These recipes appear in Flavors of Asia, by Mai Pham for the Culinary Institute of America, DK Publishing, 2009.
Pad Thai (Serves 4, adapted from a recipe by Chai Siriyarn)
Sauce 2 tablespoons palm sugar, chopped until soft and crumbly and packed 1 tablespoon tamarind puree 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce, or as needed 1 tablespoon lime juice 2 tablespoons white vinegar 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or as needed 1 teaspoon salt, or as needed
Noodles 8 ounces (225 g) dried rice stick noodles (banh pho) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon minced shallots 1 tablespoon minced sweet radish 1/4 cup julienned firm tofu 2 eggs 8 shrimp (26/30 count), peeled and deveined 1/4 cup chicken stock or water 3 green onions, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths 1 cup bean sprouts 1 cup chopped, roasted peanuts 1 lime, cut into wedges
1. For the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Set aside.
2. Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15 minutes and drain. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan over high heat. When the wok is very hot, add the garlic, shallots, radish and tofu, and toss gently. Crack the eggs into the wok. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, stir until set, about 20 seconds.
4. Add the noodles and shrimp and stir together briefly with the other ingredients.
5. Add the chicken stock and cook until the noodles begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Drizzle in the sauce and toss to evenly coat the noodles. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the noodles absorb most of the sauce and become dry, 5 to 6 minutes.
7. Stir in the green onions, bean sprouts and half of the chopped peanuts. Toss a few times and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with the remaining peanuts and serve with lime wedges on the side.
1 to 2 Chinese sausages 5 tablespoons water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 pound (450 g) fresh rice noodles (chow fun noodles) or 8 ounces (225 g) dried large-sized rice noodles 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic 2 cups bean sprouts, roots removed, washed and drained to dry 1 tablespoon black sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), plus 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons for garnish 3 eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 to 1 tablespoon chili paste, or as needed 1 bunch chives, cut into 2-inch lengths 1/2 cup cooked cockles or mussels, meat only (optional)
1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Lightly blanch the sausages, about 1 minute. Drain the sausages and cool at room temperature until they can easily be handled. Peel the skin off the sausages and cut each one into 1/8-inch thick slices.
2. Combine the water and salt and set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If using dried rice noodles, boil the noodles until they are halfway cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
4. Heat a wok over high heat and, when it starts to smoke, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 10 seconds.
5. Add the bean sprouts and rice noodles and stir-fry vigorously for a few seconds before sprinkling 2 to 3 tablespoons of the water and salt mixture over the top, stir-frying the entire time. Add the black soy sauce and continue stir-frying for a few seconds or until the noodles look coated.
6. Push the noodle mixture to one side of the wok, add another 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and, when it is hot, add the eggs. Stir-fry the eggs until they just start to cook, about 30 seconds. Stir well with the noodle mixture.
7. Push the noodles to the side of the wok again and add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the chili paste and Chinese sausages. Stir-fry well for about 5 seconds, or until the sausages look wilted and slightly darker, then stir into the noodle mixture.
8. Add the chives, additional sweet soy sauce and cockles, if using. Stir-fry briefly and then serve.