Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicken Pad Thai with Purple Cabbage



Tapioca or glass noodles, soaked in very hot water or microwaved for about 1 - 2 minutes then dress liberally with cooking oil or sesame oil. (You could find them in Asian markets as Pad Thai noodles or Vietnamese hu tieu noodles. It has tapioca flour in it which gives it a chewy bite and slightly translucent look.)

Chicken thighs, deboned and cut into equal sized strips about 1 cm wide. Don't you dare use chicken breast! Soak in mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 Tbsp of baking soda for 15 minutes then drain and rinse before cooking to preserve tenderness of meat. (Technique can be used with pork and beef too. I've never tried with it with shrimp).

Purple cabbage, thinly sliced
Bean sprouts

Shiitake mushroom, sliced
Shallots, sliced

Garlic, crushed and sliced
Fresh jalapeno, serrano or Thai chile, sliced
Crushed peanuts (optional. My wife doesn't like nuts in cooked foods so I don't add them)
Green onion for garnish
Cilantro for garnish

For sauce:

Corn starch
Tamarind paste
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Palm sugar or brown sugar (in this case, I used piloncillo which is Mexican sugar and it gave a nice twist)
Lime juice


Cook ingredients in batches using nonstick skillet or wok then move to large bowl: I did cabbage and mushrooms first, shallot, bean sprouts, chiles and garlic second, noodles third (get good char on noodles and don't be shy with oil), chicken (get char again) after that and egg scrambled into pan with chicken last. Assemble with noodles on bottom, veggies next, chicken and egg on top then pour remaining sauce over all and garnish.

Base of sauce is water and tamarind paste. Add other ingredients in small amounts until you get a flavor you like. Sprinkle a bit of the sauce as you saute or stir fry each ingredients and reserve a good amount for the last batch and pour over dish.