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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pad Thai II

You know how sequels are often not as good as the original? That's the way with Pad Thai, it seems. Because my maiden voyage with this dish turned out much, much better than this one.

If I wanted to improve it, I should have popped for shrimp. I've been using the 'chipper chicken' instead lately, though I did use a 3 oz. pack of freeze dried shrimp to lend that flavor. I loved the baby bella's I'd put in my Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry last week, and I saw all these exotic mushrooms in the Asian market and decided to try a couple of them.

Puff ball mushrooms and oyster mushrooms, both canned in brine. I did a pre-tasting of the shrooms to see what I thought, and decided they both had such mild flavors they would just taste like Pad Thai once I cooked them in the dish.

Sort of. The oyster mushrooms have a subtle flavor I don't really like, it turns out. And the puff ball mushrooms don't have much flavor but make up for it with an objectionable texture. They're hard little rubber balls and when you bite into them they burst, releasing a mushy inside. Gross.

No wasting food here, I'm eating it. But I won't make that mistake again. Next time I put mushrooms in my Pad Thai, it's going to be baby Portobellos or buttons or something like that. And fresh, never canned again. Maybe in a soup, but not in a stir fry.

And for what I spent on canned mushrooms, I could have upgraded that chicken to some shrimp.

Pad Thai
1/4 cup canola oil
4 dried chillies
1 lb. diced grilled chicken
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
1/2 cup preserved sweetened radishes
1 cup diced onion
3 oz. dried shrimp
14 oz. diced grilled tofu
15 oz. can puff ball mushrooms, drained
15 oz. can oyster mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 eggs
1/2 cup Putt Thai sauce
1 lb. rice stick noodles (dried, soaked 30 minutes to soften in water)
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1 lb. bean sprouts
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
green onions, cucumber and lime to garnish
Get the oil hot and add the four dried chillies. When they start to darken, add turnips and onions, keep it moving until the onion turns translucent. Add dried shrimp, cook another minute or two, add tofu and mushrooms. Add chicken, stir continuously while keeping wok really hot. Add noodles and 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir for one minute. Add eggs, stir another minute until all is incorporated. Add peanuts, Putt Thai, and bean sprouts, stir another minute or two, add chives and red pepper, stir another minute or so.

Garnish with green onion, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts and asparagus.

Another difference this time was the chicken and tofu got a bit of mesquite grilling. Both ingredients were less than adequately thawed at dinner time, and cooking them on the grill made up for it. Kept me from worrying about getting the chicken cooked through on a fast stir fry, too.

The smoky flavor of mesquite, well, I don't object to it. Not sure it belongs in Pad Thai, though.

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