Pad Thai with Shrimp
Erin Kunkel/Courtesy Ten Speed Press
4 ounces dried rice sticks, 3 millimeters (about 1/8 inch) wide
3 tablespoons packed grated palm sugar, or 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, homemade or store-bought
2 tablespoons fish sauce
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large shallot, about 1 ounce, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped preserved radish (optional)
6 ounces extra-firm tofu (use the firmest one you can find), cut into matchsticks 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide and thick
2 tablespoons shell-on small dried shrimp (optional)
8 ounces large raw shrimp in the shell, peeled and deveined
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 Chinese chives or green parts of 3 green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
4 ounces mung bean sprouts (about 2 cups)
Table Condiments and Seasonings:
1 lime, cut into wedges
Red chile powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
Immerse the noodles in room-temperature water to cover for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft enough to wind around your fingers without breaking. Drain and cut into 6-inch lengths with kitchen shears. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, tamarind, and fish sauce until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or a 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the drained noodles and stir until the noodles are coated with the oil and have become more pliable but not yet cooked through, about 1 minute. Add the prepared sauce and stir-fry for 1 minute to coat the noodles with the sauce.
Push the noodles to one side of the pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the empty side of the pan, and add the shallot, garlic, radish, tofu, and dried shrimp and stir-fry for 1 minute on their side of the pan while the noodles are cooking in the sauce on the other side. Add the fresh shrimp to the shallot side of the pan and stir-fry until the shrimp are half cooked, about 1 minute. Stir the noodles around once while still keeping them on their side of the pan.
Make a well in the center of the pan, add the eggs to the well, and scramble and shred them with the tip of the spatula until the egg bits are cooked through, about 1 minute.
By this time all the moisture should have evaporated, the noodles should have become softened, and the shrimp should have been completely cooked. Do a strand check to see if the noodles are soft enough. If all of the moisture has evaporated and the noodles are still undercooked, add a little water as needed.
Once everything is ready, remove the pan from the heat. Fold in the chives and half of the bean sprouts and let the residual heat wilt them.
Plate the noodles and serve with the remaining bean sprouts and the table condiments and seasonings for adding as desired.
Crispy Wings with Three-Flavored Sauce
Erin Kunkel/Courtesy Ten Speed Press
Serves 2 or 3
1-1/2 pounds chicken wings, tips removed and separated into drumettes and flats
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Three-flavored Sauce Ingredients:
10 fresh bird’s eye chiles, or 2 fresh Thai long chiles
5 large cloves garlic
1 large shallot, about 1 ounce
3 cilantro roots, or 1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup packed grated palm sugar, or 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup tamarind pulp, homemade (see sidebar) or store-bought
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
To marinate the chicken, combine the chicken, oyster sauce, and fish sauce in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 to 5 hours or up to overnight.
To make the sauce, in a food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, shallot, and cilantro roots and pulse into a coarse paste with bits the size of a match head. Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the paste and fry just until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the palm sugar, granulated sugar, water, fish sauce, and tamarind pulp and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often, until reduced to about 3/4 cup. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes.Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Let cool completely. Spread the flour on a plate. One at a time, coat the chicken pieces with the flour, shaking off the excess.
Arrange the coated pieces, not touching, on a baking sheet and allow them to sit for 10 minutes. This resting period is important because it allows the coating to absorb the moisture on the chicken and form a crust, which will become
very crunchy when the chicken is fried.
To fry the chicken, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches into a wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer and heat to 300°F. To test if the oil is ready without a thermometer, stick an unvarnished wooden chopstick into the oil; when the oil is hot enough, tiny bubbles will slowly rise from the tip of the chopstick. If you see a steady stream of bubbles rise up rapidly, lower the heat a bit. Line another baking sheet with paper towels and place it near the stove.
Add the chicken pieces (in batches if necessary, so as not to crowd the wok) to the hot oil and fry, turning the pieces as needed for even browning, until deep golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the pieces to the towel-lined baking sheet.
Put the fried chicken into the sauce bowl and toss to coat evenly. Arrange the chicken on a large platter, sprinkle the cilantro over the top, and serve immediately.