Friday, June 25, 2010

Shrimp and Tofu Pad Thai


Pad Thai with Shrimp and Tofu

I made this for some friends from church, four of seven members of a family were attending. I had promised another couple I'd make some Pad Thai for them. And, there are four of us in our family. So, with a total of five adults and four children and with no specific knowledge of everyone's appetites, I wanted to make plenty for everyone to eat.

I basically doubled the recipe from the last time I made Pad Thai, on June 4th. Last time, I made Tofu Pad Thai; this time, Shrimp and Tofu Pad Thai. Be not surprised that I'm going to copy much of the text from the last time I blogged on this dish. If you'd like to refer to my last blog post about Pad Thai, go here.

Some changes I made from the last time I made Pad Thai include: 1. the addition of shrimp; 2. using a red onion (instead of a sweet onion); and 3. the difference in cooking time of the rice noodles. Do NOT wait until the soup (with the noodles in it) are boiling and start counting five minutes after that. Cook the noodles for a total of five minutes, on high, regardless of whether the soup is boiling or not. Otherwise, when the noodles cook too long, they break fairly easily.

  • 2 14 oz package of rice noodles (Thai style - Pho)
  • 1 14 oz package of firm tofu
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten with chicken broth added
  • 8 green onions - rinsed, whites separated from the greens - whites cut extremely thin and greens cut roughly half an inch. Used a combination of store bought green onions and onions from my dad's garden.
  • 1 red onion, cut very thin
  • 8 minced garlic cloves
  • chicken broth - roughly half a box - 16 oz.
  • water - approximately double the amount of chicken broth
  • olive oil - just enough to caramelize the onion, stir fry the eggs and the tofu; all individually
  • lime - cut into wedges
  • fresh bean sprouts - rinsed - roughly three handfuls for cooking and more to serve when ready to eat
  • 48-50 crushed cashews
for the sauce:
  • 6 tbsp (tablespoons) soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 6 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tsp (teaspoons) chili powder
  • 6 tbsp cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  • Soak the rice noodles in hot water and set aside.
  • In a pan, with some olive oil and some minced garlic on low medium heat, once the garlic sizzles for a bit, cook the onion until it starts turning clearish and then set aside in a bowl (leave any juices and oil from cooking the onion in the pan).
  • In the same pan, add a bit more garlic, leaving the stove on lower medium heat. Like the previous step, with until the garlic is sizzling and cook the lightly beaten eggs that were mixed with some chicken broth. Once done, put in a bowl and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add some more minced garlic and olive oil. Like the preceding three steps, wait until the garlic is sizzling and then drop in the cut tofu, adding some soy sauce (a few tablespoons?). Cook for a few minutes and then set that aside in a bowl of its own.
  • Drain the rice noodles.
  • In a large pot - drop in the rice noodles, water, chicken broth, the remainder of the minced garlic, the whites of the green onions - on high heat. Make sure there's enough water and chicken broth that the noodles are barely submerged. Once the mixture has been boiling for 5 minutes (be careful not to wait too long, or the noodles will start breaking quite easily), add the sauce mixture, caramelized onion, eggs, tofu, three-ish hands-full of bean sprouts, and the green parts of the green onion. Stir well. Right before serving, add in the shrimp, stir well; the Pad Thai is ready to serve with fresh bean sprouts, crushed cashews, and lime wedges.

Photo details of this recipe are as follows:


1 package of firm tofu, 20 jumbo raw shrimp, 6 eggs (beaten with some chicken broth), 2 14 oz packages of Pho rice noodles.

Also needed: olive oil (just enough to cook the red onion), a fair amount of chicken broth, loads of water.

Also needed: 8 cloves of garlic, a medium sized red onion, 8 green onions. Oh, and bean sprouts are needed.

Condiments. These go on each individual plate, when ready to serve and eat. Ingredients needed: bean sprouts, cashews (peanuts are fine as well), lime wedges.

Sauce. Seven ingredients are necessary for this: 1. fish sauce, 2. tamarind paste, 3. chili powder, 4. soy sauce,

5. cane sugar, 6. rice vinegar, 7. oyster sauce.

The process:

Peel and mince the garlic. Thank goodness for my garlic press.

Drain the tofu of the water. Cut into small squares or rectangles. My husband cut the tofu into small squares.

Break six eggs into a bowl. Gently beat. Add some chicken broth and mix well.

Preparing and Cooking the Pad Thai - The Final Steps

1. I cooked (pan fried) four ingredients separately. I caramelized the red onion and set that aside (leaving any juice in the pan) in a bowl. In the same pan (I didn't wash the pan after every use), I added a bit of garlic and cooked the shrimp. Once the shrimp was done, I set that aside, leaving any juices in the pan. Add some garlic to the pan and cook the eggs. Whilst cooking the eggs, I added some sea salt and red pepper flakes. Once done, set aside. Add a bit of olive oil and garlic to the pan and cook the tofu. Add in soy sauce and let the tofu simmer for several minutes. Then set the tofu aside.

2. Assemble and stir the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl of its own. Set aside when done.

3. I had to use a large stock pot to make sure I could accommodate all these goodies. Probably made 20-30 servings, after all. In the stock pot, insert the rice noodles (I pulled the rice noodles out of the water; add fresh water), add in loads of water and about half the amount of chicken broth.

Also add in the remainder of the garlic as well as the green onions. Turn the stove on high.

After a few minutes of the having the stove turned on high, add to the pot: eggs (which were set aside), about three to four hands full of bean sprouts,

tofu, onion, and sauce - all of which have been set aside in separate bowls. When ready to eat, at the last minute, add the shrimp to the pot and mix well with other contents.

4. On each individual plate, for serving, add a lime wedges, fresh (uncooked) bean sprouts, and crushed cashews (I don't have any photographs available of a bowl full of crush cashews).


Here, again, is the finished product.

The eight and ten year old guests repeatedly said just how tasty the dish was.

Simply Shrimp


Simply Shrimp

Simply put, I pan fried a finely sliced red onion until it started turning transparent. Then I dropped in frozen, raw shrimp into the pan. When the shrimp was almost done, I added some sea salt and red pepper flakes. Careful not to overcook the shrimp, as that shrinks the shrimp and makes it somewhat rubbery.

I had this to eat over rice, along with some Swiss chard and pickled kohlrabi.

Here's the somewhat more picturesque version of the recipe:


Uncooked easy peel shrimp of the large variety. Six of them.

A small red onion.

Olive oil. Just a tid bit.

Sea salt. Again, just a bit.

Red pepper flakes. A few shakes.


Cut the red onion finely.

Then cut in half in the perpendicular direction.

The six shrimp up on the chopping block (to be cooked).

Place the cut onion into a pan with just a tad of olive oil.

Separate the onion into its individual pieces and fry until somewhat transparent.

Then add in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp just until it turns orange. Don't overcook this.

Boiled Eggs Bathing in Deliciousness

Eggs Having Bathed in Deliciousness

This is the last dish in a series of Taiwanese dishes. Taiwanese (or in my case, Taiwanese Americans) love consuming this dish.

I've got a HUGE disclaimer to make before I start. The soupy thing that has a jello-y texture is not of my doing. It's my mom's concoction. I'm posting this to brag about the deliciousness of the final product and, more importantly, to brag about my mom's cooking. I've spoken highly of my dad's cooking; now it's my mom's turn. You see, I grew up with two chef's in the house. My dad, due to practical reasons, ended up being the everyday chef, who taught my sister and me many essentials of cooking. My mom attacked some of the more complicated - time and labor intensive - Taiwanese cuisine. All this is to say, both parents taught us different but significant cooking concepts, ideas, skills.

The soupy thing pictured below is more than a mere beef broth, as you can probably see. It started as water, cooking meat for hours, hours, and hours. It also has a generous amount of soy sauce. The meat was later removed. Then, I allowed the fat to separate from the rest; refrigeration actually wasn't necessary for that process. I skimmed the fat off and then brought the stuff back to a boil.

Eggs. Lots of eggs. This batch around, I used 18 eggs. Boiled 18 eggs in water for six minutes. For those who are inexperienced with boiling eggs, do NOT wait until the water is boiling to drop in the eggs. Put the eggs in water whilst the water is at room temperature. Do not turn the stove on high (if the eggs are immediately coming out of the refrigerator); that could crack the egg shell before it's finished boiling.

Peel the egg shells off the eggs once the eggs are done cooking. The fresher the eggs, the more difficult it is to peel the eggs.

I even used my mom's suggestion of adding salt, after the eggs are done cooking and the eggs are resting in cold water, to the water. That helped when we were peeling white eggs (that, I guess, were older) but not with the brown eggs. Still, the finished product was ever tasty.

Swiss Chard Stir Fry

Swiss Chard Stir Fry

Points before I start on the recipe:

1. In a series of Taiwanese dishes, this is NOT Taiwanese. Merely a concoction from my imagination.
2. Two ingredients I am not absolutely certain I put in here: chicken broth and half a sweet onion (versus half a red onion). I'm more certain of the latter. Give me a break, it's been a few days since I cooked it. I'm on the verge of a heat breakdown; I am so hot.
3. I'm not entirely pleased with how this dish turned out. As you may have figured out, I am a bit of a perfectionist. Any dish needs to look just so and taste just right. If not, in my mind, it qualifies as a FAIL. Why am I posting a dish I count as a failure, you might be thinking. Perhaps I'm bragging about the produce in my dad's garden. Maybe I've lost my marbles. Or, maybe I'm petitioning you for a better way to cook this.

Without further ado, let's begin.


Swiss chard.

Not to be mistaken for lettuce. The taste of this has some personality to it. The night before last, we went to some friends' home for dinner and we were assigned to bring salad. My husband asked whether this greenery could constitute part of the salad.

"No," was my response.

He looked puzzled, "why not?"

"Taste it, honey."

"Wow, that has some kick to it."

Moral of the story? This vegetable isn't for the faint-hearted (or those who desire blandness).

Again, Swiss chard.

Next. Half a sweet onion. I used the other half of what I had used to make guacamole.

A bit of olive oil to caramelize the onion. Sea salt. Worcestershire sauce. Chicken broth.

Directions or the process:

Take half a sweet onion.

Cut thinly one way and then make a perpendicular cut.

Wash the chard thoroughly. I apparently didn't, because some parts were a bit gritty. Worry not. My father's vegetable garden is pesticide free. At the very worst, I'm ingesting some dirt, stuff from the earth. Then cut.

This is how much chard I had to cook.

In a frying pan, on lower medium heat, with just a bit of olive oil, cook the sweet onion until it's just about transparent. Then add in the Swiss chard and a bit of chicken broth. Cover for several minutes. Add in salt and Worcestershire sauce, stir thoroughly, and cover. Ready to eat a few minutes after that.

Pickled Kohlrabi

Pickled Kohlrabi

Onwards with the Taiwanese dishes. This doesn't involve any heated surfaces. This has been one of many, many favorites since childhood. What can I say? I love to eat, it's not just about throwing random ingredients together, and sometimes the most delicious things are simple.

Enter in kohlrabi. From my dad's garden.

Are you familiar with kohlrabi? Do you realize that that is HUGE for kohlrabi? Not sure? Compare with the tomato pictured below. Normally kohlrabi found in grocery stores are the size of the tomato seen below. If bigger, oftentimes the stuff is too tough and too old to enjoy. But not this one. My dad is a truly amazing gardener.


The most important is kohlrabi.

To pickle the vegetable, I used sea salt, rice vinegar, and sugar. I didn't pay attention to the quantities I used, so look here, where I made a cucumber salad for an idea. Recently, my dad made pickled kohlrabi using sesame oil. What a great idea; I decided to follow suit.

Be careful not to get too happy with the sesame oil; it carries much flavor in minute quantities. I probably used less than a teaspoon.

The kohlrabi needs to be skinned (the outside layer needs to be cut off) and then cut thinly. First, I cut it like this.

And then this.

After giving the kohlrabi a chance to soak in the aforementioned ingredients, it's ready to serve. The photograph at the top of the page was taken after it had sat, refrigerated, overnight.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One of Isabella's favorites

An Egg Stir Fry - One of Isabella's Favorites


Just in case you didn't read the post previous to this one, I don't know what this green stuff is called in English. Help from you guys would be great. Probably belongs in the onion family, but it's not green onions or leeks.

Also, this as well as the next few posts include Taiwanese style dishes.


This. From my dad's garden.

Eggs. Eight of them.

Garlic. Two cloves.

Then, olive oil, chicken broth, soy sauce, and a tad of sea salt.


Wash and cut very finely.

Peel the garlic and cut it into small pieces, like so. Set that aside.

Place eight eggs in a bowl.

After beating the eggs, add in some chicken broth.

Followed by some soy sauce.

Mix well and then pour over the greenery.

Like so.

Mix well.

On low medium heat, allow the garlic and a bit of olive oil to sizzle. Once sizzling, add the other stuff in, perhaps putting in a little bit of salt.

Here's the finished product. The whitish look at the top isn't due to inability to handle a camera. That's steam coming from the dish just cooked.

Served that over rice. In my home growing up, a number of various stir fried vegetables were served for lunch or dinner, all with rice. Rice is to bread, as Taiwanese culture is to American culture. Make sense?