Yet More Adventures with Pad Thai

So I’ve been on a quest to make tasty pad thai. This quest was created when a bottle of pad thai sauce came into my possession. I will now document two attempts to make pad thai, one a bit more successful then the other.

In reading about how to make pad thai, I got overwhelmed by what I perceived as complications in how to go about frying everything in the proper order. First, I dumped some oil in the wok and fried up some vegetables (carrot and thai eggplants, specifically), along with some sauce. Then, these got set aside. I had some stale peanuts which, according to Mysterious Rumors, would magically become not-stale if I fried them in oil. So I added more oil to the wok and fried the peanuts. Set them aside, picking out all of the ones I’d managed to burn.

I’d decided on a whim to batter and fry the tofu. Apparently my battering and frying skills are not up to par, as 1/2 the batter decided to stick to the wok rather then the tofu. My tofu skills are seriously lacking, something that I’ve been working to fix and just not getting very far. I should also mention that I added a fair bit of oil to the wok when doing this.

I’d figured out the noodle situation – using pho noodles seemed about right – and those babies were supposed to soak to get almost but not quite soft. So after removing the tofu from the wok, I added yet more oil and dumped the noodles in, along with two eggs. Pushed this around for awhile, then decided to dump everything else in, along with more sauce.

pad thai!

Much to my chagrin, I’d made about half as many noodles as I should have made to properly balance out all of the tofu and vegetables. Didn’t think this was too bad though, as vegetables and tofu aren’t exactly the worst things in the world to overindulge upon. I also stirred in some fresh basil at the end, to give it that magic basil kick!

more pad thai!

Then I tried to eat the pad thai. It lubed up my lips quite well and slid greasily down my throat. Apparently, the problem came when I decided to fry a bunch of things separately. Each with it’s own generous dollop of oil. Anyhow, I certainly got my fats for the day.

My next experiment was more successful, given the learning opportunity of the first one. I stuck to a single frying instance for everything. Added oil, dumped in some vegetables and tofu (and bonus sausage!) and some sauce (and a bit of water for good measure). Pushed around for awhile. Dumped on pre-soaked noodles and more sauce, dumped on eggs. Pushed around some more. Dumped on basil, pushed around for a final whirl. Dumped on plate. Ate. Tasty! My only regret was that I’d run out of peanuts to sprinkle on top and make the pad thai super magical.

good pad thai

So here’s three lessons learned in the process of doing this:

1.) As already mentioned, it’s good to keep track of how much oil you use. Unless you like serious lubrication, that is.

2.) Hot wok is good wok. Seriously, for the longest time I wouldn’t wait for things to get hot. I’m all impatient, and I’d just dump it in the pan. Still do this when baking things and boiling things, for that matter. Seems to make more of a difference when a wok is involved, though. I had the wok all nice and scalding before I added the vegetables and tofu for the second pad thai attempt. The vegetables were a delightful texture, and the tofu actually got a bit fried! It was quite pleasing.

3.) Don’t dump chili oil onto a hot wok. Or rather, don’t keep your face anywhere near the wok as you do so. Dear god, my nose and throat were filled with burning, it was insane!

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