in ½ can of bean sprouts, or equivalent of fresh, blanched bean sprouts.
6. Make hole in center of mix and add two eggs. Allow to harden, then scramble before mixing in.
7. Add enough noodles to make two servings and not dilute sauce, toss for a couple of minutes, and spoon into bowls.
8. Squeeze lime onto each serving and top with crushed peanuts, red pepper flakes to taste, and green onion.