Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

Friday
Sep142012

Guo Kui - 锅盔 

I am obsessed with Chinese food. Especially “real” (authentic) Chinese food. Not that I don’t love the Americanized Chinese food, fried and covered in globby sauces bragging neon colors not found in nature. Come on, admit it, you like it. You don’t want to admit it, but you do. My friend Henry says, “Even bad Chinese food is better than no Chinese food at all.”  I completely agree.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in China over the years thanks to a job that has enabled me to manage business relationships in Southeast Asia. Of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to experience, China is the place that feeds my passion. I love visiting the big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. Seeing the Great Wall for the first time, shopping in the food and hawker markets, trying to bargain for the perfect souvenirs to take home—all of these are so different than what I had in my mind as my “normal.” I just couldn’t get enough. Getting outside of those cities to see daily life in more rural areas is absolutely stunning.

A few years back, David and I decided to take a trip with an Australian tour company called Intrepid Travel and explore the country for a few weeks. They had tours tailored for 4-star dining and foodies all the way down to “Roughing It” packages. These packages were significantly cheaper, guaranteed you “Chinese 4-star” hotels and had a higher physical rating. We opted for this both to save money and to experience as much of the real deal as we could. We’d never done an organized tour before and feared the visual we had in our heads of blue-haired grannies with oxygen tanks being carted from tacky tourist spot to tourist spot in an air-conditioned bus. The tour was NOTHING like we expected. We had the time of our lives and made some life-long friends. In spite of the hotels being a bit rougher than we expected, they were clean. We navigated the language barrier and had a good laugh staying in places where we were forewarned about getting a call at 10:30 p.m. from downstairs asking if we wanted “special massage.” Tempting as that is for some, we passed on the opportunity to have our Happy Ending.

One of my favorite stops was Xi’an, home of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors. The warriors are magnificent, but it was the street outside the Muslim mosque area that completely grabbed my attention. This was Chinese street food unlike anything I’d ever tried: Crispy pastries filled with lamb, Sichuan peppercorns, chiles and aromatics. Mutton soup with hard crumbs of bread soaking in and absorbing all that richness. Hand-made noodles in the most aromatic and comfort-food-happy broths. I was in heaven.

This past year, I had the opportunity to return to Xi’an for a work meeting and I was determined to learn to make some of the dishes I kept talking up to my friends and the team. I arranged for us to take a private dumpling and hand-pulled noodle making lesson at our hotel with the chefs from their main restaurant. I bargained my way behind the counter of one of the street food stalls to learn to make the dish I loved.

I bought every English-translated cookbook they had at the city’s main bookstore -- and a few Sichuan and Hunan cuisine books that weren’t translated. (The advantage of having a bunch of bossy Chinese women in your life is that they’ll gladly help with translations and will even MORE gleefully tell you how and why everything you are doing with the recipe is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!!!!) The problem is, there aren’t many English recipes for the street food dishes I loved the most. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know what my absolute favorite was called until I read about it in Fuchsia Dunlop’s memoir, “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper,” chronicling her time at the Sichuan Culinary Institute in Chengdu. I’m re-reading the book now, because I’m heading there in a couple of weeks for an intensive two-week cooking course at the same school.

I mentioned this dish, “Guo Kui,” to a Chinese colleague who lives in Singapore and lamented that there are no English recipes out there for the version I remembered. He offered to check some Chinese language websites and sent a few links (with pictures) to me to see whether any of them linked up with my memory of the dish. One did, so I copied the recipe and sent a plea for help to my bossy ladies. My friend Kairu offered to assist and had her mother translate the recipe for us, taking great glee when her mother asked if I knew what it meant to “fluff meat.” No, really, it’s an English translation of a real cooking technique. “Bitch, please,” I replied with an instant eye-roll. “I know how to do BOTH versions of that expression.”

Last weekend we gave it a try, made a few tweaks and came up with a version pretty identical to that which I remember. There are many versions of Guo Kui in china. Some are thicker and doughier, served as a large heavy roll to accompany dishes. Some are cut and filled with braised meats or vegetables, making a “Chinese Hamburger.” This version is the one I remember most fondly though, and is the one Fuchsia Dunlop references in her book (I checked with her on twitter and she was kind enough to confirm). TRY this dish. It’s very simple and quite delicious and I guarantee you’ve never had anything like it before.  And if you like this type of food, don’t miss the opportunity to try more authentic Chinese cuisine from Fuchsia Dunlop’s other books. They’re some of the most used and most referenced books in my collection.

锅盔 Guo Kui  

Ingredients:

Flour – 2 cups, plus more for dusting/rolling

Water – 3/4 cup (may need a little more, depending on your dough)

Lamb, ground – 1 lb.

Sichuan Peppercorn Powder – 2 tsp

Garlic – Minced - 1-2 Tbsp

Ginger, minced – 1 Tbsp

Ground cumin – 2 tsp

Dried Hunan (if you can find them) Chiles, or red chile flakes – 1 Tbsp

Chile Oil – 2 tsp

Scallions – 1 bunch, green and light green parts, thinly sliced into rings--as thinly as you can slice them.

Salt – 1 tsp

Soy Sauce – 2 Tbsp

Peanut oil, for frying and as needed

Lard (optional), as needed

Instructions:

Finely chop ground lamb with a cleaver for 5 minutes (or if grinding your own, use the finest setting and then chop with a cleaver until uniform).Add sichuan peppercorn powder (you can make this by lightly toasting sichuan peppercorns in a hot dry pan for 2-3 minutes until they pop, and blitzing in a strong blender or food processor. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to avoid the hulls) minced garlic, ginger, cumin, chiles and chile oil, scallions, salt, soy sauce and a teaspoon peanut oil to the chopped lamb.

Mix well with chopsticks, and toss meat against the side of the bowl for 2-3 minutes to “fluff” it, and create a lighter texture. (If you’re unsure how to do this, ask your mom. I can guarantee she’s a champion meat-fluffer from WAY back).

Mix flour and water in a stand mixer with a dough attachment (My lazy white man way) or mix by hand. You want the dough to come together and it should be quite soft. We used just over 3/4 cup of water for 2 cups flour. Knead until very soft and pliable. Add another tablespoon oil (or if you want to be authentic, a tablespoon of lard. Trust me--the flavor is great), knead again until the fat is incorporated into the dough, place in a bowl and cover with a warm towel. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough one more time, roll into a log about 2 ½ inches thick and cut into segments. The segments should be about 2 1/2-inches around and about an inch thick.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Farenheit.

Lightly flour or oil your work surface and roll the dough into a rough rectangular or tongue shape. Brush with oil or lard and about a tablespoon of the lamb mixture. Starting at the short end, roll the dough down the length of the “tongue” until you have a small rolled bundle. Turn the bundle on its end and press it down flat. Roll into a thin pancake. (Don’t sweat it if some of the meat breaks through. You can dust with a little flour and when you cook it there will be no problem).

 

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and once hot, add about 3 Tbsp cooking oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the guo kui one at a time, flipping the pancake after about 2 minutes. It should be lightly golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a rack and place in oven to crisp and drain for 3-5 minutes.

Serve guo kui on its own or if you’re a chile freak like we are, with some chile oil on the side.

Thursday
Sep062012

REC: Chinese Sizzling Cumin Lamb with Chile Pickled Long Beans

I love Chinese food. I don’t care if it’s Americanized Chinese General Tso (Hello—who doesn’t like that), fiery Hunanese cuisine (which we have to drive to Vancouver to get because there’s none to be found in Seattle), hot and numbing Sichuan fare—I love it all. The food I’ve had in China that was the most memorable, and that which I most wanted to imitate is Xinjiang style, specifically the food I’ve been lucky enough to try in Xi’an. We ate the SHIT out of that stuff.

With a strong Muslim influence, the foods in Xi’an are full of chiles, laced with Sichuan peppercorns, and you find a lot of goat and lamb. There is a street outside the mosque with the most amazing  and diverse street food I’ve ever eaten, and I looooves me some street food. I’ve been trying for years to imitate a snack I found there called Guo Kui (“Little Helmets”). A colleague forwarded me a recipe he found last week on a chinese website after listening to me bitch and moan about how there are no English recipes that seemed authentic to my taste memory of that food, and my friend Kairu pulled in her mother to help translate. Stay tuned on that one…we’re giving it a test run this weekend.

While researching Sichuan recipes in my fervor around a trip I’m taking to cook at the Sichuan Culinary Institute next month, I came across this recipe from Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco. Bowien is a rock star, and the food he puts out has a cult following. Reading the ingredients on this recipe, I had to give it a try. Let me tell you: It. Is. Spectacular. This is the flavor I remember from trips to china, and specifically the couple of times I’ve been in Xi’an. The gaminess of the lamb, a rich meaty broth, thick noodles and that gorgeous marriage of chiles, cumin, and Sichuan pepper. We went insane for this soup. You will too.

A couple of quick modifications: I added Sichuan peppercorns to this recipe, because I love their addition to this mixture and they are key to my memory of similar dishes. Second, I substituted in my favorite Udon noodles because they’re just amazingly delicious in soups. Other than that, I stuck with the program.

Oh, one more thing…the photo. I was lucky enough to spend yesterday afternoon with my friends Becky Selengut (and her disgusting “I camped all weekend with the lesberati” dirty feet) and the supremely talented photo goddess Clare Barboza. Becky and I had arranged with Clare to have a private photo lesson to teach us how to use the “big boy cameras” we bought last year. We love the photos we manage to get using these cameras, but neither of us know what the hell we’re doing. (Ok, she has more of a clue than I do, but that’s a REALLY low bar). We brought fruit, nuts and some cheeses to use as practice subject but I thought, “Fuck that…if I’m going to be with the pros, I’m bringing something I actually want to put on my blog”. I brought the soup components and Clare helped style and set up the shot, and stepped me through modifying the elements on the table and with the camera to create the darker, moodier type of photo that typically draws me in. Thank you, Clare!

Danny Bowien use lamb breast or lamb belly, sometimes even lamb ribs, but lamb shoulder works just as well. (Note from Marc: I used shank and then added the bones to the stock during the braising process to pull out every ounce of lamby goodness).

Chinese Sizzling Cumin Lamb with Chile Pickled Long Beans

4–6 SERVINGS

MODIFIED FROM RECIPE BY Danny Bowien Of Mission Chinese Food In San Francisco, Ca

Bon Appetit, MAY 2012

INGREDIENTS

LAMB

•          1 cup cumin seeds, toasted

•          1/2 cup coriander seeds, toasted

•          1/2 cup fennel seed, toasted

•          3 tablespoons kosher salt

•          1 tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar

•          3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)

•          1 tablespoon sesame oil (not toasted)

•          4 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

•          1/4 cup vegetable oil

•          1 1/2 cups beer (Budweiser or any other pilsner works well)

•          4 cups beef or low-salt chicken broth

•          1 1/2 cups cola

•          1/4 cup soy sauce

•          1 yellow onion, burnt over an open flame, finely chopped

•          2 jalapeños, burnt over an open flame, finely chopped with seeds

•          2 fresh bay leaves

•          1 garlic clove, smashed

•          ¼ cup Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted in a hot, dry pan

ASSEMBLY

•          1/2 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing

•          Kosher salt

•          1 onion, thinly sliced

•          3 red jalapeños, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 pound ramen noodles (Note from Marc: I used udon noodles)

•          1 bunch cilantro, tough stems removed

•          3 scallions, thinly sliced

•          2 tablespoons black vinegar

•          1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

•          1 green jalapeño, thinly sliced with seeds

•          Chili Pickled Long Beans (recipe below)

PREPARATION

LAMB

Pulse cumin, coriander, and fennel in a food processor until you have a rough grind. Combine half of spice mixture, salt, sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl; add lamb and toss to coat (reserve remaining spice mixture). Let lamb marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.

Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Working in batches, cook meat until brown, about 4 minutes per batch; transfer meat to a platter. Add beer; stir, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of pan. Simmer until liquid is reduced by a third, about 4 minutes. Return lamb to pot; add broth and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, 2–3 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a baking sheet; reserve. Skim fat from braising liquid.

ASSEMBLY

Heat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet until it is very hot. Pat lamb pieces dry. Brush with oil and season with some of reserved spice mix. Working in batches, cook lamb, turning occasionally, until smoky and fragrant but not burnt, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a large bowl. Toss onion and red jalapeños in a bowl with 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add to griddle and cook until softened and charred in spots, about 3 minutes; add to bowl with lamb.

Bring lamb braising liquid to a simmer. Add noodles, simmer until just tender, about 1 minute. Add reserved meat, onions, and jalapeños.

Combine cilantro, scallions, vinegar, sesame seeds, ane green jalapeño in a large bowl. Season to taste with some of remaining spice mix; toss to coat. Divide lamb mixture among bowls. Top with the cilantro mixture. Serve Chili Pickled Long Beans on the side.

Chili Pickled Long Beans

MAKES 1 QUART

RECIPE BY Danny Bowien Of Mission Chinese Food In San Francisco, Ca

Bon Appetit, MAY 2012

INGREDIENTS

•          1 garlic clove, minced

•          2 cups soy sauce

•          1 cup black vinegar

•          1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)

•          1 fresh red Thai chile, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 red fresno pepper or jalapeño chile, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 jalapeño, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 12-ounce bunch Chinese long beans, cut into 1/4-inch rounds (4 cups)

PREPARATION

Combine garlic, soy, vinegar, fish sauce, and chiles in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer; add long beans. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Transfer to a container, cover, and chill.

 

 

Thursday
Aug092012

You say tomato: Tomato Tonnato and Tomato, Fresh Fig & Blue Cheese Salad

It’s summer! Summer = Tomatoes, right? I’m one of those people who loathed the taste and texture of tomatoes as a kid (excluding ketchup and the jars of Ragu my mom served, natch). As an adult, I started liking tomatoes and over time, even loving them in some preparations.  I don't normally seek out tomato recipes specifically (unless they're written by Paul Bertolli, because his tomato recipes should be considered scripture). Occasionally, something all about the tomato will catch my eye, however. The New York Times posted a few inspiring tomato recipes this week in an article entitled, “Never Say No To A tomato Vine”, and I had to give ‘em a test drive.

Fortunately, Seattle summers are extremely hot and tomatoes are very easy to grow here. I stepped outside into the blistering sun and plucked a few precious heirloom gems off of my huge tomato vines, which were straining under the weight of their tremendous bounty.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I’m full of shit. Our summer, with a notable handful of days where the temperature got into the 90s, has sucked. Again. I could no more grow a crop of tomatoes than I could make a prize-winning cake or be a contestant on the Bachelorette (unless I was auditioning for the lead, of course). Fortunately, we have some great grocery stores who manage to pull in some beautiful product.

Here’s the dirt on the two recipes I selected: They’re not fussy. They’re not complicated. The tonnato isn’t beautiful, because my meager skills have a hard time making a tuna sauce (think classic italian Vitello Tonnato, minus the veal) look extremely appealing. I’m still posting the recipes, because both were absolutely delicious and would be the perfect light summery al fresco supper (if we ever get any summer). David liked the fig and tomato salad—I absolutely loved it. I liked the tomato tonnato—He absolutely loved it.

So give ‘em a go, and let us know which one you liked most.  And if it’s not too much trouble, can you send us some summer?

Tomato Tonnato

TOTAL TIME : 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

                        5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

                        1 three-ounce can imported tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked

                        1/4 cup mayonnaise

                        2 teaspoons drained capers

                        2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

                        2 anchovy fillets, optional

                        1 fat garlic clove, smashed and peeled

                        2 tablespoons tightly packed basil leaves, more for garnish

                        2 pounds mixed tomatoes, large ones cut in slices, small ones cut in wedges

                        Coarse sea salt

                        Black pepper

                        Crusty bread, for serving.

PREPARATION

 

  1. In a blender, combine olive oil, tuna, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic and 2 tablespoons basil and purée until creamy.
  2. Lay tomatoes out on a platter and spoon sauce over the tops. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper and garnish with basil leaves. Serve with bread.

 

 

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings.

Originally published with Never Say ‘No’ to a Tomato Vine, By MELISSA CLARK, August 3, 2012

Tomato, Fresh Fig and Blue Cheese Salad

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

                        1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

                        1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

                        1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

                        3 tablespoons pine nuts

                        1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, about 8 ounces, thinly sliced

                        1/2 pound fresh figs, cut into quarters

                        1 ounce crumbled blue cheese, like Fourme d’Ambert, more to taste

                        1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

                        Black pepper.

PREPARATION

 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and salt. Whisk in oil.
  2. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts, shaking the pan occasionally, until light golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Spread tomato slices on a large plate. Scatter fig quarters and pine nuts over tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and thyme, drizzle with dressing and finish with pepper.

 

YIELD: 4 servings.

Originally published with Never Say ‘No’ to a Tomato Vine

By MELISSA CLARK, August 3, 2012

 

 

Sunday
Jul292012

Summer Chilled Corn Soup with Pequin Chiles and Lemon Oil

We keep getting our hopes up for Summer in Seattle. A few days of 80+ degrees, followed by a few days of eternal cloud cover. Unseasonably muggy and meh weather = grumpy summer mood swings. Don't get me wrong--I love Seattle and I love that we get seasons here--I just wish summer was a bit more...summery. If you don't live in Seattle, you're probably sweltering in the heat wave nailing the rest of the country. Ok, ok...I get it. You win.

If it's hot and you're too sticky, sweaty and can't seem to dredge up some ambition to move off that chair, here's just the thing for you. What says hot summer days like corn? Add some citrusy olive oil, a little bit of chile kick and giiiiiiirl, you've got yerself some summer lovin'. 

This recipe is really simple. There aren't a million ingredients, there's no instruction set beginning with, "Day 1: Do this", and it's even vegetarian and gluten free. I know--BORING, right? Wrong. This recipe is inspired by a "Fire and Ice" recipe contest put out there by my friends at Marx Foods. They sent a variety of chile samples to contest participants with the simple instructions to create a cold dish with a fiery component brought on by the chiles. I love corn soup, and I think the chiles give it just a little more oomph.  From the varieties they sent, I chose to use the Pequin Chiles based upon the tasting notes included in te package, indicating flavors of citrus and sweetness. You can modify this recipe to your heat tolerance. Using about a quarter cup of the little dried pequins there's a nice burn in the back of your throat. I found it to be about a 4 on a 1-10 scale, but we are spice pigs...tailor it to what you like. 

The olive oil I used for this is my favorite lemon-infused olive oil made by Temecula Olive Oil company in California. Their lemon oil is called D'Luscious Lemon. I've had some lemon olive oils that taste like you're huffing your mom's Pledge. Fortunately, this isn't like that at all. This oil is very subtle, and it makes a nice counter to the heat and sweetness of the soup.

Happy Summer, everyone...and if you manage to peel yourself out of that chair and make this soup, let me know what you think.

By the way, you can vote for this recipe here.

Chilled Corn Soup with Pequin Chiles and Lemon Olive Oil

Serves 8
 
8 ears corn, shucked
4 cups whole milk + 1/2 - 1 cup for thinning after refrigeration (see note)
1/4 cup Pequin Chiles
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon olive oil for garnish (see note)
1-2 Tbsp fresh chives
 
Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside. Put the cobs in a large stockpot and add the milk and chiles. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until reduced by two-thirds, about 20 minutes. Remove the cobs and the chiles and discard. Add the corn kernels and cream and simmer until the kernels are tender, about 5 minutes.   
 
In batches, transfer the corn mixture to a blender and puree. Strain through a fine meshed sieve into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until chilled, 4 to 6 hours.
Note: Depending on the starchiness of the corn, the soup may chill quite solid and require a bit more milk to thin back into a soupy consistency. Using a whisk, add milk to your chilled soup to achieve the consistency you like. Ideally, this soup comes out slightly thick like a bisque.
 
Divide among 8 small bowls and drizzle a liberal amount of lemon olive oil over each serving. Sprinkle with chives and serve.
 
Monday
Jul232012

The Perfect Pad Thai

There are certain recipes I’ve spent years trying to make just…right: The perfect Bolognese (I’m about 95% of the way there), a flawless souffle (Thanks to Jerry Traunfeld, I’ve got that one down) and Pad Thai. I’ve made good Pad Thai. I’ve even made what I think is great Pad Thai. This is the recipe I think makes flawless Pad Thai. I tested it last week for David, and made it again for friends this weekend. It. Is. AWESOME.  Seriously, I think it is as good as the best Pad Thai I’ve had in any restaurant or even in Thailand.

The author of this book, is Thailand’s tv food celebrity. Born into the royal family, Chef McDang has cookbooks, tv shows, and lucrative consulting gigs for Thai food companies. His cookbook is broken out into basic Thai ingredients and dives deep into the spice pastes that form the core of Thai cooking. He discusses the regional differences and how they affect food, and then provides recipes to demonstrate the basic cooking techniques of boiling, grilling, salads, dips, stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, curries and (my bane) desserts. In addition to the Pad Thai recipe, I’ve also made his Pad Grapao Nuea (Stir-Fried ground beef with chili, garlic and Thai holy basil) and it came out perfect. Again, as good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant or during my visits to Thailand.

A couple of notes on sourcing the ingredients: You need to have a good Asian grocery near you, or you will need to buy some of the more esoteric items (pickled turnip, pickled garlic, Thai chile sauce—not the sweet one) from internet sources. In Seattle, I found everything at Uwajimaya with the exception of the sweet pickled turnip, which I bought at Viet Wah. The base sauce recipe starts at about 6 quarts, and you reduce it down by half—it makes enough to last a while. The reduction took me a couple of hours, but then actually making the Pad Thai was an exercise of about 10 minutes. It’s well worth that initial time investment. You can use any protein in place of the shrimp. Because this was made as part of an asian meal already including a different shrimp preparation, I seared scallops instead.

If you’ve ever wanted to make Pad Thai, give this recipe a go. You won’t be disappointed. The measurements are metric, as this book was originally published in Thailand. Although a US Version has not been released, I found mine on Amazon.

Pad Thai Goong Sod

Adapted from The Principles of Thai Cookery, by Chef McDang

Serves 4

Ingredients:

60ml vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

250g prawns, peeled and cleaned (or other protein)

150g white bean curd, diced small

80g sweet pickled Chinese turnip (daikon), finely chopped

30g dried shrimp

300g dry Thai rice stick noodles (Chantaburi), soaked in cold water until strands are white, drained

230ml Pad Thai sauce (Recipe below)

2 eggs

150g bean sprouts

70g chives, cut into 1 ½ inch lengths

50g unsalted, toasted peanuts, chopped

Chili powder (for garnish), as required

4 lime wedges (for garnish)

Preparation:

  1. In a wok, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over moderate heat. Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add prawns and stir-fry until pink but not cooked. Immediately take out of the wok and reserve.
  2. In the same wok, add a little more oil, then add white bean curd and dried shrimp. Stir-fry until bean curd browns.
  3. Add the noodles and stir-fry to soften. Add Pad Thai sauce, a little at a time. Stir-fry to mix quickly. The noodles will soften further and absorb the flavors of the sauce. Taste.
  4. If the flavors are not intense enough, add a little more sauce and allow it to seep into the noodles. Add the pickled Chinese turnip and more dried shrimp. Stir-fry to incorporate these ingredients.
  5. Move the noodles to once side of the wok. Add the cooked shrimp and a little oil to the bottom of the wok. Raise the temperature and crack the eggs into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cover the eggs with the noodles. Reduce the heat a little and allow the eggs to cook.
  7. Toss all the noodles together to spread the eggs. Mix in the bean sprouts, the chopped Chinese chives, and peanuts.
  8. Serve the Pad Thai, garnished with fresh bean sprouts, Chinese chives, banana blossom and a lime wedge. If you like peanuts, add a few more to the side of the plate.

Pad Thai Sauce

Ingredients:

300g pickled garlic

100g fresh garlic, peeled and chopped

170g fresh Thai chile peppers

3 cups chili sauce (I used the Taste of Thai brand, but any chili sauce will work)

1 cup pickled garlic juice

1 kg palm sugar

375ml distilled vinegar

3 cups tamarind juice

3 Tbsp salt

½ cup fish sauce

3 liters water

Preparation:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the saucepan, stir to mix well and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simer in order to allow the sauce to evaporate and thicken. Once the liquid is reduced almost by half and tastes sweet, sour and slightly salty, allow it to cool. Once cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate ready for use when making Pad Thai.

Sauce will be enough for 12-15 servings.

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