Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day Twelve: Pad Thai and Potstickers

Day twelve of Operation: Expand Horizons offered some Asian fare from the minions at Martha Stewart's Everyday Food- Vegetable Pad Thai from May 2010 and Pork and Chive Potstickers from October 2009. I stir-fried some mung bean sprouts as a side dish.

The pad Thai recipe was simple and did not require any hard-to-find ingredients, but as is often the case with recipes from Everyday Food, it tasted quite bland. I wound up adding some Asian chili garlic sauce I had in the fridge to kick it up a notch. Also, the rice noodles I used were not adequately cooked by the soak-and-stir-fry routine of this recipe. I added some additional water and microwaved the serving bowl full of noodles for a minute.

The recipe gives a suggestion to add some thinly sliced chicken breast or peeled shrimp to the skillet before adding the noodles and sauce. Because my husband gets cross-eyed if a dish lacks meat, I sliced up one small breast, salted and peppered it, and cooked it through after sautéing the garlic and onion and before doing the rest.

The pork and chive potstickers were good in flavor, but I have a small disagreement with the way they were cooked. I've made potstickers before from an Alton Brown recipe, and they were awesome. Alton's method is to sauté the dumplings on one side in a very small amount of oil until browned and stuck to the pan (hence the name "potstickers"), then adding a small amount of water and clamping on the lid until the water steams them through and unsticks them from the skillet. They came out nicely browned on one side, and tender and puckered on the other.

Martha's recipe calls for boiling the dumplings first, fishing them out with a slotted spoon, and then cooking them in a small amount of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet. I'm not sure who forgot over there at Everyday Food, but you can't very well put a wet dumpling into hot oil without having issues. Even with a nonstick skillet, the dumplings did not brown nicely and came out misshapen.

They tasted pretty good, however, and although the dipping sauce is somewhat vinegary (another Everyday Food issue- they have a hard-on for vinegar), it was a good match for the dumplings.

You can get the potstickers recipe at the link above. Because the pad Thai recipe is not yet available online, here it is.

Vegetable Pad Thai
Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, May 2010
Serves 4

8 oz. dried, wide, and flat rice noodles
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. vegetable oil
3 scallions (We call 'em "green onions" here in Oklahoma.), white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced (I laugh at recipes calling for 1 garlic clove. I used two.)
2 large eggs (optional), lightly beaten (Eggs in Asian food gross me out. I omitted.)
1/2 c. fresh cilantro (My plants are currently going to seed, so I didn't have any.)
1/4 c. chopped roasted, salted peanuts (Baby Chef is allergic, so I omitted.)

Soak rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain. (Mine needed a bit more than soaking. Maybe a soak in hot water instead of cold would do it.)

In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, and soy sauce. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high. Add scallion whites and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add eggs (if using) and cook, scraping skillet with a rubber spatula, until eggs are almost set, about 30 seconds. Transfer egg mixture to a plate.

(This is where I added the sliced seasoned chicken breast and cooked it.)

Add noodles and soy sauce mixture to skillet; cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft and coated with sauce, about 1 minute. Add egg mixture and toss to coat, breaking eggs up gently. Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with cilantro and peanuts.

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