Who can say no to a delicious plate of pad thai? Enjoy one of the most vibrant, varied cuisines in the world with Simple Thai Food (Ten Speed Press, 2014). Author Leela Punyaratabandhu delivers 100 easy-to-make recipes for classic Thai dishes, complete with information about the key ingredients, tools and accompaniments. The following recipe for curry noodles is excerpted from “One-Plate Meals.”
This book can be purchased from the Mother Earth Living store: Simple Thai Food.
This is a quick version of my favorite Muslim-style curry noodles, a common dish in food shops specializing in Thai Muslim food. With boneless chicken, it can be done in less than a half hour.
Curry Noodles with Chicken Recipe
(kuai-tiao kaeng sai kai)
• 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs (great) or breasts (okay)
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1⁄2 cup coconut cream (from the top of a can of coconut milk)
• 2 tablespoons red curry paste
• 2 tablespoons kari (“yellow”) curry paste,
• 2 tablespoons packed grated palm sugar, or 1 1⁄2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
• 3 tablespoons fish sauce
• 1 1⁄2 cups coconut milk
• 3 cups sodium-free chicken stock
• 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into matchsticks 1 inch long and 1⁄4 inch wide and thick
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• 8 ounces mung bean sprouts (about 4 cups)
• 8 ounces dried rice sticks, 3 millimeters (about 1⁄8 inch) wide
• 1⁄4 cup finely chopped preserved radish (optional)
• 1⁄4 cup fried shallots (see below)
• 1⁄4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
• 1⁄3 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
• 2 hard- or medium-boiled eggs peeled and halved lengthwise
Fried Shallots Recipe
(hom jiao lae nam man hom jiao)
Fried shallots are used as an accent ingredient in a few Thai dishes. You can make them in advance to cut down on cooking time. The key in achieving evenly browned and thoroughly fried shallots that also stay crispy throughout their storage life is to start out with everything—including the skillet—at room temperature. The oil can be used in any of the recipes in this book that call for both shallots and vegetable oil; it can also be used to fry eggs to give them extra flavor. Makes 1⁄2 cup fried shallots and 3⁄4 cup shallot oil
• 4 shallots, about 1 ounce each, thinly sliced lengthwise
• 3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges
• Fish sauce
• Granulated sugar
• Red chile powder
For the Curry Noodles:
1. Cut the chicken against the grain and on the diagonal into thin, bite-size pieces. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
2. In a 1-gallon saucepan, combine the vegetable oil, coconut cream, and curry pastes, and stir over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir for about 1 minute, until the chicken is coated with the curry paste. Add the sugar, fish sauce, coconut milk, and stock, stir well, and bring to a very gentle boil. When the chicken is cooked through, after 3 to 4 minutes, stir in the tofu and curry powder, mixing well to distribute the curry powder evenly. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting; keep the curry warm.
3. Have ready 4 large individual serving bowls. Half fill another 1-gallon saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the bean sprouts, stir, and then immediately fish the bean sprouts out of the water with a wire-mesh skimmer, shaking off the excess water. Divide the bean sprouts evenly among the bowls. While the water is still boiling, add the dried noodles, stir to submerge, and cook until they have softened through, about 15 minutes. Taste a strand to make sure they are ready. Drain the cooked noodles through a large colander placed in the sink and rinse off all starchy liquid that clings to them with running hot tap water. Shake off the water. Divide the noodles evenly among the bowls.
4. Immediately ladle the curry over the noodles, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle each serving with an equal amount of the radish, fried shallots, cilantro, and peanuts. Top each serving with an egg half. Serve immediately with the limes, fish sauce, sugar, and red chile powder for adding as desired.
For the Fried Shallots:
Set a small fine-mesh strainer on top of a heatproof bowl and place both close to the stove. In a cold 6- or 8-inch skillet, combine the shallots and the oil and heat over medium heat. Stir the shallots around with a spatula to separate them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil becomes hot and starts sizzling, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally as the shallots around the edges of the pan tend to cook faster than those in the middle. After 5 minutes, the shallots should be the color of honey (if not, turn the heat down to low and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer). Immediately remove the skillet from the heat and pour the contents through the prepared strainer. Let both the crispy shallots and the oil cool completely before storing them in 2 separate airtight containers at room temperature. The crispy shallots keep for 3 weeks and the oil keeps for 2 months.
More Recipes from Simple Thai Food
Reprinted with permission from Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Erin Kunkel. Purchase this book from our store: Simple Thai Food.