Cover recipe from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner by Jaden Hair, Copyright 2009
Shrimp Pad Thai
Author Jaden Hair started out as a food blogger writing The Steamy Kitchen blog. Quickly rising to success, she is now a television personality, photographer and writes for various websites. Her brand new cookbook The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner was recently published. I have had the good fortune of having met Jaden a couple of times. She’s a bundle of energy and there is no question as to why she has achieved so many wonderful things in such a short amount of time. Jaden’s personality shines brightly in her writing and her says-it-like-it-is conversational tone makes her cookbook a delight to read. Her photographs are inspiring and drool-worthy. On the acknowledgments page, Jaden gives props to a whole lot of people, and even took the time to thank readers of her blog and Twitter followers. The recipes included are not all the typical Asian fare. Jaden gets creative and puts her own spin on things. Among the recipes I’m dying to try: Pork & Mango Potstickers, Healthy Chinese Chicken Wraps, Hoisin & Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Grilled Lamb Chops with Asian Pesto, Mashed Potatoes with Miso, Garlic Butter Noodles and Chocolate Wontons.
The cover recipe (Shrimp Pad Thai) came together quite easily. The sauce ingredients are simply mixed together. The trickiest part is getting to know how to work with rice noodles. Jaden advises that the key to good Pad Thai is perfectly cooked noodles. If you overcook the noodles, even by just a couple of minutes, you’ll end up with a goopy, soggy, clumpy mess. I’m glad she included the warning… I watched those noodles like a hawk, and they turned out just right. The noodles are stir fried in the sauce with egg, shrimp, garlic, and scallions. Individual servings are topped with bean sprouts, peanuts and a squeeze of lime. In a word, “Mmmmmm!”
Shrimp Pad Thai
Source: The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook
PAD THAI SAUCE:
4 Tbsp. pad thai paste
2 tsp. tamarind paste/concentrate
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
3 tsp. sugar
2/3 cup water
2 to 4 tsp. Asian Chilli sauce (preferably Sriracha) or 1 to 2 tsp. Asian Chilli powder or ground red pepper (I used Sriracha)
PAD THAI NOODLES:
8 ounces dried rice noodles (medium thickness)
3 Tbsp. high-heat cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 lb. peeled, deveined raw shrimp (I used frozen)
1 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
4 green onions (scallions), cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1. In a large bowl, soak the rice noodles in hot water (not boiling, just hot straight from the tap) for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Combine the ingredients for the Pad Thai Sauce in a bowl.
3. Check back on the noodles. The noodles are sufficiently soaked when they are flexible but still a bit stiff. Drain them and set aside.
4. In a wok or large saute pan over high heat, add just 1 Tbsp. of the oil. When the oil is very hot, add the beaten eggs and swirl gently while it sets. Use your spatula to scramble the eggs and then remove from the pan.
5. Wipe the pan down with clean paper towels. Return the heat to high and add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of the oil. When the oil is very hot, add the shrimp and fry 1 minute, until cooked halfway through. Push the shrimp to one side (or up the sides of the wok). To an empty area of the pan, add garlic and green onions and stir-fry 15 to 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the drained noodles, the cooked eggs and the Pad Thai Sauce. Toss until all ingredients are well combined. Cover the pan and let simmer until the noodles are soft and cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Check at the 1 minute mark and if the noodles are still a bit stiff, cover and cook another minute. The noodles should have soaked up a lot of the sauce, and you should taste a combination of sweet, salty, a little heat and a zing of tartness. Serve with the fresh bean sprouts, lime wedges and chopped peanuts at the table.
Serves 4 to 6 (I’d say more like 4)
Tips from Jaden:
*Try adding sliced baked, firm tofu (not the soft, white uncooked tofu- it would be too delicate and crumble).
*Substitute garlic chives or Chinese chives for the green onions.
Notes from Culinary Covers:
*I’ve been trying to make this recipe for several weeks now. Asian ingredients aren’t always easy to come by in the regular markets, so I had to make a special effort to locate them. I found pad thai paste at World Market. The tamarind paste was another story. I looked all over the place for this little jar before some friends told me that it would probably be in the Latin section of the market instead of the Asian section. They were right. I finally found it (in the Latin section) at Whole Foods. All of the other ingredients listed should be readily available in the Asian section of all markets.
*If you have access to an Asian market, it’s easiest to shop there for everything you need. I was too lazy to do that, even though we have a zillion to choose from here in San Diego (99 Ranch is a fave).
*I halved the recipe and got a couple of delicious lunches out of it.
*It’s a kid-friendly recipe too if your little ones like shrimp, just go easy on the Sriracha sauce.
*Now that I have a few of the mainstream Asian ingredients, I’m finding that I’m inspired to test out some more recipes & experiment a little. I needed the push… I don’t cook Asian often enough.
Did this recipe deserve the cover? Yes! Since the theme of Jaden’s cookbook is “101 Asian recipes simple enough for tonight’s dinner,” this recipe completely fits the bill- easy, family friendly and quick. The brightly colored ingredients made for a pretty photograph too.