Pad Thai, a popular takeout, is just as easy to make at home as it is to order out –well… almost. Still, this home cooked pad Thai is healthy and a chef family favorite.
Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times food writer, wrote an article recently entitled, “Generation Pad Thai,” where she ponders the question many of us have wondered as well. What do chefs feed their own families?
Polling several chefs with young children, she found “serious challenges to the notion that small people simply will not brook fresh vegetables, texture or spice. They serve their children pad Thai, which blends pungent seasonings like fish sauce and tamarind with noodles, eggs, and peanuts.”
Summing up, “The fact that chefs’ kids eat better than yours or mine isn’t surprising. They often bring the little ones to work, where they eat tiny plates of duck confit… or buckwheat pasta…”
As the mom of a previously picky eater, I was intrigued to read about the chef’s home rules.
Chefs Home Rules
1. Make your children eat at the table from a very young age.
2. Make them eat what you do, even if you have to purée it.
3. Pack lunches fashioned from leftovers.
4. Eschew Baggies filled with Goldfish. (Car rides are exempt.)
5. Buy them the most expensive chocolate you can afford. Who craves Ho Hos when they’ve had Scharffen Berger? (Well, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs were my favorites.)
Home Cooked Pad Thai
8 ounces rice noodles
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 cups broccoli florets
1 carrot, thinly sliced
½ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
⅓ cup chopped salted peanuts
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind paste, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and 1/4 cup water; set aside. Lightly steam the broccoli and carrot; set aside.
Drain the noodles. Set a wok over high heat for 1 minute, then add the oil and heat until almost smoking. Add the garlic and ginger; sauté for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and sauté until almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate, leaving the oil in the pan.
Add the noodles and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in three-quarters of the tamarind sauce and toss to coat the noodles. Add more sauce if needed. Cook until the noodles are al dente, then push them to one side of the wok and scramble the eggs in the remaining space. Add the shrimp, broccoli, carrot, scallions, bean sprouts and half the peanuts. Toss to mix. Divide among 4 plates and garnish with the remaining peanuts, the cilantro, lime wedges, sesame seeds and (for brave children) red pepper flakes.